SPACE welcomes new CEO

Jan 2022

SPACE is delighted to welcome Eline van der Vlist as our new Chief Executive. Eline took up her new role on 5 January 2022. She takes over from Anna Harding, who held the role for 16 years.

Eline joins the team at SPACE from Darat al Funun ­– The Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amman where she has been Artistic Director since 2012.

Eline says of her appointment: “Continuing the excellent work of Anna Harding, I am very excited to be joining an organisation and leading an outstanding team that has succeeded in providing a platform and supportive community for artists since Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley’s dream of a studio laid the foundations for SPACE in 1968.

We are living in uncertain times, which obviously has an impact on how people live their lives, and how local communities and cities will be sustainably organised, and these factors will have to play a role in SPACE’s strategic future. I want SPACE to be at the forefront of reimagining what we do against these challenges, and to use our resources responsibly and with care and kindness. I see it as an ongoing challenge to be ready to adapt, not only in accordance with the evolving needs of artists, but also by responding to the needs of the local communities surrounding SPACE’s studio sites.”

Caroline Cole, SPACE Chair of Trustees, says: “Eline shone out from a really strong list of applicants as having a wonderful balance of skills and expertise, embracing the arts and business in a collaborative and compassionate way, while clearly having the background and experience to be a strong leader of a hybrid organisation like SPACE.”

About Eline van der Vlist

Artistic Director of Darat al Funun ­– The Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amman since 2012. In addition to working closely with artists and mounting numerous exhibitions, her core focus has been on strengthening the Foundation’s support and stimulation of academic research into modern and contemporary Arab art through editing a series of ground-breaking books on Arab art, directing the Foundation’s PhD research fellowship, and overseeing the cataloguing and archiving of The Khalid Shoman Collection and over 30 years of pioneering material, making it accessible to researchers and the public. In 2017 she curated the first comprehensive exhibition of photographs by Karimeh Abbud, the first Arab woman to set up her own studio in early 20th century Palestine.

She is co-editor of the publications Arab Art Histories – The Khalid Shoman Collection (2013) an extensive publication reflecting on the collection and its potential role in narrating a regional art history; and of Truth is Black…Examining Arab Art Today (2020), calling for a reassessment of conventional narratives about the region.

Previously, Eline worked as an independent curator and researcher, with a focus on long-term transnational collaborative projects that are fundamentally grounded in the local. Her work in the arts is supported by nine years’ experience as both a Dutch and New York qualified lawyer in Amsterdam, New York and London, where her main areas of practice were intellectual property rights, cross-border leasing, and US capital markets.

She has lived in Hackney since 2008.