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The Warburg Institute Appoints its First Curator of Artistic Programmes


We are delighted to announce that Matthew Harle will be joining us as our first Curator of Artistic Programmes in February. Matthew comes to us from the Barbican, where he served as Curator of Public Programme and helped found the Barbican Archive.

After completing a PhD in English Literature at Birkbeck in 2016, Harle has worked at the BFI, Barbican and produced a number of major collaborative projects as an independent curator. At the Barbican, Matthew was part of the team that assembled and interpreted the Barbican’s archive to mark the Centre’s 40th anniversary; and as their Curator of Public Programme, was responsible for the Barbican’s cross-arts programme of talks, public space installations and screenings across the Centre’s major art forms. This included the Bishopsgate Institute’s takeover of the Curve in 2022, Out & About!, and his monthly event series The Edge of the Centre. His final curatorial projects include the artist’s film season, Artists in Residence, in January and February 2024. 

As an independent curator, Harle works with the artist Rita Keegan and is part of the team that edited Keegan’s archival sourcebook Mirror Reflecting Darkly and staged her retrospective Somewhere Between Here & There at South London Gallery. He is now a trustee of Keegan’s studio. He has also produced several London-wide film seasons and retrospectives such as Here Lies Jonathan Meades, Radical Broadcasts, and A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb; and in 2023, marked the reopening of Raven Row gallery with People Make Television – a major co-curated retrospective on open-access community TV.

Alongside his curatorial work, Matthew is a writer and editor. His books include an academic monograph, Afterlives of Abandoned Work, and edited books on David Rudkin’s film Penda’s Fen and the archive of the writer BS Johnson. Forthcoming books include a collection of John Berger’s writings on miners and strike action, The Underground Sea and Black Arsenal, an exploration of Arsenal Football Club’s unique relationship to Black British identity. He is currently writing a book on a found address book of Berlin Jews from 1931.

Professor Bill Sherman, the Warburg Institute’s Director, said: 

Matthew Harle brings the range of experiences, achievements and ideas needed to make our new programme (and the new spaces around which it is built) a success. We were impressed by his commitment to archives, to media, to scholarship, to urban history, and above all to the power of art to engage, teach and transform.

Matthew Harle said:

The Warburg is one of Britain’s great research institutes – its émigré story, combined with the imagination and eccentricity of its collections, make building a new, intellectually-engaged public programme a very exciting prospect. The Warburg’s opening to the public should reflect the Institute itself: bringing original, affecting ideas that both enrich and unsettle London’s cultural life.