New Director of the Paul Mellon Centre Announced

  • 29 June 2023

Dr Sarah Victoria Turner has been appointed Director of the Paul Mellon Centre. Sarah Turner has been Acting Director of the Centre since March 2023 and will take up the post from July 2023. She follows Mark Hallett as the sixth Director of the Paul Mellon Centre and will be its first female Director since its founding in 1970.

Sarah Turner’s Directorship will build on her nine years at the Centre, first as Assistant Director for Research and lately as Deputy Director, during which time she has overseen many innovative programmes and collaborative projects with partners in the UK and internationally, including establishing the national art writing competition, Write on Art, with Art UK, co-leading the London-Asia research project, and co-writing and co-hosting the Sculpting Lives podcast. She is Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning, open-access journal British Art Studies (since its founding in 2015). During her time at the Paul Mellon Centre, Dr Turner has had oversight of the archive & library, digital activities, book and online publications, and the research programme.

Sarah Turner read History of Art at Pembroke College, Cambridge. At the University of Leeds, she studied for an MA in Sculpture Studies, run in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute, and then completed her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She began her academic career at the University of York where she was first a Teaching Fellow and then a Lecturer in the Department of History of Art. As an art historian, she has published widely and has co-curated several major exhibitions, and much of her writing has focused on the entangled relationships between Britain, the British Empire and South Asia.

Susan Gibbons, Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communication, Yale University, and ex-officio Chief Executive of the Paul Mellon Centre commented: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sarah Victoria Turner. Her energy and passion for collaboration as a scholar and curator, and her strong leadership skills, make her an exceptional appointee.”

Sarah Turner said: “I am thrilled to be leading an outstanding team of people at the Paul Mellon Centre. I look forward to working closely with the Yale community, particularly our partner institution, the Yale Center for British Art, to take the Centre forward in its mission to promote activities that expand and enhance understandings of British art. The Paul Mellon Centre offers incredible resources that support research, curating and education activities. One of my aims as Director is to share these as widely as possible and to open up new conversations, ideas and narratives about the histories of British art. I am excited about the future direction of work that the Centre will shape and support. As Director, I will be a vocal champion for the value of art and architectural history and research on visual culture more broadly in helping us navigate some of the most complex questions of our time.”