Skip to main content

Sally Shaw

Sally is Director of Firstsite, Colchester where she has been for five years. With the team, she has delivered an exceptional turn-around programme realigning Firstsite with a focused and relevant purpose targeted at deploying art and culture as a means of addressing critical challenges in the community such as deprivation, food poverty and inequity.

Sally’s focus on ground-up community collaboration has led Firstsite to be recognised nationally and internationally for the gallery’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Firstsite’s agile and creative projects included free digital art packs for families across the nation, galvanising the top national museums across the country through the Great Big Art Exhibition and providing thousands of free meals and creative activities to local families through the Holiday Fun programme.

These initiatives have led Firstsite to be shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 award and saw Sally herself recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for Services to the Arts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sally has also been invited to be a Fellow of the University of Essex Human Rights and Law Centre.

Previously Sally was Head of Programme at Modern Art Oxford, Deputy Head of Culture for the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Chief Curator for London Underground, Director of Media Art – Bath and Residency Programme Manager at Spike Island, Bristol. She has also established a number of independent projects and programmes including an artist residency programme in an open prison in Gloucestershire.