Matthew is based in North East England, and works across the UK, Europe and China on arts commissioning, curatorial projects and cultural policy.

Matthew spent 15 years at Arts Council England as a creative broker helping to shape the North East culture led regeneration, developing many new arts buildings and artist’s commissions across the region.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Cultural Strategy: Matthew has worked at a senior level for the Arts Council of England (1998 to 2012) and has led on city arts strategies, major capital projects and funding/project development at with the private sector, local authorities, universities, politicians and cultural leaders in addition to representing the North East cultural sector on secondment in Brussels during 2008/10. Recent strategy projects included a survey of national library services for The Word building, South Tyneside, a cultural strategy for County Durham and a cultural review of Sunderland which lead to their City of Culture bid.                                          

Matthew is currently developing the Arts Strategy and residency programme for Parabola’s 10 year development of Edinburgh Park including the siting of major works by Paolozzi, Armitage, and a new building by David Mach together with a curated residency programme for young photographers and poets.

Academic Position: Visiting Professor of Professional Practice

In 2018 Newcastle University invited Matthew to undertake an action research project to develop proposals which would increase the visibility of the universities international partnerships across the arts, architecture, digital and music faculties. Matthew has devised a programme of exhibitions and international collaborations to showcase cultural research between Newcastle and its partners in Singapore, Malaysia China and Japan.


Recent Lecturing / talks / events:

·        Lotus Mountain Earth Art, Changchun, China                                                                                                                                                                 

·        Exploring Modern Scottish Sculpture, Marchmont House, Scotland

·        Talks at Xiamen University, Hong Kong Baptist University

·        Thinking International, Durham

·        Newcastle University

Public Art Commissioning: Matthew has a longstanding expertise in managing over 100 arts commissions worth over £15m within public and private sector developments, including £1.5m of new sculpture throughout the development of Newcastle’s Grainger Town Regeneration, working with Lisson Gallery at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 and currently working on a range of artists commissions within new buildings and public spaces across the UK and in China. Projects are always developed to be site specific to the local area and can range from small or temporary projects through to very large scale works such as the giant Temenos sculpture by Anish Kapoor in Teesside which Matthew managed and curated in 2010.                                                                  
Since 2014 Matthew has developed and delivered a number of successful sculpture and poetry commissions within new developments by Alumno and is currently working with Unesco Norwich, Scottish Poetry Library, S1 Artists in Sheffield on new architectural commissions for poets within new buildings.

Cheeseburn Sculpture: In 2013 Matthew developed a partnership with Joanna Riddell to create Cheeseburn Sculpture -a new sculpture park and gallery within her historic estate near Stamfordham in Northumberland. Matthew now curates the work of over 30 sculptors at Cheeseburn, including 3 gallery shows per year and annual mentoring for 10 young North East sculptors which  has been won by Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland University graduates. Cheeseburn has now established a significant summer programme welcoming over 6000 visitors across 6 weekends, with over 60 works on display with Matthew also curating dance interventions, and sound installations in the garden www.cheeseburn.com  


China:  Since 2013 Matthew has worked regularly in China curating exhibitions, advising on regional development, developing artists projects and brokering opportunities between Chinese and international artists. In 2015 Matthew curated a project by Xiang Yiang which saw the artist sail a sculptural ‘boat’ along the river Thames and exhibit it in St Katherine’s Dock, London. Matthew’s most recent curatorial project enabled him to take video works by Newcastle Professor Wolfgang Weileder to the China Western Biennale in Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia.    Matthew’s work in China has spanned judging Art Nova 100 which supports 100 young Chinese artists though to curating solo exhibitions at prestigious venues such as Today Art Museum, Beijing, or organising the public sculpture at Art Beijing. In autumn 2019 Matthew was appointed as an Associate Professor with Newcastle University to develop closer links through arts and culture between Newcastle and China/EastAsia.   http://matthewjarratt.com/cn/current                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


North East Culture Partnership:  In 2013 Matthew became the first manager of  NECP which is supported by all 12 local authorities, 5 universities, Chamber of Commerce and the arts and heritage venues in the North East to provide a coherent and strategic voice for the regions cultural sector. Matthew wrote the brief and managed the development for the North East’s 15 year ‘Case for Culture’ vision www.case4culture.org.uk which was launched at the Houses of Parliament and cited in the 2016 DCMS White Paper as a national model of good practice in cultural policy. Matthew worked with Eric Cross and the NECP Universities Sub-Group to initiate the £3m Creative Fuse project in 2016.


Board membership has included the Royal Society of British Sculptors and currently Theatre Hullabuloo (childrens theatre) and, Land of Oak and Iron (Heritage Lottery funded).



Matthew has lived in the North East since 1985, he was awarded a First at Sunderland University Fine Art in 1987 and  a Masters in Fine Art at Northumbria University in 1990 and worked as an artist and lecturer until 1998 when he joined Northern Arts/Arts Council England. Matthew now manages the North East Culture Partnership and works across the UK and internationally as a cultural consultant and arts curator.