Turner Contemporary director Victoria Pomery to leave gallery this Autumn

Victoria Pomery OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary, with the 'Turner Contemporary' £20 note

Turner Contemporary Director Victoria Pomery is stepping down from her post to take up the role of Chief  Executive at  The Box in Plymouth – a newly opened £47milllion museum, gallery and archive.

Victoria  will step down in the autumn, after 19 years in post and overseeing the gallery’s first 10 years of operation. Pomery oversaw the capital project which delivered the David Chipperfield building on Margate seafront. She was awarded an OBE for her services to the arts in 2012 and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Kent in 2020.

She has led an internationally renowned programme of exhibitions and commissions, establishing a creative and exciting reputation for Turner Contemporary.

Victoria said: “I have been so lucky to work with so many incredible artists, organisations and individuals over the years. Having seen first-hand the impact that art can make on people and places I am looking forward to taking the work at The Box forward at a critical and exciting time for the organisation.

“Turner Contemporary is a fantastic institution with a dynamic Chair and Board of Trustees, a talented senior leadership team and staff group, and Margate is a very special place. I feel privileged to have been part of its first incredible decade and look forward to seeing the gallery’s next phase of development.”

Under Victoria’s leadership, Turner Contemporary has received 3.6 million visits and the gallery is now widely recognised as the first contemporary building to feature on a UK bank note.

Gallery staff have worked with over 100,000 local children and young people to offer them access to creative learning opportunities. Each year, around 6% of visits come from individuals who have never been to a museum or gallery in their lives before. The gallery has exhibited the work of over 2000 artists. In 2019, it hosted the world- famous Turner Prize.

The Box is the UK’s most significant cultural development of recent years and the largest multi-disciplinary arts and heritage space in the South West.

Barbara Walker, Place, Space and Who, Photograph by Stephen White

2021 marks Turner Contemporary’s 10th anniversary. The gallery’s current programme includes ‘The Tourists: Ellen Harvey & JMW Turner’ as well as ‘Ashes’ by Steve McQueen. Barbara Walker’s ‘Place Space and Who’ is also on show at the gallery.

Clive Stevens, Chair of Turner Contemporary said: “Victoria has been a phenomenal Director who has led Turner Contemporary through a vibrant, challenging and enormously successful period.

“The gallery has gone from strength to strength under her leadership and she will be greatly missed by us all here. She has developed a vibrant space which is full of energy, creativity and joy. The Board thanks her warmly for her dedication and exceptional work. We are beginning the search for her successor imminently.

“As we look to the next 10 years of Turner Contemporary, we look forward to continuing our work here in Margate and East Kent and ensuring that we remain vital and relevant to our communities.”


  1. Thank goodness, maybe now we can get some art in there, although chances are it will be another dirty bed lover.

    • Oh look. Another Thanet Philistine who thinks he can determine what art is.

      It’s called the Turner CONTEMPORARY for a reason.

      If you want to just look at pictures of horses in fields, there are still plenty of other galleries around, but you don’t actually go to galleries do you? You just read the Sun.

        • It’s not disliking particular forms of art.
          It’s stating that particular forms of art, aren’t art. See the difference.
          For example, I think tinted glasses are a crime against fashion, but I wouldn’t suggest they aren’t a form of fashion.
          Only an uneducated pleb would do that.

  2. A great job well done – and given Margate something it never had before plus a boost for local tourism. Good luck to her on her next venture, and let’s hope it’s someone equally visionary appointed to replace her.

  3. i couldnt agree more , people have been conned for long enough as to what passes as art , i could imagine the look on mr turners face if he saw the “bed ” and more so when he was told its apparent value ? , complete nonsense the lot of it !!

  4. ive been thinking since reading this article – i s**t the bed last night , does anyone want it for thier art gallery , or perhaps give me a million pound for it ?

    • Really. Have you not seen all the business’s that have grown up on the back of the Turner Centre. What money do you expect then. Most comes from Art council and Lottery. Dont expect money to help a seaside resort.

      • I’ve seen far more businesses close than open in Margate during the past decade or so. Those writers from The Guardian etc need to take a stroll up the High Street rather than believing the hype.

      • I’ve seen far more businesses close. And those that have opened are aimed largely at a niche market.
        You don’t mention the millions that have been given, and continue to be given, by Kent County Council. Nor that the Arts Council is mainly taxpayer-funded.
        Margate football club charges £12 (reasonably enough) to watch a 90-minute game. If the gallery attracts the millions of visitors it claims, a token admission charge of just a couple of quid would mean it would no longer have to leech off the taxpayer.

        • It brings in and generates a lot more than it costs. Such organisations tend to generate ten time what they cost. The Turner Centre is “world class”, “Margate Football Club” not so much.

  5. i could not agree more chris – that blot on turners landscape is just for the few . what use is it to young children ? if you took a child there would thay say – wow when are we going back , most normal people know the answer to that one.

  6. Thanet needs to step out of its cubist period. The Turner Gallery is just cubes a blot on the landscape where is the character in its exterior design. It has brought money into the area it has also brought criticism from some visitors for not displaying the artwork that constantly should have been expected.

    Regretfully this cube design reflects in many of the new developments within Thanet. Little boxes with row upon row of rabbit hutches all looking the same. What has happened to the grace of curves. Look at the former Sea Bathing Hospital site with row upon row of boxes immitatating to be high class flats. Look at the destroyed pub in Cliftonville again row upon row of boxes.

    Has the Turner Gallery exterior just perpetuated this blank wall feeling. If the Hotel next to the Gallery were ever to be built I suspect it would look just the same i.e. Just like a prison block.

  7. “After 19 years in post” for a gallery that’s only been in existence for 10 years???

    • Agree Troy . The lifts are my favourite interior feature – the experience is as good as some of the rides at Dreamland .
      The exit door is the best though .

  8. I can’t or wouldn’t wish to comment on the personal qualities of Ms Pomery. Accepting an OBE Says it all . I wish her good fortune in her future endeavours .Whilst there have been some truly outstanding installations and exhibitions I have frequently been disappointed by the lack of Turners on site and the wholly middle class and elitist nature of this artistic venture , ie the Turner modus operandi given the deprivation and the poverty experienced by Thanet residents a stones throw away from the gallery. The Turner needs to get out out of its safe comfort zone and take its art to the local community and other poverty hot spots In the town and locality in a real and meaningful way .
    What I find curious is working class ,East European ,Slovak Romany communities have largely been neglected and ignored in art representation yet exhibitions featuring black oppression have and frequently been over represented given the context of this town and the ethnic make up locally

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