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BLM Photograper Misan Harriman appointed Chair of Southbank Centre

The Board of Trustees of the Southbank Centre, London’s iconic multi-arts centre, announce the appointment of their new Chair, Misan Harriman. The appointment has been approved by the Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden MP, following the recommendation of the Southbank Centre Board and after consultation with Arts Council England. 

Misan Harriman, said: “We have a great opportunity to project all aspects of the Southbank Centre’s vision and I am hugely excited to be taking up this new post. Working with Elaine, Luke and the team, I’m looking forward to playing my part in the life of an inspiring institution that I have known almost all my life. I believe the incredible mix of arts voices that Southbank Centre offers has never been more important, and has huge potential as we develop a modern, post-lockdown cultural institution, and explore new ways to innovate and bring arts to our communities.

Mr Harriman’s appointment follows a comprehensive search process for a visionary leader with a deep passion for the potential of multi-arts programming, and a proven commitment to the power of culture in bringing diverse communities together. He succeeds Susan Gilchrist, the first female Chair of the Board, who will reach the end of her board term on 1 July. 

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “Misan Harriman joins Southbank Centre at a time of national recovery, when access to the arts is vital. His proven commitment to innovation and to the diverse voices of the UK will be especially valuable to an iconic institution which was conceived as a beacon for culture of all kinds as the nation emerged from the trauma of world war. This is an exciting appointment for Southbank Centre as it welcomes the return of visitors to its concert halls, exhibition spaces and outdoor programme. I also want to pay tribute to the commitmentof the departing Chair, Susan Gilchrist, who has so successfully steered the board over the last five years.

Misan is the founder of What We Seee, a media content, tech and commerce company that inspires millions around the world, and is a highly successful entrepreneur, artist, photographer and social commentator.

Elaine Bedell, CEO of the Southbank Centre, said: “On behalf of everyone at the Southbank Centre, I’d like to thank our outgoing Chair, Susan Gilchrist, for her immense drive and hard work, her dedication and her passion for the Southbank Centre. I’m delighted that Misan – a truly inspirational leader who’s entirely aligned to the vision and values of the Southbank Centre – is following in her footsteps. I look forward to working closely with Misan and Luke, who have the perfect mix of creative and business experience. These appointments come just as we reopen and revitalise our site and, together with support from the Cultural Recovery Fund, mean we can be confident about the next exciting chapter in our history.

The appointment of Board member Luke Mayhew as Deputy Chair, replacing David Kershaw, has also been confirmed. Luke Mayhew has held senior roles in travel and retail, including 13 years as a Director of John Lewis, and has over 15 years’ experience as a Non-Exec Director and Trustee in the not-for-profit sector. 

Susan Gilchrist, said: “The combined knowledge and networks experience of Misan and Luke will bring an exciting new fresh energy to the Southbank Centre, as it enters a new era. I have seen first hand Luke’s exceptional business acumen, and his commitment to the Southbank Centre. Misan’s understanding of contemporary culture and his obvious passion for the breadth of the Southbank Centre’s offer will make them a powerful and dynamic team.” 

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