Aaron is the founding Director of Delfina Foundation, where he develops, curates and oversees its interrelated programme of residencies, exhibitions and public platforms.
Over the last 14 years, Aaron has positioned Delfina Foundation as a meeting point and incubator of creative talent, forming partnerships with leading institutions internationally. He has devised Delfina Foundation’s ground-breaking thematic programmes such as Collecting as Practice, the first ever integrated residency programme for collectors and artists.
Aaron has curated external exhibitions, performances and programmes at Hayward Gallery Project Space, SongEun Artspace, ArtBo, and Art Dubai, to name a few. As part of the official public programme of the 58th Venice Art Biennale, he conceived the opening week and final weekend performances with Ralph Rugoff. Aaron has moderated high profile discussions in conferences as well as in the context of art fairs including Art Basel, Frieze and Art Brussels. He has written for The Art Newspaper, Harper’s Bazaar, and ArtAsiaPacific, among others. In 2019, together with Dani Burrows, he edited the book Politics of Food stemming from Delfina Foundation’s popular programme.
Aaron is Advisor-at-Large at Art Jameel, one of Delfina Foundation’s major partners, and a Strategic Advisor to Asymmetry Art Foundation and Kunsthalle Praha. He has been appointed to numerous boards and committees, currently including All Change Arts, Shubbak, Caribbean Art Initiative, Aga Khan Museum, and Alserkal Avenue. He was a member of the jury for the 2020 Turner Prize and has served on other juries including the Jarman Award (2012), LIVE WORKS Performance Art Award (2016), Samdani Artist Award (2012-2020), MOP CAP (2018), and the Absolut Creative Competition (2019), to name a few.
Prior to Delfina Foundation, Aaron worked as Project Director of Metal, the artistic laboratory space established by Jude Kelly OBE, ultimately becoming Managing Director of Metal’s arts-based consultancy overseeing creative projects with a focus on urban regeneration. He has also worked with London 2012, as part of its culture team that secured London’s Olympic bid; at The Place, London; and in New York, as a management consultant.
Aaron was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal College of Arts, London in June 2017. He earned a postgraduate degree with distinction in the Creative & Cultural Industries from King’s College London. He graduated from Princeton University with a first degree in Economics and a certificate in Dance and Theatre.
She graduated from Cambridge University with a BA, MA in History of Art and has an MA in Arts Policy and Cultural Management from Birkbeck University. For the last eight years she has worked as the Contemporary Middle East Curator at the V&A, where she was responsible for Middle Eastern art and design programming at the museum, co-curated the biennial international Jameel Prize exhibition, and co founded the Culture in Crisis stream. Prior to the V&A, she worked at Art Dubai from its inauguration in 2007 to 2011 as Head of Artists’ Projects, as well as Artistic Director of Contemparabia, a series of cultural itineraries for museum groups.
Salma has contributed to other projects as an independent curator and facilitator, including Palestine c/o Venice at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) and the Wind Tunnel Project in Farnborough (2014). She works closely with cultural organisations on strategy and is a committee member of the Arab Image Foundation (Beirut), The Palestinian Museum (Birzeit), The Khatt Foundation (Amsterdam), a Trustee of the Crossway Foundation (London) and Strategic Advisor to NuMu (Guatemala City) and previously, Delfina Foundation (London).
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Director of Operations
Gillean Dickie is the Director of Operations at Delfina Foundation, overseeing building, financial and organisational management as well as contributing to strategic and business planning.
Gillean started her career in the exhibition department of CCA, Glasgow, followed by production and management roles in the performing arts and film, including with Merchant Ivory Productions, Blast Theory and Imlata Dance Company. As Producer with The Arts Catalyst she realised themed exhibitions and ambitious artist projects in a wide range of contexts, including museums, galleries, abandoned and former military sites, and public spaces.
Gillean has produced many artist commissions including notable projects by Aleksandra Mir, The Otolith Group, Marko Peljhan, Tomas Saraceno, Ashok Sukumaran, Critical Art Ensemble and Agnes Meyer Brandis.
Gillean studied Painting at Edinburgh College of Art and Arts Management at City University, London.
Viviana Checchia is Delfina Foundation’s Residency Curator, leading on delivery of residencies and organisation’s public programme.
Viviana Checchia is a curator, critic and lecturer. She joins Delfina Foundation from HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg where she was Senior Lecturer on the MFA course, contributed to the Masters programme on Commissioning and Curating Contemporary Public Art, and course leader for a new module in Art, Pedagogy and Social Action.
Viviana has also been a visiting lecturer at: the Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; the International Academy of Art Palestine; University of the Arts, London; University of Glasgow; The Glasgow School of Art; and was an instructor for the V-A-C Foundation’s Summer Curatorial School in Moscow.
Prior to her position at HDK-Valand, Viviana was Public Engagement Curator at the Centre for Contemporary Arts: Glasgow (CCA). She has devoted much of her curatorial research to the global and local development of socially engaged art practice. Outcomes of this research have been disseminated through CCA by way of the symposium Social Intentions (2016); the events programme Intentions in Action (2016-2017); and the exhibition – and eponymous publication – Forms of Action (2017).
Before taking up her role at CCA, Viviana produced and contributed to a wide range of international projects, including curating the Young Artist of the Year Award in Ramallah in 2014, and co-curating the 4th Athens Biennale in 2013.
For the past ten years, Viviana has co-directed ‘vessel’, a curatorial platform, based in Puglia, Italy, that operates internationally to facilitate critical discussion surrounding the cultural, social, economic and political change created through community-based work.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Helen Gale is the Marketing and Communications Manager, working on the communication of Delfina Foundation’s activities across the organisation’s digital platforms and with the media.
Helen joined the Delfina team in August 2017. Prior to this she worked for several years in non-profits and arts communications, including at INIVA and Ibraaz.
Nisha Desai supports the smooth day-to-day running of the residency household and office, provides support for the artist residency programme and coordination for public programmes and events.
Nisha graduated in 2018 from Central Saint Martins with a BA in Fine Art.
Prior to joining Delfina Foundation in September 2019, she worked in various London-based art organisations, including a prison arts charity and both commercial and non-profit galleries.
Freelance, Special Projects
Dani Burrows works in a freelance capacity on special projects, including curating The Politics of Food programme, Adapting in 2019. She was formerly Director of Strategy at Delfina Foundation and deputised in the running of the organisation.
Dani joined Delfina Foundation in 2013 and supported the development and delivery of its thematic programmes as well as expansion of the residencies beyond the MENSA region. She was responsible for researching and delivering artistic programmes, in particular The Politics of Food, initiating strategic development and fundraising opportunities, as well as supporting financial and team management.
Dani began her career at Bonhams Auctioneers as a junior specialist in portrait miniatures, before moving to Tate, where she spent six years in the development team, working on capital projects, programme and exhibition fundraising, acquisition committees and finally running the young patrons programme. She has also undertaken a wide variety of freelance work in the UK, Europe and the USA with numerous arts organisations and artists, and as part of May Calil Consultancy. Dani works with Cooking Sections in the role of Director of Care and she sits on the strategic advisory panel of PRAXSIS. Dani holds a BA in History of Art from Bristol University.
Freelance, Associate Curator
Rose Lejeune works in a freelance capacity, specially collaborating with our team to realise our Collecting as Practice theme. She is an experienced curator and consultant with particular expertise in working with multi-disciplinary, performative, and social, process-based practices.
Rose has worked with Delfina Foundation in a freelance capacity since 2017 as the Associate Curator for the Collecting as Practice programme. In her role she has shaped and delivered the programme’s research and public talks on topics including the role of private collectors and the future of museums in the global art world, artistic interventions into collections, and revisionist art histories.
Rose is an experienced curator and consultant with particular expertise in working with multi-disciplinary, performative, and social, process-based practices. Focusing on artist’s commissions, collection research and development, Rose is committed to working across the public and private art worlds to create more sustainable cultural ecosystems. She has built a reputation for programme development and curatorial innovation and in 2020 was named in ArtNet’s Intelligence Report as a “Global Innovator” for her work on expanding collections.
Rose also has substantial experience of institutional planning, public art and pedagogical course design. She is frequently invited to share her expertise through teaching, panels, interviews and writing both in the UK and internationally and has curated projects for arts organisations including Abu Dhabi Art, British Council, Art on the Underground and Serpentine Gallery.