South West Area Council

Meet the members of our South West Area Council.


Chair of Arts Council England South West Area Council

Sheila Healy is Chair of the South West Area Council.

She was Chief Executive of Cornwall Council and of Shropshire Council, Regional Director, Government Office for the West Midlands and a Director at IDEA (Local Government and Improvement Agency).

Her background is in regeneration, economic development, performance improvement and change management.

She served on the MLA Leading Museums group and a National Review of Libraries. As Chief Executive of City Challenge she played a key role in the development of the New Walsall Art Gallery. She was vice chair of the Ikon gallery in Birmingham, chair of Audiences Central and a trustee of Kneehigh theatre group.

Sheila now works as an independent advisor. She is Chair of The Audience Agency,  a member of the Tate St Ives Advisory Council, a trustee of the arts producers Situations and a member of the HEFCE Catalyst Fund panel which targets investment to universities and colleges for innovation in learning.

Term of appointment: 4 January 2010 – September 2017 (reappointed April 2013)


Councillor on Exeter City Council
Exeter City Council

Rosie Denham moved to Exeter after studying Law and then International Development at the University of Bristol. She has been a councillor on Exeter City Council since 2011 and is currently Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture. In that role she leads on a broad range of areas including economic development, business support, tourism and leisure facilities as well as museums, heritage and arts.

She runs a Devon-based British Sign Language training company, having previously worked for Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.


Cabinet Member, Cornwall Council
Cornwall Council

Cllr Julian German became a Cabinet Member at Cornwall Council in 2013. He is portfolio holder for the Arts, Cornish Language, Creative Industries and Museums, Archives and Records.


Chair of Ujima Radio CIC
Ujima Radio CIC

Roger Griffith is Chair of Ujima Radio CIC, a Bristol community radio station and social enterprise that aims to give a voice and media opportunities to socially disadvantaged members of Bristol.


Diverse City CEO
Diverse City

Claire Hodgson has worked for twenty years as a theatre director, academic, and creative producer. She has been head of performing arts at London Metropolitan University and Coleg Harlech , North Wales. An expert in diversity and inclusion she sets up innovative projects in participatory arts. She was a Clore Fellow 2011/12. She writes regularly for Guardian Culture professionals. Claire founded her own organisation Diverse City in 2006 of which she remains the CEO. Diverse City produced Breathe - a show with a cast of 64 young disabled people from the UK and Brazil that opened the Olympic sailing events to an audience of 11,000 as part of Battle for the Winds


Director of PIP Creatives
PIP Creatives

Pippa Jones is Director of PIP Creatives, a creative industries consultancy with a specialism in collaboration. She is currently leader of Create Gloucestershire, a grass-roots network of artists, producers, venues and festivals exploring new ways to think, do and fund the arts. Other projects include developing with the Watershed a new consortium to grow audiences for specialised film funded by the BFI. Pippa was formerly CEO of the Kingswood Foundation (now the Creative Youth Network) in Bristol after holding senior posts in housing and regeneration.


Director of Spike Island
Spike Island

Helen Legg was appointed Director of Spike Island in September 2010 and has since led a programme of organisational development and a programme focused on giving critically timed opportunities to emerging artists.


Director of Asian Arts Agency
Asian Arts Agency

Jaswinder Singh has worked extensively in arts and culture within the UK and internationally. From creative arts programming and strategic thinking, to mentoring and artistic development, commissioning, community projects, festival development, national touring, cultural conferences, and managing complex partnerships and consortiums, he has a wealth of experience and dynamic skills to help achieve outstanding results in the creative arts sector.

He is currently Director of Asian Arts Agency, a dynamic arts development based in Bristol. The Agency develops, produces and commission contemporary and international South Asian arts in the UK. Under his leadership the Agency has delivered more then 200 events reaching to 200,000 plus audiences. Jaswinder is Area Council member for Arts Council England SW, a steering group member of "Routes South West" regional music development agency and has worked with many other strategic bodies including Cultural Leadership Programme, LEP's and local authorities. He is committed to bring a diverse range of artists and audiences together through arts and heritage.


Director & Chief Executive of the ss Great Britain Trust
ss Great Britain Trust

Matthew Tanner has worked in the museum and heritage sectors for 20 years. He was appointed as Director & Chief Executive of the ss Great Britain Trust in 2000 in order to create the vision and deliver the conservation of Brunel's ss Great Britain, and he led the team that delivered the £13m conservation and regeneration project.

He is Chairman of the Association of Independent Museums, and has advised on many other museum projects, and is a Non-Exec Director of Destination Bristol. He is particularly interested in music, plays the clarinet, and serves as a trustee for St Georges Trust, Bristol. Matthew was honoured with the MBE in the 2007 New Year Honours List for his work in the heritage sector.


Executive Director of Activate Performing Arts
Activate Performing Arts

Kate Wood is the Executive Director of Activate Performing Arts, the organisation that produces, promotes and develops dance, theatre and outdoor arts across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

Kate has managed Activate for over eight years, as it moved from a dance agency to take on theatre and outdoor arts, managing a wide portfolio of development work ranging from dance and health, youth programmes, inclusive arts practice; support to artists, promoters and producers.

Kate is currently a Board member of Quest, the new organisation focused on developing outdoor arts in the SW region, as well as Chair of the Dorset Theatre Promoters Consortium. She is also involved in regional developments in dance and theatre through the networks: Pavilion Dance South West and Theatre South West and was one of the founding Board Members of the Regional Infrastructure for Social Enterprise (RISE) and Creative Dorset, part of Dorset Loves Arts.


Artistic Director of Prime Theatre
Prime Theatre

Mark Powell is Artistic Director of Prime Theatre, making both professional and youth theatre productions for, by and with children and young people as well as leading Artsmad, Swindon’s Cultural Education Partnership. Mark is the International Representative and Vice Chair for Theatre for Young Audiences: UK. As an Incubator Artist at The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath, Mark wrote the book and lyrics for ‘The Teacup Poisoner’. A school governor for both secondary and primary, Mark has also been a Trustee and Chair for several arts and education charities. Mark was previously Associate Director at Salisbury Playhouse where he led the education department. He is an Arts Award Adviser at all levels. 


Leader of the Liberal Democrats on North Somerset Council
North Somerset Council

Mike Bell is a councillor on North Somerset Council, a unitary authority, and was first elected in 2001. He is currently Leader of an opposition group and was previously the cabinet member for finance and performance. He is Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board. Mike works for the Royal National Institute of Blind People as a campaigns officer and has previously worked in politics and publishing. 


Cabinet member for Culture & Leisure at Gloucester City Council
Gloucester City Council

Lise Noakes is the cabinet member for Culture & Leisure at Gloucester City Council, a role she took up in May 2015 when it was first created to move things forward in Gloucester.  She is in her 17th year as an elected member and is a former Mayor and Sheriff of Gloucester as well as having a great deal of experience in other areas.

An IT Project Manager by profession, Lise now works just 2 days a week to concentrate on moving Gloucester towards City of Culture 2025.  She loves the role as she has a passion for Art and Culture; the benefits it can deliver as well as the enjoyment it gives.


Ward Councillor and Cabinet member for Tourism Leisure and the Arts on Bournemouth Council
Bournemouth Borough Council

Lawrence Williams is Ward Councillor and Cabinet member for Tourism Leisure and the Arts on Bournemouth Council, also, a school governor and Director of the Bournemouth Coastal BID.

After a 20 year career in Broadcasting worked in a Regional Advertising Agency for 16 years as a main board Director setting up and running a successful broadcast department, in 2000 opened and still runs a local agency in Bournemouth with Arts very much in the centre of the business.


Lead Artist for Chapel Arts Studios
Chapel Arts Studios

David is a nationally exhibiting artist, educator and project manager. He speaks at conferences, and teaches at all educational levels from primary to university. He has been the Lead Artist and Programme Coordinator of Andover’s Chapel Arts Studios since their launch in 2009 and has developed CAS into a research-driven visual-arts organisation with a strong education programme and a focus on artist development and collaboration. 

He is an advocate of accessibility, openness and all things that help to generate a dynamic and diverse interaction between artists and the community. More recently, he is involved in developing local cultural policy though his membership of the North Hants Cultural Education Partnership and the Hampshire Cultural Trust’s strategic cultural partnership exploratory group. 

Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Roll Over Beethoven at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch. Photo © Mark Sepple / Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch. 2. Maudits Sonnants by Transe Express Company at Birmingham Weekender 2015. Photo © Andrew Fox / Birmingham Weekender. 3. The Jubilee Sweetshop at Beamish. Photo © Beamish Museum. 4. New Wolsey Theatre's Feed the Beast by Steve Thompson. Photo © Patrick Baldwin / New Wolsey Theatre.