barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Nicola Kalinsky


Nicola Kalinsky, joined the Barber Institute as its sixth Director in January 2013, having moved from a role as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland.

Nicola, who moved to Scotland in 1997, played a key role in the critically acclaimed and hugely popular £17.6 million transformation of the Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Responsible for the development of the refurbished galleries’ interpretative information and the delivery of the first 17 exhibitions, she was the museum’s 18th-century art specialist and has been responsible for several major acquisitions.

After reading History and English at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Nicola studied for her MA at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. She began her curatorial career as Keeper of Dulwich Picture Gallery, where she produced major shows on Charles Lebrun and Thomas Gainsborough. After five years at Dulwich, she joined University College London as Curator of the College Art Collections, where she organised the refurbishment of the Strang Print Room, initiated a public exhibition programme and restored the historic Flaxman plasters to the university.

Alongside her scholarly interests, Nicola is particularly interested in how design and interpretation can be used to increase public enjoyment of fine art collections within traditional gallery spaces.

Contact: (PA to the Director)


Robert Wenley

Deputy Director and Head of Collections

Robert Wenley joined the Barber Institute in May 2010 from Glasgow Museums, where he was the Curator of European Art, 1600-1800 and based at the Burrell Collection from 2003 until 2010.

Robert studied History (BA Hons) at Durham University and Gallery Studies (M. Litt.) at St Andrew’s University. This was followed by 12 years in the curatorial section at the Wallace Collection, London, where he specialised in, and published on, French bronzes from the 16th-18th centuries. He was Reviews Editor for the Sculpture Journal from 2000 until 2010 and now sits on the Editorial Board.

His other specialist areas of interest are Dutch and Flemish 17th century paintings, and the history of collecting, particularly in Britain, and he has published numerous articles on these subjects.

Here at the Barber, Robert has researched and managed new displays of the Barber’s collection of sculpture and decorative art as well as having project-led several exhibitions, including the recent Flinck in Focus (2015). He also continues to supervise and contribute to research into, and publication of, the collection, including online.



Helen Cobby

Assistant Curator


Maria Vrij

Coin Curator


Vicky Skelding-Bloor

Exhibition & Loans Officer


John Van Boolen

Curatorial Technician




Andrew Davies

Communications and Marketing Manager


David Powell

Membership Relations Manager

Oliver Stevenson

Communications and Marketing Assistant 




Jen Ridding

Learning and Engagement Manager 


Becca Randle

Learning and Engagement Assistant


Alex Jolly

Learning and Engagement Assistant




Jo Sweet

Head of University Music and Concerts


Lucy Baker

Concerts and Marketing Administrator



Greg Cook

Head of Operations


Sophie Wilson



Nemone Ryan 

Commercial Sales Officer


Gill Hill

Finance/Clerical Assistant


David Perks

Security & Maintenance Manager





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