In its 2018/19 Annual Report, Tate has pointed to “another successful year”, with 8.2 million people having visited the Modern, Britain, Liverpool and St Ives Tate sites. Figures of a combined 9.9 million followers amassed on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is also heralded as an important step forward in the ever-competitive social media space. Further, Tate’s website hosted 19 million visitors over the past twelve months.

2018/19 visitor figures

Tate Modern – 5,798,689

Tate Britain – 1,357,289

Tate Liverpool – 702,043

Tate St Ives – 299,734

Total – 8,157,755

668 artworks were acquired throughout the year, totalling £18.1 million in value. During the same period, Tate lent works out to 154 venues in the UK and 153 overseas venues. 1,579 pieces were distributed to 31 nations in all, with global audiences numbering 1.2 million people encountering the touring exhibitions.

The last year saw Anna Lowe join Tate’s board as youth engagement trustee, an appointment which made her the youngest serving trustee at a national museum or gallery in the UK.

Maria Balshaw, director of Tate, said the year has reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to younger audiences. This was due in no small part to the founding of Tate Collective, a free-to-join initiative delivering £5 exhibition tickets for 16 to 25 year olds. More than 100,000 qualifying people have already signed up to the scheme.

New direction

It has been confirmed Polly Staple will take over as Tate’s director of collection for British Art. The former editor of Frieze will take on the role in January 2020, succeeding Ann Gallagher in overseeing the research and acquisition of artworks from 1500 to the present day.

Polly Staple, Tate’s incoming director of collection, British Art © Mark Blower

As the appointment was confirmed, Maria Balshaw said: “Polly’s track record in recognising artistic talent and her commitment to making art available to the widest possible audience will prove invaluable as we continue to develop our British collection.”

Who is Polly Staple?

Having most recently served as director of Chisenhale Gallery since 2008, Staple will be known to many in the sector from her time as director of Frieze Projects and editor-at-large of Frieze magazine.

Staple is also a co-founder of the Common Practice initiative, has chaired the Board of Trustees of the Elephant Trust and was a member of the Acquisitions and Advisory Committee for the Arts Council Collection. 2001 saw her become the inaugural recipient of the Cubitt Curatorial Fellowship and in 2014 she was awarded the Genesis Prize.

Staple will work alongside Alex Farquharson, who heads up the curatorial team at Tate Britain, and collaborate with her counterpart for Tate’s international collection, Gregor Muir.

Back to top