Press release

Assistant Curator appointed for National Gallery Bicentenary project

Published on 5 December 2023

Laura McSorley, has been appointed as one of four Assistant Curators by the National Gallery, with support from Art Fund, to work on a commission by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller for the National Gallery’s Bicentenary year.

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Laura McSorley, a Curator, Producer from the Black Isle and a graduate of the University of Dundee, has been appointed as one of four Assistant Curators by the National Gallery, with support from Art Fund, to work on a commission by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller for the National Gallery’s Bicentenary year.

'The Triumph of Art', a UK-wide performance work, will mark the culmination of NG200 – the National Gallery’s year-long festival of art to celebrate its 200th anniversary.

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), part of the University of Dundee, has been named as the Scottish partner in the project, the first time the National Gallery has had a formal partnership with an art school or college.

Each Art Fund Assistant Curator will be seconded to one of four partner organisations working on the commission – The Box in Plymouth, Mostyn in Llandudno, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee and The Playhouse in Derry/Londonderry – and all have strong links to the culture of the area and community where they will be based. In a brand-new model of partnership for the National Gallery, the Art Fund Assistant Curators will have extra capacity built into their roles to support the partner organisations in their day-to-day work.

After graduating from Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Laura spent two years running GeneratorPROJECTS, an internationally renowned, artist-led gallery and exhibition space in Dundee.

She has previously worked as Programme Assistant at the Edinburgh Art Festival and is currently working with a group of young people for the Creative Community Network project with Dundee Heritage Trust. In 2022, Laura was elected to the British Art Network’s Emerging Curators Group and has recently been appointed to the board of the Bothy Project – a charity that operates in a set of rural contexts to provide creative residencies in bespoke, off-grid bothies across Scotland.

Laura said, “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to be part of this celebration of the National Gallery’s Bicentenary and look forward to working with Jeremy Deller and colleagues here at DJCAD.”

Laura’s curatorial practice has been informed by lived experience as a working-class person, she specialises in supporting artists at the early stages of their career and is keen to undertake projects that focus on generating community, hospitality and joyful moments of togetherness. She has research interests that include tracing the impact of artist-led ecologies and how artists can work in non-visual and sensory ways. Laura also works collaboratively with artist Saoirse Amira Anis under the guise ‘two of cups’ where they have produced a series of performance events and gatherings titled A Very Heavenly Social.

Inspired by the National Gallery’s history and collection, the Art Fund Assistant Curators will help bring local traditions and heritage to the work being developed by Deller. Drawing on themes of celebration, commemoration and demonstration, Deller, together with the Art Fund Assistant Curators and with community involvement at each of the partners, will work to develop a near year-long public programme of collective and interactive activities. 'The Triumph of Art' will culminate in a performance organised by each of the partners in their locality. A major final performance will take place in July 2025, taking over Trafalgar Square with celebration and rounding off the Gallery’s 200th birthday.

Notes to editors

Photographer: Ben Douglas

About Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) is part of the University of Dundee and is one of the UK’s top art and design schools. 

The College is ranked Number 1 in Scotland and in the Top 10 in the UK (Complete University Guide 2024).

In the UK Research Assessment Framework 2021, research at DJCAD was rated as top in the UK for Environment and top in Scotland for Impact.

About the National Gallery

The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes works by Bellini, Cezanne, Degas, Leonardo, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. Admission free. More at

About Art Fund

Art Fund is the national charity for art, helping museums and people to share in great art and culture for 120 years. Art Fund raises millions of pounds every year to help the UK’s museums, galleries and historic houses. The charity funds art, enabling the UK’s museums to buy and share exciting works, connect with their communities and inspire the next generation. It builds audiences, with its National Art Pass opening doors to great culture. And it amplifies the museum sector through the world’s largest museum prize, Museum of the Year, and creative events that bring the UK’s museums together. Art Fund is people-powered by 135,000 members who buy a National Art Pass, and the donors, trusts and foundations who support the charity. 

The National Art Pass provides free or discounted entry to over 850 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and Art Quarterly magazine.

About Jeremy Deller

Jeremy Deller (b. 1966, London) studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and at Sussex University. He began making artworks in the early 1990s, often showing them outside conventional galleries. In 1993, while his parents were on holiday, he secretly used the family home for an exhibition titled Open Bedroom.

Four years later he produced the musical performance Acid Brass with the Williams-Fairey Band and began making art in collaboration with other people. In 2000, with fellow artist Alan Kane, Deller began a collection of items that illustrate the passions and pastimes of people from across Britain and the social classes. Treading a fine line between art and anthropology, Folk Archive is a collection of objects which touch on diverse subjects such as Morris Dancing, gurning competitions, and political demonstrations. The Folk Archive became part of the British Council Collection in 2007 and has since toured to Shanghai, Paris and Milan. 

In 2001 Deller staged 'The Battle of Orgreave', commissioned by Artangel and Channel 4, directed by Mike Figgis. The work involved a re-enactment which brought together around 1,000 veteran miners and members of historical societies to restage the 1984 clash between miners and police in Orgreave, Yorkshire. In 2004, Deller won the Turner Prize for 'Memory Bucket' (2003), a documentary about Texas. He has since made several documentaries on subjects ranging from the exotic wrestler Adrian Street to the die-hard international fan base of the band Depeche Mode. 

In 2009 Deller undertook a road trip across the US, from New York to Los Angeles, towing a car destroyed in a bomb attack in Baghdad and accompanied by an Iraqi citizen and a US war veteran.

The project, 'It Is What It Is', was presented at Creative Time and the New Museum, New York and the car is now part of the Imperial War Museum’s collection. In the same year he staged 'Procession', in Manchester, involving participants, commissioned floats, choreographed music and performances creating an odd and celebratory spectacle. During the summer of 2012 'Sacrilege', Deller’s life-size inflatable version of Stonehenge – a co-commission between Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and the Mayor of London – toured around the UK to great public acclaim.

In 2013 Deller represented Britain at the Venice Biennale with a multi-faceted exhibition titled, 'English Magic'. Encompassing notions of good and bad magic, socialism, war, popular culture, archaeology and tea, the exhibition gave a view of the UK that was both combative and affectionate.

His First World War memorial work - 'We’re Here Because We’re Here' (2016) and the documentary 'Everybody in the Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984–1992' (2019), have influenced the conventional map of contemporary art. Most recently Deller has published 'Art is Magic', a book that documents key works in his career alongside the art, pop music, film, politics and history that have inspired him.


Roddy Isles

Head of Corporate Communication

+44 (0)1382 384910
Story category Events and exhibitions