Helen was appointed director of Tate Liverpool in June 2018. Prior to that she was director for 7 years of Spike Island, Bristol, a gallery and studio complex where she focused on giving opportunities to emerging and under recognised artists. She curated exhibitions with British and International contemporary artists including Becky Beasley, Charlotte Prodger, Ciara Phillips and Corita Kent, Dewar and Gicquel, Cevdet Erek, Lubaina Himid, Andy Holden, Haroon Mirza, Laure Prouvost, Michael Simpson, Patrick Staff and Maeve Brennan. Previously she was curator at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2005 -2010), where she was heavily involved in the development of Ikon Eastside, a second gallery and events space based in a former factory building in Digbeth, an industrial area of the city.
She gained an MA in History of Art from the University of St Andrews in 1996, followed by an MA in Curating & Commissioning Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art. She completed the Chief Executive Programme of National Art Strategies, hosted by Harvard Business School and Michigan Business School, in April 2015.
In 2018 Helen was a judge for the second Hepworth Prize for Sculpture and part of the selection panel for Scotland in Venice 2019. She was an external advisor to the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee from 2015-17, a member of the Arts Council England South West Area Council, Chair of Visual Arts South West and is an Honorary Visiting Professor at the University West of England. She was part of the selection committee for the British representation at the Venice Biennale 2017 and a judge for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in the same year. In 2014 she was a judge for the Turner Prize and the Contemporary Art Society’s Museums Award and in 2013 was a selector for the Paul Hamlyn Artist’s Awards. She served on the acquisition committee for Frac Midi-Pyrénées 2012-15.
Helen has written about contemporary art for a wide range of publications and journals, most recently catalogue essays for British artists Emma Hart and Lubaina Himid, and South Korean artist Kim Yong-Ik.