The acting artistic director of education at Ikon, Dr Linzi Stauvers, talks showcasing contemporary art, loving local beer and cycling along the River Rea
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I spent 10 years in London, studying history of art and working as a lecturer at the National Portrait Gallery. After my PhD, I moved to Leeds where I commissioned artists to create new work for heritage spaces, including a former cinema, music hall and TV studio. I relocated to Birmingham when I started working at Ikon in 2017.
IT’S WHAT I DO
I look after Ikon’s education work, placing artists in schools, community settings and a prison. We also run a programme for young people aged 16 to 21 to explore the arts and crafts heritage of the West Midlands via our canal boat. My team collaborates with universities, rights-based organisations and artists to respond to social issues. For example, in March we are presenting a new work by Birmingham artist Foka Wolf, entitled Why Are We Stuck in Hospital?
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
At Ikon our ambition is to showcase more contemporary art in Birmingham. This includes large-scale public art projects, like Hew Locke’s Foreign Exchange, which we produced for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and Osman Yousefzada’s Infinity Pattern, that covered the entire Selfridges building. Perhaps something that can be seen from space next time.
Getting married at 40. As someone who manages events for a living, a wedding always felt like a busman’s holiday. However, my husband Chas agreed to a very small event with only 10 guests. We got hitched in style at the Birmingham Register Office followed by real ales and pork pies at the Craven Arms. We returned to the scene of the crime for our first anniversary and will continue to do so.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
In my 20s, I was a fan of novelist JG Ballard. I didn’t have the courage to write to him, but I should have. I’ve since met his daughter, the artist Fay Ballard, and it has been wonderful learning about a writer who has inspired so much contemporary art. For example, Ikon’s current exhibition – Horror in the Modernist Block – is full of high rises and concrete islands.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
My favourite place in Birmingham (and probably the world) is the Midlands Art Centre. I like to cycle along the River Rea with my eight-year-old son, and pop into Mac to see an exhibition, watch a movie or take part in a family pottery workshop. They also sell Attic Brew’s Intuition, which is top of my local beer list.
I’m not green-fingered, but enjoy a National Trust garden, like Wightwick Manor and Packwood House. If I could have a cup of tea with anyone it would be Capability Brown. I do love a ha-ha.