Numbers add up for Ian in his new cultural role

A leading figure in the development of Sunderland’s vibrant ‘cultural quarter’ has been appointed to a key role with Sunderland Culture.

Ian High is the organisation’s new Finance and Administration Director and will be based at National Glass Centre.

He has worked in finance for more than 30 years. Silksworth-born Ian studied accountancy qualifications at both Sunderland College and New College Durham before spending 20 years at a Sunderland-based accountancy practice where he became senior accountant and audit manager.

In 2013 he moved to the Leighton Group as group finance manager. As well as working with Leighton, Ian also worked with the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust.

He played a major role in the regeneration of the MAC Quarter, including the purchase, restoration and management of the Dun Cow and Peacock pubs, the Fire Station and the soon to be completed Fire Station Auditorium. He has managed the Fire Station’s Engine Room for the last two years.

He is a trustee at the newly-created Cultural Spring charity and he manages the finances for the popular Summer Streets music festival, which started life as a Cultural Spring project.

Rebecca Ball, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Ian to the Sunderland Culture team. Over the last few years he has made a massive contribution to Sunderland’s cultural sector. “His expertise, passion and ambition for the city have played a vital role in improving the cultural offer in Sunderland.

He is admired and respected within the city’s cultural sector  for his commitment and unflappable nature and the Sunderland Culture team and I are looking forward to working with him in his new role.”

Ian said: “I am very proud and privileged to be taking up this role with Sunderland Culture and I am really looking forward to working with the amazing team to help continue the fantastic work that has been delivered so far.

“I don’t move jobs very often – I’ve only had three jobs since I was 16 – and I’m so excited to be starting with Sunderland Culture. It’s an organisation I know well and I know the difference they’ve made in the city over the last few years – and what they can do in the years ahead.

“Sunderland is now proving to be a real driving force culturally and is being rightly recognised and praised nationwide for the impact it is having. I’m excited to be able to play more of a role in that.”

SAFC-ticket holder Ian lives in Washington with his wife – who works for Hays Travel – and their daughter.

Ian is passionate about music, particularly Motown, and has been a big supporter of the thriving local music scene in Sunderland. He is also a keen cyclist and walker.

Sunderland Culture was set up in 2016 to bring together the cultural programmes of Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland and Sunderland MAC Trust into a single, independent, delivery model. The organisation delivers the programme in National Glass Centre and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington and The Fire Station, as well as cultural engagement and events in communities across the city.

It works to ensure the power of great art, culture and creativity is harnessed for the benefit of Sunderland, its residents and visitors. Sunderland Culture is a registered charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Its mission is to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture.