The British Council – the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations – is delighted to announce the appointment of two leading sector representatives to its Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group, chaired by John Newbigin OBE.
Marie Brennan, Professor of Taught Postgraduate Awards, Norwich University of the Arts and Philip Long, Director of the V&A Dundee. The Group’s members are experts drawn from the arts and creative economy sector across the UK. They offer valuable insights which help to shape the British Council’s global arts strategy.
British Council’s Director Arts, Kate Arthurs said: I am delighted to welcome Marie and Philip to the Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group. Our members have a vital role in shaping the British Council’s international cultural relations work in arts and beyond. I am pleased our new members will be able to share their expertise with us at this important time and I look forward to working with them.
Chair of the British Council’s Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group and Chair of Creative England, John Newbigin OBE said: We welcome these new members who bring an even wider spread of expertise and experience to what is already a valuable group, actively contributing to the work of the British Council’s arts and creative economy teams around the world.
Our work in the arts has grown substantially over the last five years. We now operate in over 110 countries around the world and work across eight disciplines covering the full breadth of the UK’s creative industries. The ambition for our programme has also grown. Our total arts reach and audiences’ figures have increased from 152 million in 2013/14 with a 258 million reach for 2017/18 across our global arts programmes an increase of 106 million people over the past 5 years.
The Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group will support the British Council to achieve its ambition by 2021 to increase the number of cultural connections between the UK and the world, doubling the scale of international activity of the UK culture sector. This will be achieved through partnering with or lending support to more artists and organisations worldwide and positioning the UK as a global hub for collaboration, for capacity building, and policy development.
The two new members join existing members Vivien Bird (former CEO, Book Trust), Simon Groom (Director of the Scottish National Gallery), Ruth McCarthy (Artistic Director, Outburst Queer Arts Festival), Dave Moutrey (Director and Chief Executive, HOME), Indhu Rubasingham (Artistic Director, Kiln Theatre), Marina Salandy Brown (Founder, Bocas Lit Fest), Elena Schmitz (Head of Programmes, Literature Wales), Jenny Sealey (Artistic Director, Graeae), Paul Seawright (Professor of Photography and Head of Belfast School of Art), Abdul Shayek (Artistic Director, Fio), Jenny Waldman (Director, 14-18 Now), Kenneth Tharp (Director, Africa Centre), Claire Whitaker (Director, Serious) and chair John Newbigin.
The new members are:
Marie Brennan FRSA heads up the Masters Courses at Norwich University of the Arts with cross-disciplinary work ranging from Games through to Fine Art, Textile Design, Fashion, Photography, Moving Image, Communication Design and Curation.
Prior to working for NUA, Marie was living in Ireland where she ran an award-winning footwear design company alongside her creative consultancy, Glasshouse where she was involved in music, street theatre and circus. Marie has a strong background in developing national policy in areas such as craft and design, disability arts, engaging audiences, heritage and public art. She has mentored start-up and established creative businesses in Ireland and the UK.
Marie is experienced in cultural planning, curation, arts management, artistic direction and has worked as a ‘Culture Expert' for the European Union, evaluating EACEA applications across the continent. She has worked for various arts and heritage organisations in the UK and Ireland and is interested in inclusion, collaboration and arts education.
Philip Long is the director of V&A Dundee, and has been leading the project since 2011.
Born in Edinburgh, Philip Long initially trained as an artist and designer. He has worked in museums and galleries throughout a professional career of more than 20 years, and has contributed to the development of many other arts organisations and initiatives. Prior to being 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.
As an acknowledged expert in Scottish art and design, Philip Long has organised numerous exhibitions and written highly praised publications and articles, including on Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish Colourists, the architect Basil Spence, as well as on numerous contemporary artists and designers. From 2003-10 he served on the Scottish Arts Lottery Committee, and in 2007 was invited to curate Scotland’s national representation at the Venice Art Biennale.
He has also worked with the artist Antony Gormley to develop a major public artwork installed across Edinburgh, and with Charles Jencks on the Landform sculpture in front of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
From 2008 to 2011 he was responsible for leading the National Galleries of Scotland’s Artist Rooms project, which in collaboration with Tate brings exhibitions of international contemporary art to museums and galleries across the UK. He was part of the selection panel for the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale for 2016 and 2018. He is an Honorary Professor of the University of Dundee and Honorary Research Fellow of St Andrews University.
Passionate about culture in Scotland, and about the impact creativity can have on people's lives, he is proud to be responsible for the development of the first museum dedicated to design in Scotland.