Jude Kelly.

Artistic Director of London’s Southbank Center Steps Down

After twelve years as artistic director of the Southbank Center, a cultural complex on the south bank of the Thames river in London, Jude Kelly has announced that she will step down in order to focus on expanding the Women of the World festival, a UK-based event that celebrates the achievements of women, which she founded in 2010.

Kelly first joined Southbank Center in 2006. During her tenure, she organized a program that includes annual festivals such as Alchemy, which recognizes the art and culture of South Asia, and Africa Utopia, which presents African art. Jude was awarded a CBE in 2015 for services to the arts and has received seventeen honorary doctorates in recognition of her work promoting access to culture. She was bestowed the title of Knighthood of the Order of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark for promoting Danish culture after she spearheaded the Southbank’s yearlong Nordic Matters festival.

“It is difficult to imagine a more stimulating and enjoyable time than the twelve years I’ve spent here—and I shall miss it terribly,” Kelly said in a statement. “With the Southbank Center in excellent hands, now is the perfect time for me to move on.” Chief executive Elaine Bedell, director of music Gillian Moore, and director of the Hayward Gallery Ralph Rugoff will be charged with running the center’s artistic program until a new artistic director is appointed.