New appointments to Sunderland Culture Board

SUNDERLAND Culture has welcomed a number of new board members to join the organisation’s founding partners in supporting the ongoing growth of the company.

The nominated new trustees include MAC Trust board member and Sunderland Empire Theatre Director Marie Nixon; University of Sunderland Council board member Ian Kershaw and Sunderland City Council Executive Director of City Development Peter McIntyre.

They have replaced the partners previous representatives on the Board: Paul Callaghan CBE, Chair of Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust; Graeme Thompson MBE, Pro Vice Chancellor at University of Sunderland and Fiona Brown, Executive Director for Neighbourhoods at Sunderland City Council.  Graeme was the board’s Chair and both Paul and Fiona have been on the board – a charity – since it was created in 2016.

At the same time, the board has been strengthened by the appointment of three independent trustees – Prof Roy Sandbach, previously Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and ex Proctor and Gamble executive; Sheree Rymer, Faculty Director for Creative and Digital at Sunderland College, and Kamaswaredas  Ramanathas (Ram), Manager of Young Asian Voices (YAV).

Jane Earl, Chair of Sunderland Culture, said: “I’m delighted to welcome all our new board members, who are going to be great support in delivering on our mission to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture. And I would like to pay tribute to Graeme, Paul and Fiona who have recently stood down.

“They were all instrumental in the creation of Sunderland Culture and I’m enormously grateful for their massive contributions and their practical and moral support. I know they will continue to be ambassadors and advocates for the organisation. Together, their contribution to culture in Sunderland is hard to over-estimate.”

New trustee Sheree added: “’I’m honoured to have been appointed to support and represent Sunderland Culture as a Trustee. With my background in education and the creative arts, I wanted to further my relationships within the city to help find innovative ways to involve the people of Sunderland with cultural activities.

“The city has a rich heritage of nurturing exceptional talent, but for too long we have lost this expertise to other cities. Sunderland Culture gives us an opportunity to ‘train and retain’ the skills in the area and bring new diverse artistic works to the people. It will ensure we flourish and develop to become a leading city in celebrating and enhancing cultural life in the area that people value and enjoy. I truly wanted to be part of this.”

Sunderland Culture has also appointed three new independent, non executive directors to its new subsidiary, Sunderland Culture Trading.

The new directors will play key roles in the governance of all commercial areas of Sunderland Culture’s business, including commercial activity at The Fire Station, retail, and other trading.

The new directors are Neil Smith, partner in real estate at solicitors Ward Hadaway; Nick Reed, Chief Executive of music charity B:Music in Birmingham, and Michelle Daurat, General Manager at Oaklea Convent and previous Head of Business and Operations at National Glass Centre.

Jane added: “We were thrilled at the great response to our call-out for new directors for Sunderland Culture Trading. There was a lot of interest in these volunteer roles and Neil, Nick and Michelle bring a range of skills and experience to the board – they’ll help to ensure financial stability for our trading arm so Sunderland Culture can remain the cultural jewel the city deserves.”

Sunderland Culture was founded through a partnership between Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland and Sunderland MAC Trust. It is both a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.

Its mission is to ‘improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture’ and the organisation works across five venues owned by its partners. These include Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, National Glass Centre, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington, and The Fire Station.

Sunderland Culture also works with local, national and international artists and organisations to deliver a citywide cultural programme in community settings. It is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

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