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Gallery manager role marks return to artistic roots 26 September 2014

Bonington Gallery has selected a new manager, Tom Godfrey, to drive forward its future programme and cement its position at the heart of Nottingham’s thriving arts scene.

Tom’s appointment as Gallery Resource Manager comes as the gallery at Nottingham Trent University launches its new programme for 2014-15, featuring exhibitions which honour 170 years of art and design heritage at the University site. They celebrate Nottinghamshire’s knitting industry with Knitting Nottingham and explore cutting edge research and craft practice associated with textiles and the body with Crafting Anatomies. Renowned UK artist Simon Callery will also be exhibiting and creating his unique, large scale paintings on site.

Bonington Gallery has also been working to establish itself as a central point for information on the wider Nottingham arts scene. The team has been developing its website to include an interactive map to locate all the arts spaces in the city. The gallery’s website will also include a blog and online archive of past exhibitions.

Tom explained: “It is about Bonington Gallery serving the city and being a centre point of information about the arts in Nottingham.”

Work is under way to improve the appearance and accessibility of the gallery, helping to attract external visitors while continuing to serve those within it.

Internationally renowned “doodle” artist and Nottingham Trent University alumnus Jon Burgerman has been commissioned to design a mural and lettering to signpost the gallery within the Bonington building on the University’s City site where it is located.

It is at this exciting time for the Gallery that Tom joins to build on the work already achieved by the team and outgoing Gallery Resource Manager, Geoff Litherland.

For Tom, his appointment marks a return to where his artistic career started. He graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University in 2004.

He went on to co-found Moot gallery in the city with fellow graduates Tristan Hessing, Candice Jacobs and Matt Jamieson. Their motivation was the lack of provision for national and international artistic exchange and the desire to create a central meeting point for Nottingham’s independent art community.

The founding of Moot sparked a chain reaction, with other spaces such as Tether and Backlit opening, many led by former Nottingham Trent University students. When Tom returned to the city in 2012 after two years in Glasgow studying for his Master of Fine Arts, Nottingham had transformed.

“The talent retention in Nottingham is so much better now,” said Tom. “Artists don’t have to leave Nottingham because there is a lot happening here.”

Now, Tom has returned to the University to help inspire future generations of artists while also ensuring Bonington Gallery continues to play a vital role in the city’s arts offering.

“What I like about Bonington Gallery is that it sits in a place where knowledge is being formed and not where finished, polished objects exist, like a museum,” said Tom. “The gallery is a big part of that process of learning – it is an example to students who will be putting on exhibitions of their own in the future.”

Tom is now busy visiting other art schools in the country to share knowledge, forge connections and partnerships as well as meeting with Nottingham art groups to learn their views about the gallery and how it serves the community.

He said: “Bonington Gallery is vital to the city. Nothing much rivals it in terms of scale and history. Nottingham has built a strong platform and reputation artistically and we want to bring together and highlight those artistic connections in the city.”

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