The Board

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Jude Kelly CBE – Chair (She/Her)

Jude Kelly CBE is founder and chair of Metal, having spent the first three years of Metal’s development as its artistic director. She went on to play an instrumental role in securing the 2012 Olympic Games for London and was artistic director at London Southbank Centre for 12 years. She is currently founder and artistic director of WOW – the Women of the World festival, which celebrates the achievements of women and girls and confronts global gender injustice. Starting atLondon’s Southbank Centre in 2010, the festival now takes place in 30 locations across six continents. In 2018 Jude established The WOW Foundation, an independent charity dedicated to building the WOW movement as a force for change.

Jude has directed over 100 theatre and opera productions, is the recipient of two Olivier awards, a BASCA Gold Badge Award for contribution to music, a Southbank Award for opera.

She has founded a range of arts institutions and has commissioned and supported the work of thousands of artists across all genres.

In 1997, she was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre and in 2015 she was made aCBE for services to the Arts.

Our Patrons:

David Hockney, Sir Ian McKellen, Nihal Arthanayake and Paul Morley

Andrea Stark (She/Her)

Andrea Stark is Director of Employment, Skills and Culture at Islington Council, London.

Previously, she was at FutureLondon, a charitable organisation which supports the development of a new cultural and educational district at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London.  She has also instigated a partnership to locate the Royal Opera House production workshops in Thurrock as part of a new centre for education and vocational training in creative industries. 

A member of the National Executive Board of Arts Council England, Andrea strengthened relationships between ACE and wider government, particularly DCLG , BIS and DWP.  She led the development of the Arts Council’s first national apprenticeship programme to open up progression routes into the cultural sector.

While Chief Executive of Eastern Arts Board, Andrea devised a region wide arts and economic development partnership with local government, HE and regional enterprise bodies to build a series of new arts centres.

She has been arts chief at Dundee City Council and the City of Sunderland, in both places she led regeneration initiatives to position libraries, museums and arts services as an integral part of successful place making. 

Fauziya Johnson (She/Her)

Fauziya is a freelance curator, artist, producer and writer based in Liverpool.

Fauziya focuses her work on raising awareness around mental health, LGBT rights, anti-racism, debt abolishment, architecture, and institutional, racist, inequalities. 

She also co-founded and edits ROOT-ed Zine, a zine and social platform dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring creatives of colour in the North West.

Ian Thompson (He/Him)

Ian was the founder and Creative Director of Thompson Brand Partners for 35 years, working for organisations like London 2012, Morrisons,, Paul Smith, The Tour de France The Southbank Centre, The Science Museum, National Media Museum and National Railway Museum. Ian is essentially a graphic designer who has specialised in branding throughout his career, eventually developing into a respected brand strategist with a design focus.

He moved on from his business in late 2018 to develop his interest in film making. Ian is currently working concurrently on a documentary and a drama series about male dancing, based on a film he made for the ‘Being A Man’ Festival at The Southbank Centre in 2017. Whilst heading up Thompson Brand Partners, Ian worked extensively in the Arts and is a strong advocate for the power of Art and creativity to drive social change in Civic life. He lives in Leeds and is currently a Trustee of the Leeds 2023, an organisation that is bringing a full year of cultural activity to the city. Ian and his wife are keen dancers and are familiar faces at the nation’s many, regular Northern Soul nights.

Jamie Beddard (He/Him)

Jamie Beddard is Joint Artistic Director of Diverse City, and Lead Artist in Extraordinary Bodies.  He is also an Agent for Change at The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich.

He has performed the title role in the Elephant Man and the Leader in The Messiah at Bristol Old Vic, played the role of Mathias in the NT’s Threepenny Opera, and performed in ‘Weighting’, a large-scale outdoor circus show created by Extraordinary Bodies. He recently co-directed Extraordinary Bodies’ circus performance, ‘Splash!’.  Jamie also has many other directing credits including ‘The Last Freakshow’ (Fittings), ‘Can I Be Frank with You’ (‘Datco’) and ‘The Trouble with Richard’ (Graeae).  

He is a Clore Fellow, and has previously been a Diversity Officer at Arts Council England, Associate Director at the Graeae Theatre Company and Editor of ‘Disability Arts in London’ magazine.  

Jean Campbell (She/Her)

Jamaican born, North London raised, Jean is a freelance artist educator, trained art therapist, teacher and museum professional. She practiced for 25 years as an art therapist before retraining as an arts educator at Tate Modern in 2006, (in partnership with 5 major London museums and galleries). 

Jean has over 16 years of practice in the design and delivery of workshops and projects for major arts and heritage organisations such as The Tate gallery, The Whitechapel Art Gallery, Autograph, The British Library and The National Portrait Gallery. Jean specialises in Arts based training and consultation for staff teams in museums and heritage organisations on understanding and delivering education on Britain’s enslavement history, colonialism and its legacies and has worked throughout the UK. 
A recent MA in Narrative Environment revitalised Jean’s arts and activism practice and she remains passionate about the capacity of the arts, museums and heritage sites for learning and community building. Her commitment is to include the voices of marginalised people and collaborative work includes facilitating consultation between professionals and community groups.  She has also curated the exhibition Let Our Legacies Continue at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery( 2020).

John Bligh (He/Him)

John is a Youth & Community Music Worker and Team Leader based in the Picton / Wavertree wards of Liverpool.  He has been in this role since 1986, specialising in the use of rhythm and sound as a tool and medium for approaching developmental work with young people and others, particularly to address issues around class identity, personal development and resolution of traumatic life experiences.

He works collaboratively as a multi-instrumental musician with young people and others, to try to awaken and develop young people’s own sense of artistry. He strives to challenge and be challenged by young people to unlock inherent artistic potential. He also enjoys bringing together young artists and performers to create and establish networks of support and collaboration.

John has also worked as a freelance artist employed by Manchester University to work with young people developing a model of working in which participants work alongside professional musicians learning to play instruments, performing as an ensemble, writing their own music and recording their own tracks. He also worked as a drummer delivering West & North African drumming workshops in Liverpool and the North West.

Josephine Melville (She/Her)

Josephine Melville is a Southend-based actress, writer, director, archivist and producer and has worked in the Arts for over 40 years.

She was co-founder of The BiBi Crew; a company that wrote, produced and created comedy material touring the UK.  She was also a co-founder member of Aarawak Moon Productions producing Blaggers and Junior Blaggers shows and several productions of The Lunar Lounge. Josephine also co-wrote and produced the play, Shoot 2 Win, which premiered at The Theatre Royal Stratford East and was performed on Broadway and in Brooklyn New York.  She is co-founder of Eye 2 Eye Promotions specialising in creating interactive workshops for educational and corporate organisations.  Eye 2 Eye produced the award winning Posters & Poetry Exhibition looking at the last 100 years of Black British contribution to the arts, winning the Archives Landmark Award 2009 which celebrates the wealth of talent in Britain. 

Jo has worked extensively with the Royal Opera House in the Creative Partnership programme in many schools in the Essex Area delivering tailor specific projects with performance outcomes.  She has worked with ACE and was a judge for The Royal National Theatre, giving the final decision of Black British plays for the National Theatre Archive.

She is founder of the Southend Essex African Caribbean Association creating initiatives and community events to break down cultural barriers and enhance community cohesion for the ever-changing diversity of South Essex residents.

Mark Blenkinsop (He/Him)

Mark Blenkinsop is an executive creative director who joined the Metal Board in October 2013. He currently is the Chief Marketing Officer at British clothing brand Hackett, having previously spent many years working as the Marketing Officer at Pepe Jeans. He comes from a graphic design background and thrives on a hybrid of arts and business.

Matthew Bradbury (He/Him)

Matthew is the Chief Executive of Nene Park Trust; the charity which owns and manages Nene Park in Peterborough and other valuable local spaces and culture and leisure resources. Matthew worked throughout the UK and has also held senior positions within The Land Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and other ‘land’ based organisations with a focus on his passions – land management, conservation, culture and the arts and health and wellbeing. He is also a Fellow of the Landscape Institute. As well as leading the team and developing a wide portfolio of activity and cultural events and facilities in Peterborough, Matthew holds a number of non-executive positions including Vice Chair of Natural Cambridgeshire, Vice Chair of The Broads Authority National Park, Chair of The Parks Alliance, Chair of British Mountaineering Council’s Access and Conservation Trust and a Trustee of Living Sport. He also chairs the Malcolm Bradbury Trust which supports the arts with a particular focus on creating inclusive opportunities for all. He has also been instrumental in developing ‘land art’ and sculpture/arts trails in many locations in the UK.

Matthew is currently leading the Town’s Deal Board for Peterborough and is part of the group steering the development of the City’s Cultural Strategy. Both of these exciting developments will channel investment and focus on the opportunities that culture and the arts can provide for such a fast growing and diverse city

Simon Leftley MBE (He/Him)

Simon Leftley has recently retired after 36 years in local government and health. He started his career in social care working with older people, adults, and children in a variety of roles before becoming the Chief Executive in Bexley Care Trust (NHS) and Deputy Chief Executive of Southend Borough Council. 

Simon received an MBE in 2020 for his leadership working with adults and children with mental health and learning disabilities.  From 2007 Simon also lead Housing services, Children’s services, Public Health and Culture and Community services in Southend.  As part of his portfolio, he worked on several key cultural initiatives including the renovation of the Priory Museum and the creation of the Forum;  the only integrated academic/public library and art gallery space in the country, which forged a collaboration between the Council, University, Higher Education college, and Focal Point Gallery.  

Simon worked with the British Museum on the high-status Royal Anglo-Saxon burial mound known as the “Prittlewell Prince”, and  led the development of the Southend  Olympic diving pool which brought the British Diving Team to train prior to the 2012 Olympics. 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (She/Her)

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was exiled from Uganda in 1972 and  is currently a journalist, broadcaster, author and columnist on the I newspaper and Sunday Times magazine.  She has written for a variety of publications including the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, New York Times, Time Magazine, winning several awards such as the Orwell prize for Political Writing and National Press Awards Columnist of the Year. She was specially commended for this award again in 2018. 

She is a part time professor of journalism at Middlesex University and was governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Yasmin was co-chair of a major 10 year Imperial College/Health Trust research project headed by Lord Ara Darzai on patient safety. She is a national and international public speaker, a consultant on diversity and inclusion, has achieved eight honorary degrees and is a trustee of various arts organisations. 
Yasmin is co-founder of the charity British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Her recent books include Refusing the Veil, Exotic England, polemic Defence of Political Correctness and her latest book Ladies who Punch.  She has twice been voted the 10th most influential Asian in Britain.