Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

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Meet the New Arts Council Members Appointed by Welsh Government

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The Arts Council of Wales (ACW) is the voice of the arts in Wales and uses public funds to create opportunities for people to enjoy and take part in the arts.

Funded largely by the Welsh Government – but also a National Lottery distributing body and a registered charity – ACW aims to encourage active participation in the arts, and for high quality cultural experiences to be available to all people, irrespective of where they live or their background.

Council Members fulfil an important role in supporting a dynamic and creative arts sector. Collectively they are responsible for ensuring the effective and proper investment of Welsh Government and Lottery funding.

Council members are also responsible for:

  • setting the strategic direction for the Arts Council
  • developing, implementing and monitoring arts policy
  • agreeing the Corporate and Operational Plans
  • setting the annual budget
  • annual allocation of grants to revenue funded organisations
  • ensuring that the Arts Council manages its affairs effectively and accountably

Alison Mears

Alison has over 20 years’ experience in music education in both the school and conservatoire sectors. Currently she is Director of Guildhall Young Artists and Safeguarding at Guildhall School of Music & Drama with responsibility for all the specialist training at under 18 level in Music, Drama and Production Arts. This includes Junior Guildhall, Centre for Young Musicians in London and 4 Regional Centres and the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. Prior to this she has held other management posts at Guildhall School including Head of Junior Guildhall and was made a Fellow of Guildhall School in 2017.

In Wales, Alison was Joint Artistic Director of the Lower Machen Festival involved in all matters artistic and operational taking the Festival to its 50th Anniversary year in 2017. She taught at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Junior Department and worked in a freelance capacity in many arts organisations in Cardiff. She was also a member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales for 10 years.

Devinda De Silva

Devinda has over 20 years’ experience working within the field of social change. He has worked in partnership with communities across Wales and internationally, focusing on the arts and its ability to address inequality, and to encourage greater and more meaningful participation.

He is one of National Theatre Wales’ founding members. As its Head of Collaboration, he has led the creation and development of the TEAM programme – the company’s pioneering approach to engagement.

He currently holds advisory positions at the Baring Foundation and Cardiff and Vale College.

Gwennan Mair Jones

Gwennan Mair is the Director of Creative Engagement at Theatr Clwyd where she has been in post for two years leading a core team of 7 as well as numerous freelancers from across North Wales and beyond. Gwennan’s passion for community arts and engagement came at a young age growing up in rural Llan Ffestiniog on her parent’s farm. At 18 she gained a place to study Community Drama at LIPA (Liverpool Institution of Performing Arts) This led to her return to North Wales as part of Anglesey based theatre company Frân Wen. Through her time at Frân Wen, Gwennan made huge strides to bring theatre to the community through her first language, Welsh. She continues to drive this passion at Theatr Clwyd, increasing their delivery of the Welsh language within intergenerational workshops and community engagement and supporting the next generation of Welsh facilitators. Community and accessibility is the heart of all of Gwennan’s work and how, through Art we can provide the opportunity for change with community.

Lhosa Daly

Lhosa is the National Trust’s Assistant Director of Operations for South Wales. She was formerly Executive Director of Spike Island, a creative hub in Bristol.

At Spike Island, she had overall responsibility for operations, commercial activity, visitor services, finance and fundraising.

Prior to Spike, Lhosa was Head of Development at Turner Contemporary, Margate.

Lhosa is the Chair of the Institute of Directors in Bristol; Vice Chair, Creative and Digital for the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership; Trustee of Avon & Bristol Law Centre and a South West representative for Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education.

Lhosa is qualified as a lawyer in both the UK and New York. She originally studied Law at Manchester University before working for some of the world’s largest professional service organisations. These include: Andersen Legal, Manchester; Herbert Smith, London; Ernst & Young, New York and since returning to the UK, KPMG and Ernst & Young in Bristol.

Sarah Younan

Sarah was born in Germany, raised in Kenya and worked in art restoration, theatre and stage design in Germany, France and the Netherlands. She moved to Wales in 2009 to study ceramics. Thanks to an AHRC doctoral studentship Sarah graduated with a PhD from Cardiff School of Art and Design in 2015. Her research focused on the use of digitised heritage collections from museums as creative, educational and open culture resources.

Sarah has exhibited art in the UK and internationally and worked in the museum sector in France and Turkey. She is passionate about creating opportunities through culture and currently works as Youth Engagement Coordinator

Tudur Hallam

Professor Tudur Hallam is Chair of Welsh at Swansea University where he has twenty years’ experience as a lecturer and researcher. He is an academic author and poet. In 2010, he won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod and this year will publish a volume of poems. He has published widely on Welsh literature and theatre and on the relationship of Welsh and English in Wales, including a commissioned piece on Dylan Thomas and Saunders Lewis for the British Academy. He recently joined the University of Houston as a Research Visiting Professor, developing comparative work in biculturalism, thanks to a fellowship by the Fulbright Commission. He is from Carmarthenshire and lives there with his family. Locally he is a school governor and a youth football coach in the Gwendraeth Valley.

Victoria Provis

A native of Cardiff, Victoria studied at Atlantic College before moving abroad to take a BA (Hons) in Economics at the University of British Columbia and an MBA at INSEAD in France. Following a career spanning corporate communications (Burson-Marsteller), strategic consulting (McKinsey & Company) and executive search (Odgers Berndtson, London and Cardiff), Victoria has more recently developed a portfolio of non-executive roles. These include terms as a Member of Glas Cymru, Board member of the Wales Tourism Advisory Board and Trustee of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (2010-March 2019) where she also chaired the Museum’s Development Board throughout the period of the highly successful St Fagans redevelopment project. She is currently a Council Member of the University of Wales TSD.

Lord Elis-Thomas said:

I’m very pleased to see such a diverse range of appointees all of whom have vast experience of the arts sector. Diversity and inclusion on panels and councils is not just the right thing to do but is important to the business agenda. Organisations are at their best when there is a diversity of culture, thinking and perspective.

With a working knowledge of the current challenges facing arts organisations, ACW and those working in the arts, I’m confident these individuals possess the ability to think creatively about how these issues can be addressed.

Arts Council Wales Chair Phil George added:

As a public body, Arts Council of Wales has a desire and responsibility to make arts experiences available all across the diverse communities of Wales. Our new Council members have been chosen because they bring vision, experience and powerful skills sets to realising that ambition. They have a strong grasp of what it takes to make the arts truly available to people across the land.

I am excited at the contribution and challenges they will bring to the Council table.