Ekow Eshun

Artistic director of the ICA, London.

Ekow Eshun is the Artistic Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. One of Britain’s leading cultural commentators and an award-winning broadcaster he appears regularly on BBC 2’s Newsnight Review and is a contributor to publications including The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, Vogue and New Statesman.Eshun has presented several documentaries for TV including Living on the Line, Channel 4, winner of the One World Broadcasting Trust Media award for Best Documentary, 2001; Design For Life, BBC4, 2004; TV Africa, BBC4, 2005. His views on the arts and British culture are widely sought and he has appeared on numerous TV and radio programmes including The Daily Politics (BBC Two), Channel 4 News, This Week (BBC One), The Today Programme (BBC Radio Four); Broadcasting House (BBC Radio Four) and Front Row (BBC Radio Four). Appointed as Artistic Director of the ICA in 2005, he has so far presided over a 27% rise in audience numbers at the ICA, from 351, 488 in 2005/6 to 447, 846 in 2006/7 – an increase of 96,358 visitors. Eshun was the Editor of Arena magazine from 1996-99, becoming at the time the youngest ever editor of a men’s magazine when he took up the post at the age of 28. Prior to that position, he was Assistant Editor of The Face magazine.  In 1999 he was nominated for Editor of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editor awards.He is the author of the memoir Black Gold of the Sun: Searching for home in Africa and England (Penguin, 2005). Described by the Independent as ‘outrageously brave, honest and moving’ it was nominated for the Orwell Prize for political writing in 2006. Eshun was awarded an honorary doctorate by London Metropolitan University for services to the arts in 2006. In 2007 he was named one of the 50 most influential black people in Britain by the New Nation newspaper and also ranked 6th in the 50 most powerful black people in the media by The Guardian.  Eshun is a governor of University of the Arts, London and also sits on the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group for Trafalgar Square and the Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum for the London Olympics.  He holds a BSc in Politics and History from the London School of Economics and was born in London in 1968. 

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