Current members

John Newbigin - Chair

John Newbigin is Chair of Counterculture and former Chair of Creative England. As Special Advisor to the Minister for Culture, Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, he was closely involved in developing the UK government’s first policies for the creative industries. He was Head of Corporate Relations for Channel 4 Television. He was a policy advisor to the Leader of the UK Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, Rt Hon Neil Kinnock, MP. 

Viv Bird

Vivien Bird

Viv has worked in the education and literacy sector for most of her career, most recently as the CEO of Book Trust. A former Chair of EU Read, she has twice been mentioned by the Bookseller as one of the top 100 most influential people in publishing. She was senior policy advisor to the European Literacy Policy Network and still serves on their transitional committee. She has worked with the British Council as an advocate for reader development in Egypt, China, Brazil and Taiwan. 

Marina Salandy Brown

Marina is a Trinidadian cultural activist and journalist. Formerly an editor and senior manager in Radio and News and Current Affairs at the BBC, she is the founder and director of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, held annually in Trinidad and Tobago, 'the biggest annual literary festival in the Anglophone Caribbean', and of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. She was founding executive director of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in 2005 and an advisor on film development to Creative TT.

Simon Groom

Simon Groom

Simon is the Director of the Scottish National Gallery. He previously worked at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge before becoming Head of Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool. He has played an active role in many institutions, including Governor of Glasgow School of Art, Board member of the Young People’s Committee, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Member of the National Cultural Diplomacy Group at the British Council, and is on the Advisory Board of Art UK.

Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan leads master's courses at Norwich University of the Arts. She ran Glasshouse, a creative consultancy, where she was involved in music, street theatre and circus. Marie has a strong background in developing national policy in craft and design, disability arts, heritage and public art. She has worked as a culture expert for the European Union, evaluating Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) applications across the continent.

Philip Long

Philip Long

Philip Long is the director of V&A Dundee. He was senior curator at the National Galleries of Scotland, where he specialised in historical and contemporary Scottish art and design. Philip has written about Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish colourists and the architect Basil Spence, and curated Scotland’s national representation at the Venice Art Biennale in 2007. He is an honorary professor of the University of Dundee and honorary research fellow of St Andrews University.

Ruth McCarthy

Ruth is the Artistic Director of the Outburst Queer Arts Festival. She has been a cultural activist for 27 years and is passionate about promoting social change through arts engagement. She is currently working on global partnership development with British Council around queer arts, particularly in South America and the Caribbean. She worked in BBC television and radio production for 10 years before leading the Creative Development team in BBC Northern Ireland. 

Dave Moutrey

Dave is currently the Director and Chief Executive of HOME. Prior to this he led the successful merger of The Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company to form HOME. Throughout his career Dave has been involved in the management and marketing of arts organisations. He spent eight years as Chief Executive of Arts About Manchester, two years as Marketing Director for City of Drama and managed Abraham Moss Theatre for six years. He is also a qualified drama teacher.

Indhu Rubasingham

Indhu has been Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre since 2012. Her first production was the multi award-winning Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti, which transferred to New York in April 2014 and London’s Garrick Theatre in January 2016. Handbagged was first produced at the Tricycle Theatre in autumn 2013, winning an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, before transferring to the West End in 2014 and subsequent National Tour in 2015.

Elena Schmitz

Elena Schmitz

Elena is Head of Programmes at Literature Wales, the national company for literature development. Originally from Germany, Elena came to the UK in 2004 as part of her MA in British Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin. She has worked for various arts organisations in Wales, including Wales at the Venice Biennale of Art, Wales Arts International, g39 Gallery and Chapter Arts Centre. She is particularly interested in collaboration, working internationally and in interdisciplinary work.