Sculptor Pilkington to head RA Schools

The sculptor Cathie Pilkington has been elected Keeper of the Royal Academy, chosen by the 80 members.

As Keeper she is responsible for the Royal Academy Schools, the longest established postgraduate art school in the UK and the only free three-year programme in Europe.

With Rebecca Salter, the new president elected in December and Pilkington’s predecessor as Keeper, she makes a unique all-female leadership at the 252-year-old institution. She was elected to the RA in 2014 and was professor of sculpture at the RA Schools from 2015 to 2019.

Pilkington, 51, trained at Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal College of Art. She is known for her witty and ambiguously sentimental life-like painted sculptures, and she is already immersed in the schools’ culture: “I have witnessed first-hand the transformative effect that studying at the Royal Academy has on a student’s life and work” she said. “As the new Keeper with unprecedented challenges ahead, I am deeply committed to promoting and protecting this wonderful and unique environment. I look forward to working closely with the President, staff and students to ensure the RA Schools remains energised, innovative and resilient for future generations of practicing artists.”

“As an artist and teacher Cathie Pilkington will bring a wealth of experience to the role of Keeper and joins the RA Schools at a particularly challenging time, with our students working from home and the future uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic” Rebecca Salter said. “Her guidance and leadership for the students will be invaluable. I look forward to collaborating with her as we work towards reopening and as the RA Schools approaches its vital restoration and renewal project in 2022 which will preserve the heritage of the institution whilst also ensuring it continues to provide an exceptional contemporary postgraduate art education.”

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