British photographic history

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UK EXCLUSIVE: Charlotte Cotton joins NMeM as Creative Director

Charlotte Cotton. Photographer: unknownCharlotte Cotton is to join the National Media Museum in Bradford as Creative Director. Rumours had been swilling around the photographic community for five or six weeks and I am now able to confirm this news. Cotton had recently left her job at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she had been curator and head of the photographs department. The NMeM had yet to officially confirm this news which was first reported in the Los Angeles Times this morning.

The newly created role of Creative Director at the National Media Museum was advertised and reported on here in January 2009. It is believed Cotton will report directly to the head of the museum, Colin Philpott, and will become part of the museum's senior management team. The new position has the key goal of creating a showcase gallery in London. This is museum's long-vaunted London presence which 'aims to raise the profile of the Museum with new audiences in the nation's capital and to further enrich the city's cultural life'. Cotton's past relationship with the V&A Museum may stand her in good stead. An exhibtiion space has been identified at the Science Museum but funding has yet to be put into place to convert and run the new galleries. The NMeM's chair of trustees, Michael G. Wilson, producer of the Bond movies, has been driving this project forward in recent months. There is a wider discussion on the London presence here.

Cotton joined the the LACMA in 2007 and while there she oversaw the acquisition of the Leonard and Marjorie Vernon collection of about 3,500 prints, organized an exhibition of Philip-Lorca diCorcia's work and presided over a lively series of performances, conversations and screenings. Previously she had been in New York since 2005 to organizing a cultural program for the Art & Commerce agency and was a visiting professor at Yale University (2005) and visiting critic at SVA, Bard, CCA and Cranbrook (2005-7).

She had been head of programming at the Photographers' Gallery in London (2004-05) and was Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1993 to 2004. She has curated many exhibitions of historical and contemporary photography including, Imperfect Beauty: the making of contemporary fashion photographs (2000), Out of Japan (2002), Stepping In and Out: contemporary documentary photography (2003) and Guy Bourdin (2003).

Cotton is the author and editor of publications such as Imperfect Beauty (2000), Then Things Went Quiet (2003), Guy Bourdin (2003) and the well-regardedThe Photograph as Contemporary Art (2004). She was founding editor of wordswithoutpictures.org.

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