Baroness Bull (Deborah Bull) CBE

Crossbench Peer, House of Lords

Deborah joined the House of Lords in July 2018 as a cross bench Peer, following a long and successful career in the arts, the media and Higher Education. She danced with The Royal Ballet for twenty years before joining the Royal Opera House Executive to devise and implement strategies for developing new art, new artists and new audiences, including its innovative ROH2 programme. She became Creative Director in 2008, taking executive responsibility for ROH Collections and leading on the organisation’s Olympic programming as well as its live relays to Big Screens nationwide. In 2012, Deborah joined King’s College London where she spent the next decade, first as Director, Cultural Partnerships and then as Vice President & Vice Principal for London.

Deborah writes and presents a wide range of work for television and radio, is the author of four books, and regularly writes and speaks across the media. She has served on the Boards of South Bank Centre, Arts Council England, as a Governor of the BBC, as a judge for the 2010 Booker Prize and as a member of the governing body of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has received honorary doctorates from Derby University, Sheffield Hallam University, the Open University, Kent University and Lincoln University and was awarded a CBE for her contribution to the arts in 1998. In the House of Lords, she serves as a Deputy Speaker, sits on the Digital & Communications Committee and is a member of the UK/EU Parliamentary Partnerships Assembly.

She was nominated for a life peerage in June 2018 and joined the House of Lords as Baroness Bull in July 2018, sitting as a cross bench Peer.



Darren Ferguson

CEO/Founder, Beyond Skin

Darren Ferguson is a musician, poet and community activist born in Belfast. Since his teens has volunteered with various organisations locally and abroad.

In 2004 he founded Beyond Skin using the arts as a vehicle to assist the development of a more peaceful, equal and intercultural society free from racism & sectarianism. Beyond Skin has delivered over 4,000 workshops/events including collaborations with 32 countries with partnership flagship programmes in Afghanistan, Colombia, Japan, Sri Lanka & Zambia.

In 2021 Darren set up Musicians Artists at Risk Resettlement Scheme in Northern Ireland to assist people seeking asylum or in refugee status. In the first year over 200 people have had support.

With over 30 years working in the community and arts sector Darren has built up many networks and partnerships. Various organisations and music collaborations have been established through Darren’s work through Beyond Skin.

Darren also volunteers on boards/steering groups for International Campaign for Afghan Musicians (ICFAM), Make Music Day UK, Cre8 Theatre Company, Migrant & Minority Ethnic Think Thank and Natali Marquez Foundation.




Ica Headlam

Director/Founder, We Are Here Scotland

Ica Headlam is Creative Practitioner based in Aberdeen. He moved to Scotland in 2004 and is also a qualified Social Worker who works with vulnerable young adults across the city.

In late 2017 Ica started to independently produce and host Creative Me Podcast a weekly show that explores creativity and arts in the North East of Scotland, with the aim of drawing a wider focus on Aberdeen’s creative community. To date the podcast has been commissioned for the Look Again Festival, Northland’s Creative, and City Moves Dance Live Festival. Ica has also contributed to BBC Three article on Racial Gaslighting in 2020, and featured on BBC radio Scotland series for Black History month which focused on Black creatives who have made Scotland their home.

He is also the founder of We Are Here Scotland, a platform that aims to amplify the voices of Black and POC artists and creatives across Scotland’s creative industries. Ica is a strong advocate for representation across the arts and values the importance of open and honest dialogue.



Philipp Dietachmair

Head of Programmes, European Cultural Foundation

Philipp Dietachmair (Gmunden, Austria) has been working in the field of European cultural relations for more than twenty years. He is currently Head of Head of Programmes at the European Cultural Foundation in Amsterdam. Previously, he has been leading the foundation’s civil society development and cultural cooperation programmes with Central Eastern Europe, Ex-Yugoslavia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Turkey and North Africa.

Philipp Dietachmair is co-founder of the Tandem cross-border collaboration programmes that connected hundreds of arts initiatives and cultural community activists in more than 40 countries. In 2020, he co-designed the Culture of Solidarity Corona-response fund which has meanwhile evolved into a European philanthropy platform for providing cultural emergency support in Ukraine. 

Philipp Dietachmair has also been involved in a number of field studies and book projects that analyse the role of culture and autonomous art spaces in civil society or explore scenarios for a slower and greener future of arts residencies and cultural mobility in Europe.



Rachel Noël

Head of Programmes and Partnerships, Tate

Rachel is a curator building communities with and for young people, emerging artists and cultural producers through art, ideas and public programming. Guided by equity, liberation and social justice, she works toward a future where everyone, particularly young people minoritised by systems in society, can see themselves reflected in art around them – in local communities, public spaces, museums and galleries.

She has worked at Tate since 2014, and led a range of creative learning experiences, events and opportunities for young people at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, as well as co-leading Tate Collective, Tate’s youth arts membership scheme as Convenor of Young People’s Programmes since 2019. In 2022, Rachel took up the role of Head of Programmes and Partnerships for Learning at Tate, and was selected for the Clore Fellowship as a 2022 Excellerate Fellow.



Rhiannon White

Co-Artistic Director, Common Wealth Theatre

Rhiannon White is co-founder and co-director of Common Wealth a site-specific political theatre company – based in Bradford and Cardiff. Common Wealth make work that speaks to the here and addresses concerns of our times. In 2018 Common Wealth received the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund and the New Radicals, Nesta Award.

In 2018 Common Wealth received the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund and the New Radicals, Nesta Award. Rhiannon’s credits include I Have Met the Enemy (and the enemy is us), Radical Acts, We’re Still Here (National Theatre Wales), The People’s Platform (National Theatre Wales/ Common Wealth), No Guts, No Heart, No Glory/ Associate Director (Scotsman Fringe First Award / Live From TVC with BBC4.) Our Glass House (Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award).

Rhiannon has worked with National Theatre Wales, National Theatre (UK) Chapter Arts Centre, Sherman Cymru, Southbank Centre & Circus 2 Palestine. Rhiannon is a recipient of a Clore Cultural Fellowship and a Creative Wales Award. Rhiannon sits on the board of the Grange Pavilion and is on the Aberystwyth Arts Advisory Panel she previously was a panel member on the Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society chaired by Julia Unwin.



Saad Eddine Said

CEO/Artistic Director, New Art Exchange

Saad Eddine Said is the Artistic Director and CEO of New Art Exchange. Known for his City Take-Overs, Saad is a curator who initiates and builds bridges and creative partnerships between local communities, artists, activists, social entrepreneurs, innovators, cultural organisations and governmental institutions.  His work focuses on co-creating impactful and artistic takeovers that are aimed at re-thinking, re-imagining and re-shaping the structure and future of institutions and communities in towns and cities nationally and internationally.

He presented his work and vision around theories of change in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. He is also the Co-Founder and previous Co-Artistic Director of the charity Terre Sans Frontière (Morocco) and worked most recently as the Director of HOME Slough (UK).


Sydney Thornbury

CEO/Artistic Director, The Art House

Sydney is a highly entrepreneurial, creative and strategic arts and social enterprise executive who is deeply committed to the power of arts and culture to enable personal and social transformation. Originally from Los Angeles, Sydney ran organisations in London for 25 years before becoming CEO of The Art House in Wakefield, Yorkshire in 2018.  

For the last twelve years, Sydney has focused on turn-around and the reinvigoration of underperforming arts organisations, particularly those in crisis. From saving the 134-year Blackheath Conservatoire from foreclosure within six weeks to repositioning and tripling turnover at The Art House, Sydney has extensive experience in creating mixed economy business models that put values, vision and community at the centre of organisational renewal, the result being enhanced artistic quality, audience reach and increased income generation. 

Over the last three years, The Art House has created the UK’s first Studio of Sanctuary for Refugees and Asylum seekers, ‘Makey Wakey’ which utilises vacant shops in Wakefield’s city centre to hothouse creative social entrepreneurs, and partnered with the NHS and three local mental health charities to house ‘Safe Space’, an out-of-hours emergency mental health drop-in centre.  In 2022, The Art House was awarded the prestigious Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Award for Civic Arts Organisations.

Updated on 23 march 2023

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