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Changing Faces: 2021 new appointments across the arts shaping a more diverse landscape

Changing Faces: 2021 new appointments across the arts shaping a more diverse landscape

2021 has seen a big shape up across the arts as a result of the death of george Floyd in 2020 conversations about racism were forced in way that that it never had before. Spilling into the creatives sectors we have seen how “the culture” is moving towards a more diverse workforce. If we start looking stats the numbers are still very small, very small. We still have a lot of work to do but it is a start…. so lets celebrate the new appointments.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

(Main image: Pooja Ghai)

Cameron Bailey, the former Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) artistic director and co-head who joined the organisation as a programmer in 1990, has been appointed TIFF CEO. A veteran of TIFF, Bailey leads the organisation into this new chapter with an immediate focus on the future of Toronto International Film Festival, offering audiences a transformative TIFF experience all year round. Cameron Bailey. Credit Luis Mora 2019.“

Cameron Bailey. Credit Luis Mora 2019.

Cameron is a luminary in the global film industry and his committed leadership, strategic perspective and unparalleled passion has already built an essential foundation for this organization. There is no one better suited to drive TIFF forward”, said Jeffrey Remedios, Chair of TIFF.

More information here

The Black Cultural Archives (BCA), London, has appointed Lisa Anderson as its interim managing director. Anderson is a curator, consultant, and arts facilitator and she established the educational platform Black British Art and runs the Lisa Anderson Arts Consultancy

Lisa Anderson has been appointed as interim managing director at BCA.

More information here

Arike Oke has become the executive director of knowledge and collections at the BFI. She joins the organisation following her departure as the BFI’s managing director. She has worked as an archivist for multiple charities and has also been involved in audience development at the Hull History Centre and on strategic boards with the National Archives and the Mayor of London. 

Arike Oke starts new role at BFI

Oke said, “From my earliest memories of soaking up Nigerian TV and Bollywood films as a child, through preserving dance history on film at Rambert, and celebrating Black film with BCA’s Black Lens film festival, the diversity of screen heritage has shaped me. Now I am honoured with the opportunity to look into a digital future for the BFI National Collection. I can’t wait to get started.”

More information here.  

Clint Dyer became the National Theatre’s Deputy Artistic Director, now the only Black British artist to have worked at the National as an actor, writer, and director on full-scale productions. His breadth of experience and creative work will be invaluable as the National adapts to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with a focus on the future.

Clint Dyer for the Royal Court. Copyright Johan Persson.

Speaking about his new role, Clint said: “I was lucky enough last year to experience first-hand the hard work and dedication from every single member of NT staff that went into achieving so much against all the odds…I know that the National is looking to emerge from this period with a renewed commitment to make world-class theatre that celebrates the breadth of our nation. I am thrilled and honoured to be part of the team that will be making that happen.”

More information here

Read ALT’s interview with Clint here

Professor Bernardine Evaristo OBE is announced as new President of the Royal Society of Literature. The RSL acts as a voice for the value of literature, honouring and supporting emerging and established writers whilst creating a bridge between authors and audiences to engage as many people as possible with the breadth of UK literature. The President is a beacon for literary excellence in the UK, bringing the RSL’s communities of readers and writers together. In this role, Evaristo will act as an ambassador for the Society and its overall mission, the advancement of literature.

Bernadine Evaristo

Professor Bernardine Evaristo said, “I am deeply honoured to take on the role of the new President of the Royal Society of Literature. Literature is not a luxury, but essential to our civilisation. I am so proud, therefore, to be the figurehead of such an august and robust literature organisation that is so actively and urgently committed to being inclusive of the widest range of outstanding writers from every demographic and geographical location in Britain, and to reaching marginalised communities through literature projects, including introducing young people in schools to some of Britain’s leading writers who visit, teach, and discuss their work with them. I look forward to the next four years as the figurehead of such a wonderfully impressive organisation.”

More information on Evaristo here, and on the RSL here

Award-winning actor and director Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE has been appointed principal of the Royal College of Speech and Drama, becoming the first black person to hold the post in its history. Her 40-year career has seen her nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Rafiki in the West End production of The Lion King.

Photo of Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE courtesy of Urban Jörén/ Urban Picture AB

For 13 years she was also the Artistic Director for The National Touring Swedish Deaf Theatre ensemble Tyst Teater, where her work focused on fostering the understanding, respect and potential of sign language arts and the artistic, linguistic, and cultural rights of the deaf.

More information here

See Also

Misan Harriman appointed as new Chair of the Southbank Centre. 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. 

Misan Harriman 

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, the first black person in the history of British Vogue to shoot the cover of its September issue. 

More information here

Pooja Ghai announced as new Artistic Director of Tamasha Theatre Company, hoping to lead Tamasha into its next chapter, creating a home for a generation of artists from the Global Majority. 

Pooja is an award-winning director, actor, and mentor who is recognised as a fierce advocate for giving voice to marginalised groups. She is at the forefront of leadership change and active in organisations whose ethos helps achieve this. She is co-Chair of Artistic Directors of the Future, and Stage Directors UK and is a trustee of Pop-Up Org CIC.

Pooja Ghai

Pooja says, “Tamasha has been an incredible platform for showcasing and touring marginalised voices and creating pipelines for ethnically diverse talent. I look forward to continuing and developing that mandate and further growing the impact we make, especially at this critical moment in time. There is a growing awareness of the deep-seated inequalities in the sector and society at large, which we can leverage as a catalyst for change by building authentic and ongoing collaborations that celebrate our differences and firmly establish the Global Majority as an integral part of the theatre landscape.”

More information here

Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, FRSA was appointed as Eclipse’s Interim Chief Executive

Kenneth is a key figure in the UK arts and culture scene, with close to 40 years professional experience in the sector.

He began his career as a dancer; as one of the leading dance artists of his generation, he performed for 13 years with the internationally-acclaimed London Contemporary Dance Theatre and then with other leading companies during a 25-year career as a performer, choreographer, teacher and director. More info here: