Birmingham Museums Trust, one of the UK’s largest independent museums trusts, has today announced the appointment of four new trustees to its board, following the release of its ambitious Ten-Year Strategy.
Announced by Chair Ian Grosvenor, the new trustees will work with the other members of the board and the senior management team, to help drive the organisation forwards with expertise in marketing, communications, business development and the arts.
The new appointments include Mohammed Ali MBE, artist and Artistic Director of Soul City Arts, Claire Williamson, Assistant Director of Marketing and Development at London Transport Museum, John Diviney, Director and Communications Consultant at Brunswick Arts and Luke Southall, Managing Director at Oaks Consultancy.
The news comes at a time when Birmingham Museums is planning for the major redevelopment of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG), which will see Birmingham’s great collection reimagined for its young, diverse audiences.
Alongside the redevelopment plans for BMAG, the first stage of the plans includes creating a new store and cultural hub in the east of the city. The proposed facility would house the city’s world-class museum collection and will become the headquarters for Birmingham Museums’ back office, curatorial, conservation and technical teams.
Under these plans the Trust’s aim is to offer a completely new type of cultural proposition, combining heritage, visual arts and performing arts with community engagement and skills development.
Dr Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Since we became a charity in 2012, Birmingham Museums has made huge progress. Exciting programming like Dippy the Dinosaur is attracting more, and more diverse audiences, and we are finding new ways to generate income. We look forward to working with the new board members as we build on this success for the future.
“The four new Trustees bring a wealth of knowledge and skills which will be invaluable for us at this time, bringing with them fresh ideas and a passion to help us realise our aims of making this world-class collection more accessible than ever.”
Professor Ian Grosvenor, Chair of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “The new board members bring strategic expertise from across the region and nationally at a crucial time for the Trust, as it works towards major transformational plans. I look forward to working with them all to bring to life our vision and future strategy for Birmingham Museums.”
Birmingham Museums Trust manages the city’s collection and venues on behalf of Birmingham City Council. Attracting over one million visits a year, the Trust’s venues also include Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collection Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum and Weoley Castle.
The appointments will be officially noted at an upcoming board meeting in July.
Mohammed Ali MBE
Mohammed Ali is an award-winning artist, curator and producer. He has been commissioned to work internationally with leading galleries, festivals, arts centres and theatres to produce large scale murals in open spaces in the communities where people work, live and play.
As an artist Mohammed is passionate about sharing and presenting untold stories. He works collaboratively with communities to create unique and immersive arts experiences that inspire and engage people to experience and connect with art.
Mohammed is the founder of Soul City Arts, a leading independent arts organisation based in Birmingham that has worked with artists, academics and activists from around the world to commission and present innovative exhibitions, performances and digital installations. He has worked extensively in places like Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, New York and South Africa.
Most recently Mohammed has embarked on an ambitious project to tell the story of the Bangladeshi pioneers of Britain’s historic curry house trade. The Knights of the Raj is a unique insight into the lives of people like his father who helped pioneer the curry house trade that has transformed Britain’s culinary tastes. The exhibition debuted at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in 2017 to critical acclaim. A follow up arts installation premiers at the Museum of Food and Drink in New York in 2018.
Mohammed said of his appointment, “Birmingham is at a crucial point, with so much change and development. Birmingham Museums can be at the heart of all of this change, using its wonderful spaces to truly connect and engage new audiences. I'm at a point in my journey that I feel excited about developing a real strategic change, to embrace a new Birmingham.”
Claire Williamson was born in Birmingham, and is Assistant Director, Marketing and Development at London Transport Museum (LTM).
She is a museum professional who has helped LTM to grow its visitor numbers and develop a diverse range of income streams through marketing, communications, fundraising, digital, venue hire, research and catering.
She’s been involved in a number of important site launches, including Eltham Palace for English Heritage, the opening of the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough, and a major redevelopment of LTM’s main site in London’s Covent Garden.
Claire established Interchange at London Transport Museum, a centre for transport ideas, bringing together industry, government, and academia in an ongoing programme of debates, briefings, and publications. A passion for culture, education and supporting the next generation has driven her career. Claire is a keen volunteer and was recently a Trustee of Kidscape, a national charity dedicated to young people and the prevention of bullying.
Luke is the Managing Director of Oaks Consultancy, an award-winning agency that helps socially-minded organisations to raise their game by growing and diversifying income streams, developing and implementing robust business plans and shaping organisational strategy.
He is a director of the GBSLEP Employment and Skills board and until recently was the Chairman of Birmingham Sports and Education Foundation, a charity he co-founded in 2012. In 2017 the Sport Industry Group and Barclays recognised his work by naming him as a ‘NextGen Leader in Sport’.
Luke is a proud, born-and-bred Brummie and is passionate about the city’s rich and vibrant cultural heritage. He will help the Trust to build a more sustainable business, enabling Birmingham Museums to deliver an even more inspiring, enjoyable and inclusive experience to the people of Birmingham and beyond.
Luke said of his appointment: “I am thrilled and honoured to be joining the Trust at such an exciting time for the organisation. Birmingham is thriving. It is one of the most creative, energised and diverse cities in Europe right now and BMT can be at the heart of its continued prosperity: reflecting Birmingham to the world, and the world to Birmingham.”
John Diviney is a Director at Brunswick Arts, an international cultural communications consultancy.
He advises arts organisations, and the individuals, businesses and bodies which engage with them. He has worked with clients including The British Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Christie's.