The Academy is delighted to have Stephen Snoddy fly in from England as the guest adjudicator for this year’s exhibition. An acclaimed gallery director throughout the UK, he has been at the forefront of curating international exhibitions by leading artists from across the globe. Stephen will award the Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes at a special ceremony on Thursday 15th October before the show opens to the public at 10am on the Friday morning.
Born in Belfast in 1959, Stephen Snoddy trained as an artist at Belfast College of Art where he graduated in 1983 with a Master of Fine Art (MFA). His first job was to work at Harmony Hill Arts Centre, Lisburn. In 1987, he graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Art Gallery & Museum Studies from Manchester University and then moved to Bristol to become Exhibitions Organiser at Arnolfini Gallery. He worked from 1987–91 on an exhibitions programme that included Richard Long, Giuseppe Penone, Gillian Ayres, Rachel Whiteread, Jack B. Yeats and Juan Munoz.
In 1991, Snoddy became Exhibitions Director of Cornerhouse, Manchester, where he was responsible for bringing The British Art Show 4 to Manchester, as well as such shows as the John Baldessari Retrospective, a Bruce McLean film commission, Edward Allington, Rose Garrard, and Jochen Gerz exhibitions. In 1996 he moved to become Director of Southampton City Art Gallery, where he organised the 1998 Chris Ofili solo exhibition which won Chris Ofili the 1998 Turner Prize, and an exchange of collections with the Museum of Fine Art, Bilbao, to coincide with the opening of the new Bilbao Guggenheim.
In the spring of 1998 he moved to Milton Keynes to direct the construction of a brand new gallery as part of the £30 million Theatre and Gallery complex. Milton Keynes Gallery opened on 8 October 1999 with ‘The Rudimentary Pictures’, an exhibition of 33 entirely new works by Gilbert & George. In 2003 he was appointed Director, BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art, Gateshead made organisational and structural changes, refreshed the programme and engaged with artists of the region.
In 2005 Snoddy began to work on freelance projects, acted as consultant to various organisations and lectured at Manchester Metropolitan University. He was also Director of the inaugural Contemporary Art Norwich (CAN05). In May 2005 he was appointed as Director of The New Art Gallery, Walsall where he has reviewed policies, restructured the organisation, enabled an acquisitions budget and increased visitor figures annually since 2007. Previously he has been a Director of the New Contemporaries and was on the Visual Arts Committee of the British Council for 10 years as well numerous other trusteeships and the Director of Look 11, the Liverpool International Festival of Photography.