Arts Council England

Arts Council England announces new director of museums

By Adrian Murphy. Main Image: ACE's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2016

Kate Bellamy, former head of strategy and advocacy and secretary to the board of trustees at the V&A, will join Arts Council England (ACE) as its director of museums from a secondment to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport where she was head of the Museums Review, and is currently head of digital skills and inclusion

ACE has today announced three new appointments to key director posts, to start in March 2018 including director of museums, director of music and London and director of libraries and Birmingham.

Kate Bellamy will take up the role of director of museums following on from John Orna-Ornstein, who left the post in June last year after four years and who played a key role in funding, developing and advocating for England’s regional museums.

Bellamy recently headed up the Museums Review at DCMS, working with Neil Mendoza to consider how museums and galleries across England can thrive and become even more inclusive, with the support of government and its arms-length bodies, including ACE.

She has over ten years’ experience working with museums, including leading work of the National Museum Director’s Council and at the V&A, heading up international and national partnerships and overseeing development of the V&A strategy and as a trustee for Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery Trust in Ealing.

“I’m thrilled to have been appointed Director, Museums at Arts Council England,” she said. “I have been impressed by the Arts Council’s work with museums and I’m excited to take it to the next stage. I look forward to working with partners, including the national museums and the Heritage Lottery Fund, to support our museums being the best they possibly can for people everywhere. I can’t wait to get started.”

As well as Bellamy’s appointment, Dr Claire Mera-Nelson will become director music and London. Mera-Nelson is currently Director of Music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London where she also holds the position of Executive Director of Blackheath Halls.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Arts Council England, especially at a time when it seems the arts have never been more needed by society,” she said. “My experience as a performer and educator of musicians, and especially my many happy years at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, have given me a very broad perspective on the world of music and the wider arts sector in London.”

Sue Williamson joins ACE as director of libraries and Birmingham from St Helens Library Service, where she most recently delivered its award-winning Cultural Hubs Arts in Libraries programme and oversaw the successful application to the Arts Council’s National Portfolio. Williamson also represented public libraries as part of a DCMS in a recent discussion on the future of digital technologies in arts and culture.

“I am thrilled to be joining Arts Council England as Director: Libraries and Birmingham and to have the opportunity to support and champion the role of Libraries in delivering the wider cultural offer to the communities they serve. With the recent announcements of Coventry as the next UK City Of Culture and Birmingham as host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, this is a time of great challenge and opportunity for the whole of the cultural sector in this area.”

Simon Mellor, deputy chief executive of arts and culture at ACE said the appointments come ahead of a busy year for the body as it welcomes more than 800 new National Portfolio organisations in April and turns its thoughts to its next 10 Year Strategy.