As part of a planned timetable of events to set in place the next phase of organisational development for the ICA
, Ekow Eshun today announced he will be leaving the ICA in March 2011 after 5 years as Artistic Director, and more recently, Executive Director.
The announcement comes at the end of a thorough organisational review, led by Eshun, which has now placed the institute in a much strengthened position following a period of considerable financial pressure. With a strong autumn programme in place and a new five-year business plan delivered, Eshun feels it is the right time to announce his intention to move on.
During his tenure, Eshun steered the ICA through a period of significant growth which audience numbers rise 38% from 350,000 to 470,000 (2005-10). He established an innovative education programme and directed a redevelopment of its digital strategy that produced a new-look website and grew online visitors by over a million from 350,000 to 1.7m (2005-10).
Eshun also oversaw a critically acclaimed programme that featured leading cultural talent, including artists Tino Seghal, Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey and Turner Prize nominee Enrico David, musical trailblazers The XX, Franz Ferdinand and MGMT and guest speakers such as Dennis Hopper, Malcolm Gladwell and Slavoj Zizek. The programme shone a light on the next generation of rising British artists through ambitious exhibitions like 2008s Nought to Sixty. He brought together a host of internationally-renowned artists including Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley, all of whom were first shown by the ICA, in an exhibition to celebrate the institutes 60th anniversary in 2008.
Eshun leaves to write a new book, continue his broadcasting commitments and develop new initiatives in the cultural sector.
He will remain in post until March next year, allowing a realistic time-frame for the appointment of an appropriate successor. A new chair will also be appointed this autumn.