Art scholar and curator James Beighton is an active supporter of using the arts to establish social change. As the executive director of Tees Valley Arts, both he and the organisation are committed to achieving this goal, working closely with vulnerable communities, artists, businesses and public services to engage with audiences and advocate for the region’s culture nationally and internationally.
Being heavily invested in Teesside as his home, Brighton’s ambitions influence wherever he goes as he was previously the senior curator of MIMA for 12 years, delivering world-renowned exhibitions and programmes. In 2014, he left MIMA to undertake his PhD at Teesside University to examine its cultural history with a focus on how the visual arts have been used and promoted since the town’s formation in the 1830s. At the same time Beighton started the NEW LINTHORPE project with artist Emily Hesse, re-imagining the legacy of Linthorpe’s historic pottery sector into a grand exhibition and several pottery-making workshops.