MGM 2008 - A Museum of Me - Caroline Collier

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Caroline Collier is Director of Tate National. In this role, she develops the gallery's national and international strategies and leads their implementation, as well as overseeing research and education programmes.

Before joining Tate in 2005, as Head of National Initiatives, she was Director of Bristol's Arnolfini, and headed the restoration of the De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex.

a picture of Caroline Collier

Caroline Collier, Head of National Initiatives, Tate. Photo: Mark Simmons Photography

Is there an object or work of art that has inspired you, encouraged you to work in a different way or given you a great idea?

There are so many, all the time. Works of art are a replenishment and they surprise and jolt me out of habitual perceptions.

One work - today I will choose Whistlejacket by George Stubbs. An exhibition is about to open at York Art Gallery focussing on this compelling painting from the collection of the National Gallery.

a painting of a chestnut horse rearing on its hind legs

George Stubbs, Whistlejacket. © National Gallery London

I love the fierce delicacy of the horse (he was difficult to handle, apparently) and the qualities of the picture - the way it is painted, the colour and plainness of the background. The white of the horse's eye is showing and his lip is tense. He is wary.

It is as if Stubbs may imagine people from the horse's perspective, as predators. This captive horse, with his silky skin and metal shoes, has something of the look of the horses attacked by lions that the artist painted. The wildness and beauty of Whistlejacket, a valuable possession, gives me courage when I might feel dulled by duty or compromise.

And the picture, for me, questions the philosophy of ownership and the supremacy of human beings. But art inspires, it doesn't preach.

Can you name a person who has inspired you?

Joanna Drew, former Director of Art at the Arts Council and Director of the Hayward Gallery was an inspiration for her combination of human warmth, kindness and intense professionalism. Her example makes me try to do my best at work and in life.

Black and white portrait of a seated woman in a dress

Joanna Drew. Courtesy Arts Council England

Which ideas or creations in your work are you most proud of? This can be something really significant or quite minor.

I gain pleasure when I see people doing really well and feeling confident and excited to tackle new ideas. So I try to create opportunities at work for this kind of thing to happen; not always successfully, of course.

Photo of a gadget that is a large mobile phone with big screen and keyboard

A Blackberry

Can you think of any current innovations (in science, technology, art etc.), which have had an impact on your life?

My Blackberry, I am afraid!

Tell us what you think. We would like you to use our simple Storymaker editing tool to . We will be selecting some of the most interesting examples and publishing them next to the expert’s views during MGM 2008.

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