How did you become a…curator?

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As curator Sean gets to look after a fascinating collection including these wine glasses which Robert Burns gave to Clarinda.
As curator Sean McGlashan gets to look after a fascinating collection including these wine glasses which Robert Burns gave to Clarinda.

I have always been interested in art from a very young age. When I was young I attended privately taught art courses and entered special art courses in school. On graduating high school I started my first degree in Art Education, however, I realised early on that it is very hard to make a living at fine art so I became an art teacher!

I am from Pennsylvania where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from the University of Edinboro (yes, that is how it is spelled!) in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. In 1983 I moved to Dallas, Texas to be with my Scottish partner and I taught art to adolescents there for 10 years. While teaching I did my first Master’s Degree in Painting at North Texas State University. This degree was very important and made me a painter, which I continue as a favourite hobby.

The US university where Sean completed his first degree,
The US university where Sean completed his first degree,

In 1994 we moved to Scotland permanently and I did a lot of part-time art teaching at Ayr College, Colmonell Primary School, Central College of Commerce, College of Food Technology and Departments of Continuing Education at Strathclyde University, Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow. At this time in the mid 90’s I also taught workshops at the Gallery of Modern in Glasgow so, when a post of Curator of Contemporary Art became available; I applied for it and got it! I remained in that post from 1999 until 2014. During my time there I gained my second Master’s Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester.

The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) where Sean started his career in museums. (Picture from artfund.org)
The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) where Sean started his career in museums.
(Picture from artfund.org)

I have now lived in Scotland for 21 years and for most of that period we have stayed in Maidens near Culzean. I was feeling like a change and I have always been interested in Robert Burns as resident of South Ayrshire. Again, a post opened here, I applied for it and got it! In my post as curator for the NTS I look after the collection at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and introduce contemporary art potentially anywhere in the Trust. My experience with museum work and contemporary art are both useful and I very much enjoy extending my knowledge about the magnificent Robert Burns.

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