John Baldacchino to lead Arts Institute

June 23, 2016 By John Lucas

John Baldacchino has been selected as director of the Arts Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

He comes to the UW from the University of Dundee in Scotland, where he held a professorial chair of arts education at the School of Education & Social Work. He expects to begin in his new role in August.

John Baldacchino

John Baldacchino

“It is a great honor to accept the director position at the Arts Institute,” Baldacchino says. “The University of Wisconsin has a worldwide reputation for excellence in the arts.”

He adds: “I hope to build upon that legacy of excellence, and I hope that the institute continues to herald the Wisconsin Idea, where I see the arts as a community of diverse and dynamic practices which herald the vibrant character of a democratic space by which academia continues to embrace the wider civil society and the communities that sustain it.”

“John’s academic background as well as his arts experience are valuable additions to our campus and we look forward to having him join us,” UW–Madison Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf says. “I want to thank the search committee for their outstanding work.”

Prior to the University of Dundee, Baldacchino served as faculty and held various senior roles at universities in Great Britain and the United States.

He served in the School of Art and Design at Falmouth University in England, where he was associate dean of teaching, learning and student experience and then associate dean of graduate studies; and at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York, where he was associate professor of art and art education.

He began his career at the University of Warwick in England, where he started his academic career as assistant professor of art and arts education under the mentorships of cultural theorist Fred Inglis and arts education guru Sir Ken Robinson, who hired him in the Department of Arts Education. Baldacchino was born and raised in Malta.

Working with numerous faculty and staff in a wide range of departments and fields, the institute generates conditions for bold thinking and groundbreaking creative work.

A practicing visual artist, Baldacchino is the author of numerous papers, articles, chapters, blogs and 10 books on the arts, philosophy and education. His artistic and academic work can be found at http://www.johnbaldacchino.com.

Baldacchino, who will report to the provost, will coordinate and direct activities of the Arts Institute and will have primary responsibility for overseeing budgets, programming, operations, personnel, facilities, marketing, development, community relations and strategic planning.

He was among three finalists selected by a 13-member committee chaired by School of Human Ecology Professor Jennifer Angus.

The Arts Institute, described as the voice of the arts at the university, supports and promotes a variety of programs and initiatives, both its own and those of partners. Working with numerous faculty and staff in a wide range of departments and fields, the institute generates conditions for bold thinking and groundbreaking creative work. Approximately 85 faculty members from across the university are affiliated with the institute.

Norma Saldivar, professor of theatre and drama, previously served as interim director.