Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF), the UK’s largest annual festival of visual art, is delighted to announce Kim McAleese as its new Director. She takes up the position ahead of the 18th edition of the festival, which returns from Thursday 28 July to Sunday 28 August 2022.

Founded in 2004, EAF is the platform for the visual arts at the heart of Edinburgh’s August festivals, bringing together the capital’s leading galleries, museums, production facilities and artist-run spaces in a city-wide celebration of the very best in visual art. Each year the festival comprises newly commissioned artworks by leading and emerging artists, alongside a rich programme of exhibitions curated and presented by partners across the city.

As Edinburgh celebrates 75 years since the foundation of its August festivals, McAleese joins Edinburgh Art Festival to deliver an ambitious, compelling and strategic vision for its future growth and success.

Kim McAleese said: “Scotland has always been close to my heart, and I cannot wait to begin working there. Over the past few years, I have learned so much from artists working and living there, so really hope to continue these relationships and have them flourish. Collaborative working and co-commissioning has been an essential part of how I operate and see the world, and really hope to bring that to the festival.”

Kim McAleese. Image credit: Stuart Whipps

Iain McFadden, Chair of Edinburgh Art Festival, said: “The EAF Board of Trustees are delighted to welcome Kim as the new Director, joining the festival at an important moment of development. Kim’s career has demonstrated her outstanding commitment to artists, audiences and partnership working, and the Board and I am confident she will bring the same dynamic vision and collaborative leadership to EAF.”

Amanda Catto, Creative Scotland’s Head of Visual Arts said: “We’d like to congratulate Kim McAleese on her appointment and look forward to welcoming her to Scotland. The Edinburgh Art Festival contributes significantly to the cultural offer of the city and is an important and valued force for good within the wider contemporary art sector in Scotland. Following the disruption of Covid over the last two years Kim joins the festival at an important time and we’re excited to see how her curatorial vision and commitment to artists and audiences will shape its work into the future.”

In Scotland, Kim has worked closely with LUX Scotland and with DCA Dundee. At DCA, she co-curated Seized by the Left Hand (2018 – 2020) with Eoin Dara – an international group exhibition which took Ursula K. Le Guin’s influential science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) as a starting point to explore resistance against normative categorisations of gender, sexuality, bonding and kinship.

McAleese will join Edinburgh Art Festival in time for its 18th edition from 28 July to 28 August 2022. Edinburgh Art Festival is a registered charity supported by Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.