Stephen Snoddy was born in Belfast, N. Ireland in 1959. He trained as an artist at Belfast College of Art where he graduated in 1983 with an MA in Fine Art. He moved to Bristol in 1987 to Arnolfini Gallery where he worked from 1987-91 on an exhibitions programme that included Richard Long, Giuseppe Penone, Gillian Ayres, Rachel Whiteread, Jack B. Yeats and Juan Munoz.
In 1991 he became Exhibitions Director of Cornerhouse, Manchester, where he was responsible for bringing The British Art Show 4 to Manchester, as well as such shows as Annettte Messager, John Baldessari Retrospective, a Bruce McLean film commission, Edward Allington and Jochen Gerz exhibitions. In 1996 he moved to become Director of Southampton City Art Gallery, where he organised the 1998 Chris Ofili solo exhibition which won Chris Ofili the 1998 Turner Prize, and an exchange of collections with the Museum of Fine Art, Bilbao, to coincide with the opening of the new Bilbao Guggenheim.
In the spring of 1998 he moved to Milton Keynes to direct the construction of a brand new gallery as part of the £30 million Theatre and Gallery complex. Milton Keynes Gallery (MK G) opened on 8 October 1999 with ‘The Rudimentary Pictures’, by Gilbert & George. In 2003 he was appointed Director, BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art, Gateshead made organisational and structural changes, refreshed the programme and engaged with artists of the region and in 2005 he was also Director of the inaugural Contemporary Art Norwich (CAN05).
In May 2005 he was appointed as Director of The New Art Gallery, Walsall where he has reviewed policies, restructured the organisation, enabled an acquisitions budget and increased visitor figures annually since 2007.
In 2011 he was Director of the inaugural Look11, Liverpool International Festival of Photography.