Maria is director of Tate art museums and galleries, and she is on the National Council of the Arts Council England. She was the first women to become a director at the Tate in 2017.

Before the Tate, she was director of culture for Manchester City Council. Other roles include being a director of the Whitworth, an art gallery that is part of University of Manchester, and a director of Manchester City Galleries.

Earlier in her career, Maria was a lecturer in cultural studies at University College Northampton and in 1997, she joined the University of Birmingham as a research fellow and lecturer in visual culture.

She left academia in 2022 to become director of the Creative Partnerships in Birmingham.

In June 2015, Maria was honoured with a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the arts.

Born in Birmingham, Maria gained a Batchelor’s degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Liverpool in 1991. This was followed by a Master’s degree in Critical Theory and a doctorate in African American Visual and Literary Culture at University of Sussex.

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