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Darren
Henley

Chief Executive
Arts Council England

Darren Henley is Chief Executive of the Arts Council.

He previously spent twenty-five years working in radio, leading Classic FM for fifteen years, first as Managing Editor and then as Managing Director. He was appointed an OBE in 2013 for services to music.

Darren has chaired or sat on a range of government advisory boards in the area of cultural education. His two independent government reviews into music education (2011) and cultural education (2012) resulted in the creation of England’s first National Plan for Music Education, new networks of Music Education Hubs and Heritage Schools, the Museums and Schools programme, the BFI Film Academy and the National Youth Dance Company.

He is the author or co-author of thirty books, including 'The Virtuous Circle: Why Creativity and Cultural Education Count'. It argues that an excellent cultural education is the right of everyone, bringing personal, social and commercial advantages that can only benefit the lives of all individuals in our society. In 2016, Darren's most recent most recent book was published. 'The Arts Dividend: Why Investment in Culture Pays' looks in depth at seven key benefits that art and culture bring to our lives.

Darren joined the Arts Council in 2015.