Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Los Angeles, Whitley moved to London practically 20 years in the past. Upon relocation, she would full a grasp’s diploma within the historical past of design from the Royal School of Artwork and later earn her Ph.D. from the College of Central Lancashire beneath the supervision of the Turner Prize–profitable artist and curator Lubaina Himid. “A key lesson I realized,” Whitley reminisced, “is one which Himid taught me early on: Hearken to artists!”Whitley defined how, in the beginning of her museum profession, she witnessed firsthand how sure curatorial practices have been at odds with what was finest for artists. “Standout experiences embrace these the place I’ve been capable of maintain the artist’s wants foremost whereas marshalling the most effective of the establishment to assist the artist and their follow,” she stated. Within the years since, Whitley has turn into a strong advocate for artists in her function as a curator.
Between the pandemic and the worldwide outcry for institutional accountability by the long-standing Black Lives Matter motion, this previous 12 months has examined the mettle of many cultural leaders. Within the U.Ok., museums and galleries have been topic to continually vacillating shutdowns. World wide, establishments rushed to declare their assist for and can to alter, usually with simple and fast gestures like social media posts, newly based range and inclusion roles, and nebulous pledges to “do higher.”
“All the things has modified,” stated Whitley. “I’m discovering it productive that regardless of how seasoned or fledgling somebody could be of their management place, we’re all navigating the continued results of a world well being disaster and its unknown aftermath on the cultural sector and the livelihoods of artists.”