Frances Morris

This article was previously published in the special edition, ALUMNAE (December 2018).


MA 1983


Tate Modern is definitively one of the most popular art museums in the world, and Frances Morris has been fundamentally involved in its development since its opening in 2000. Joining Tate as a curator in 1987, she was promoted to be the inaugural Head of Displays at Tate Modern, later Head of International Collections, a post she held for a decade – until her appointment as Director in 2016. She is not only the first woman to lead Tate Modern, but also the first Tate ‘insider’ to rise to this position, as previous directors have been brought in from the glittering European art scene.


Morris is responsible for the non-chronological style of Tate Modern’s hanging, a radical and controversial strategy when first introduced in 2000, it has now become a popular system of display in galleries and museums world-wide. Her Bankside ‘cathedral’ to the modern and contemporary now receives an average of 5.8 million visitors a year and has played a major role in making art more accessible to diverse audiences from near and far.