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The skills and specialist knowledge our new team brings to the south east region

  • Date: 11 November 2010
  • Area: National, South East
World Premiere at Brighton Festival, Political Mother, Hofesh Shechter, 2010

World Premiere at Brighton Festival, Political Mother, Hofesh Shechter, 2010. Credit: Photo: Gabriele Zucca

Since 1 April, when the Arts Council unveiled its new structure, we have been busy recruiting new staff, and we're pleased to announce that we now have a full team in place.

New members of staff include 11 new relationship managers, two new senior managers, and three new assistants - taking the team to a total of 30.

A key feature of our new structure was the introduction of specialist relationship managers. These are people who can draw on their key areas of expertise to develop our relationship with regularly funded organisations, local authorities and external partners.

We now have a carefully planned spread of arts specialists in the region, each bringing a wealth of expertise across all of the artforms and skilled in developing strong partnerships.

We spoke to a few of them to hear about their background and aspirations for their roles.

Clare McGread, Visual Arts Relationship Manager, has worked in arts and culture for almost 15 years. Most recently, she was responsible for policy and programme development and public affairs at Museums, Libraries & Archives and Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

Clare says: 'I'm very happy to be back at the Arts Council. It's also great to be working in visual arts again, supporting organisations and individuals to deliver great art and become more sustainable.'

Vidya Thirunarayan, Combined Arts & Touring Relationship Manager, has 20 years of experience in the arts sector, reflecting her broad and eclectic interests. She was the founder Artistic Director of Sankalpam, a national touring company, and has worked as a choreographer, performer, tutor, board member, mentor, and advisor.

Stephanie Allen, Visual Arts Relationship Manager, has 10 years experience working in museums and galleries, and she's spent the last three and a half years working closely with artists on producing cross arts collaborative work.

Stephanie says: 'Collaboration is at the heart of what I do, and I am really looking forward to seeing what brilliant things we can achieve together.'

Claire Toogood, Learning Relationship Manager, has worked in museum and gallery learning for organisations such as Tate, Slough Museum and Creative Partnerships. In her most recent role, she led the learning team at Arts Council England regularly funded organisation Building Exploratory, an architecture organisation in Hackney specialising in exhibition-based learning and community engagement work. 

Jon Linstrum, Combined Arts Relationship Manager, has spent the last few years putting on outdoor performance and art installation work in public spaces, town centres, city parks, disused buildings, fields and hillsides, and rivers and lakes.

Jon says, 'Career highlights to date include being Production Manager for Sticky, Improbable Theatre's large scale outdoor show created by Julian Crouch, and for Shockheaded Peter also created by Julian Crouch, with Phelim McDermott, both of which toured all over the world.'

Loubna Khamlichi, Relationship Manager, Diversity in Arts Practice (job share) has worked in diversity, arts and media for a number of years - delivering projects for BBC Roots, BBC Blast, Sound Connections, Headliners, Mimbre, Circus Media and Rosa.

'As an artist I've benefited hugely from Arts Council initiatives and projects - I'm delighted to now be in a position to support artists and arts organisations to do the same.'

Mairead Turner, Senior Manager, Corporate Planning (job share) works two days a week for the Arts Council and is a freelance coach, consultant and producer. She has 17 years of experience of working in the arts sector. Past roles include Chief Executive of Arts Council England regularly funded organisation South East Dance and working in the Arts Council's Yorkshire office.

Later this year we will be welcoming Jayne Tyler, who will be joining us as the new Funding Programmes Senior Manager. She replaces Liz Gilmore, who has taken up a job as Director of the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.

Jayne Tyler is currently the Regional Manager of Museums Libraries and Archives in Yorkshire/Humberside. She has worked at Hull City Council, Brighton Museum and Hull Museums and Art Gallery.