2023 is set to be a year of change for Abandon Normal Devices

Thu 30 Mar 2023

After a collective 25 years working for AND, our Director Ruth McCullough and Executive Director Catherine Waddington are bidding farewell to the organisation.

Working on all nine editions of AND Festival since 2009 – involving collaborations with hundreds of artists including Eva and Franco Mattes, Julian Oliver, Anita Fontaine, Daito Manabe and Beatrice Dillon – Ruth has bought an infinitely curious and creative approach to producing work with artists and partners over the last 15 years.

Highlights include risk taking collaborations such as: dystopian fairground ride Plan C; Watch the Skies a weekend of interstellar cinema at Jodrell Bank; and Listening to the Dark series of sonic experiments in the subterranean bunkers of Peak Cavern.

Ruth’s last year as Director has seen the organisation focus on critical work to develop equity for artists in the sector, through new programme strands Unseen Futures, Impossible Perspectives and New Cinema Days. Having recently relocated to her home in Northern Ireland, Ruth is taking up a role as a Creative Director in Belfast. 

Catherine joined the AND team in 2013, over the past decade she has worked on four editions of AND Festival and a multitude of projects enticing audiences to an eclectic range of sites, from canals and caves, to forests and ferries.

Highlights include collaborations with: Heart of Glass on The Invisible City at Pilkington Glass Factory; Jodrell Bank Observatory on COSMOS; and National Trust on Waterlicht, and more recently overseeing the 2021 AND Festival on the docklands and waterways of the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey – Catherine’s expertise and instincts across executive and engagement – embracing risk and ethics – have enabled AND to grow and adapt in a ever changing landscape over the past 10 years.

Having recently completed her MBA from the University of Wolverhampton, Catherine is embarking on a new chapter as a Consultant in the Arts and Culture sector, working with organisations facing transitionary times.

Ruth and Catherine have jointly steered the organisation through extraordinarily exciting and challenging times, including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Supported by a brilliant team and board Catherine and Ruth have led an internationally respected and innovative organisation. They handover the organisation in a stable position having secured Arts Council England NPO funding for 2023-26. Their dual departure creates space for an exciting new chapter for Abandon Normal Devices.

“The past 15 years with AND have been hugely inspiring and rewarding, moving to the North of England in 2009 who knew what an adventure it would take me on. I’ve been privileged to work with amazing artists, team, board, partners and network of creatives, across a sprawling ecology and landscape that has made AND an endlessly inspiring place to work.

I believe Abandon Normal Devices to be one of the most progressive international arts organisations, its mission has always been in the name, a challenge and freedom to shape, debate and create the future. I can’t wait to see who and how shapes AND next.”
Ruth McCullough

“The last ten years with AND has been a joy and a privilege, I’ve been incredibly lucky to find myself working within a space that is ever-evolving and seemingly without limits on the ways we can build creative environments and make art. My thanks to all who have been a part of AND across the years, it has been those bold individuals who’ve been willing to explore unknown futures together that have made AND the wonderful adventure that it has been for myself.

I hope AND may continue to push the boundaries of what is perceived as art for many years to come.”
Catherine Waddington

Recruitment is underway for new leadership for the organisation, read more about the new roles and how to apply here


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