Gateshead arts centre recruits Byers

Gateshead's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art has revamped its top PR role.

The former head of comms job has been relabelled director of comms. Development agency One NorthEast's programme manager, Claire Byers, is to fill the ­vacancy in January.

‘We want to be more strategically driven rather than having a PR person just involved in day-to-day nuts and bolts,' said director of finance and resources Andrew Lovett.

Leading a team of two, Byers effectively replaces head of comms Jo Wilson, who left for personal reasons in the summer. She leaves the regional development agency after more than six years.

The Baltic Centre opened in 2002 after a £50m development of a River Tyne flour mill in Gateshead. It is the largest arts centre without a permanent exhibition in the world.

‘The centre plays a major part in promoting the region domestically and internationally,' said Byers.

The venue attracted international media attention last year when it helped US artist Spencer Tunick to photograph hundreds of locals in the nude (PRWeek, 23 July 2005).

SEPERATELY... Gateshead College has appointed local agency Mitchell Halton Watson to handle PR. A focus of the ­account is the construction of the college's £37m Baltic Campus, which is due to open in 2008.

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