Press release

Melanie Keen appointed Director of Wellcome Collection

Wellcome announced today that Melanie Keen, currently Director and Chief Curator of Iniva (the Institute of International Visual Arts), has been appointed Director of Wellcome Collection, the free museum and library for the incurably curious in London, UK. She will take up the role in autumn 2019. 


Melanie Keen has been instrumental in the revitalisation of Iniva’s mission and vision, putting the Stuart Hall Library at the centre of its artistic programme. She also led the organisation's relocation to the Chelsea campus of the University of the Arts London.

In a career spanning over twenty years, Melanie has worked as an independent curator and consultant, and as a senior relationship manager at Arts Council England. She is an Independent Advisor to the Government Art Collection, sits on the British Council’s Visual Arts Advisory Group and sat on the Mayor of London’s Suffrage Commission Group in 2018 which saw the commission of an artwork by the first female artist, Gillian Wearing, in Parliament Sq. She was on the Selection Committee for the British Pavilion, Venice Biennial 2019. 

The role of Director was previously held by Simon Chaplin. This was combined with his position as Director of Culture & Society, which he continues to lead with Wellcome Collection as part of its portfolio. 

Melanie Keen said: "Joining Wellcome Collection is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play a key role in transforming a museum and library to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Wellcome Collection really ignites my curiosity - the way the collection is able to convey, through an object, the story of human experience, or even a history of the world. I am truly thrilled to be taking on the role of Director at such an exciting moment in this organisation’s development."

Simon Chaplin, Director, Culture & Society, Wellcome, said: "I am delighted to announce the appointment of Melanie Keen as Wellcome Collection’s new Director. As Director of Iniva she has shown how contemporary art and the Stuart Hall library can drive an ambition to challenge conventions of diversity and difference. Her skills, experience and insight will help us build Wellcome Collection into a world-leading museum and library that challenges how we think and feel about health by connecting science, medicine, life and art."