New Acquisitions Committee Members 2022/23

30 August 2022

Arts Council Collection is pleased to announce three new members of our Acquisitions Committee for 2022–24: Harriet Cooper, (Head of Visual Arts, Jerwood Arts), Marie-Anne McQuay (Head of Programmes, Bluecoat, Liverpool) and Vanessa Peterson (editor, photographer and writer). 

Harriet Cooper is currently Head of Visual Arts at Jerwood Arts where she is responsible for developing and leading their visual arts work including projects, partnerships, funding, research and awards. She curates Jerwood Arts’ gallery programme in London and on tour around the UK, and recently developed the exhibition Jerwood Collaborate! which showcased new commissions by collaborative and collective artistic practices. 

Cooper commented; "My passion for art stems from how much it can teach us about the way other people experience the world we share. I am looking forward to championing new voices that add original, imaginative, and sometimes challenging perspectives to the Collection."

Marie-Anne McQuay is the newly appointed Director of Projects at Arts&Heritage and lives & works in Liverpool. Previously she was Head of Programme at the Bluecoat, Liverpool (November 2014 – June 2022) and will continue as an advisor for Artist Development. Recent solo exhibitions and projects commissioned during her time at the Bluecoat include new work by Larissa Sansour, Adham Faramawy, Suki Chan, Jade Montserrat, Jonathan Baldock, Elaine Mitchener, Rosa-Johan Uddoh, Sumuyya Khader, Priya Mistry/whatsthebigmistry and Grace Ndiritu. She was also guest international curator for Wales in Venice 2019 with artist Sean Edwards and Tŷ Pawb.

McQuay commented; “I’m so pleased to join the Arts Council Collection’s Acquisitions Committee and contribute to their active and supportive culture of collecting. I’ll focus my research both on artists from across the UK who are breaking through and artists who are returning to practice”. 

Vanessa Peterson is a writer and editor based in London, UK.  She is Associate Editor at frieze magazine. She has lectured at institutions and organisations such as the Royal College of Art, the Royal Academy of Arts and Anglia Ruskin University on art criticism and visual culture, and written texts for art catalogues and monographs including Phaidon’s PRIME – Art’s Next Generation (2022), profiling the world’s leading young contemporary artists. She has worked at cultural institutions such as Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Film Institute and the Wellcome Collection in an editorial and research capacity. 

Petersen commented; “I have long followed the work of the Arts Council Collection and its work in enabling audiences around the UK to see displays and exhibitions from a nationally-owned collection of modern and contemporary British art. I'm extremely excited to be joining the Acquisitions Committee as an external advisor, and I'm committed to ensuring the widest range of artists are represented and supported – I look forward to bringing my knowledge, ideas and editorial research skills to the committee over the next 2 years”.


Recommendations on purchasing innovative works of art that reflect artistic practice in Britain today are made by a changing group of external advisors to the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee.

Acquisitions are made through a committee of eight individuals. Harriet Cooper, Marie-Anne McQuay and Vanessa Peterson join artist Simeon Barclay, along with the internal members of the Committee: Deborah Smith (Director, Arts Council Collection), Ralph Rugoff (Director, Hayward Gallery), and Peter Heslip (Director, Visual Arts, Arts Council England). Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, is Chair to the Committee.

Explore works acquired for the nation through our 2021-22 Acquisitions.


The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.