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Introducing our new Advisory Board

9 Nov 2018

The Gulbenkian arts centre announces the formation of a new Advisory Board, to help deliver the organisation’s ambitious 2018-22 business plan. 2019 is Gulbenkian’s 50th birthday, as well as marking 50 years since the lunar landing, so it’s apt that the new group is being asked to help the team at Gulbenkian to think big and aim high.

Gulbenkian Director, Oliver Carruthers explains that the board have a crucial role to play over the next couple of years.

“Gulbenkian already does so much great work, in delivering an incredible high quality arts programme, but also creating meaningful and life changing opportunities for young people in Kent. But we want to do so much more.

We have brought together this amazing group of people, with incredible experience and skills between them, to challenge and support the team here. Over the next couple of years, we have big ambitions to reach lots more people in Kent, to improve our business model, and to fundraise to support our Young People projects. The knowledge and support of the Advisory Board will be essential if we are to be successful.”

The advisory board will be chaired by Neil Webster of KM Media Group, and include specialists in business, catering, media and marketing as well as experts in arts programming, education and young people. Gulbenkian is The University of Kent’s art centre and the board includes representation from staff and students, there is also a representative from ART31, Gulbenkian’s pioneering young people group.

Neil Webster, who also sat on the previous advisory board, explains:

“The next few years are of huge importance for Gulbenkian. The recent recruitment drive for Board members generated a phenomenal response and this is reflective of the brilliant successes so far. The new advisory board team will hopefully play a crucial role in helping Oliver and his team achieve even greater success”

In recent years, Gulbenkian has been successful in obtaining core funding from Arts Council England, reflecting the quality of the programme and the pioneering work that is being undertaken with Children and Young People in Kent. Its thriving theatre and cinema attracts audiences of over 100,000 per year, and 3,000+ young people through the creative learning projects and training programmes.

Board Members:
Oliver Carruthers (Director, Gulbenkian)
Neil Webster (KM Group)
Liz Moran (Director of Arts and Culture at The University of Kent)
Audain Thompson (Enterpreneur)
Johnny Fewings (Former managing director of Virgin Megastores)
Kim Plowright (Freelance digital producer)
Lizzie Hodgson (ThinkNation)
Polly Wann (Digital Manager at Shepherd Neame)
Sebastian Fogg (Management consultant, focussing on the hotel industry)
William Galinsky (Theatre / arts director)
Val Hennessy (Former journalist, previously taught at Goldsmiths)
Zoe Carassik-Lord (Pie Factory Music)
Sheree Palmer (Secondary teacher, previously in PR & publishing)
Jane Garrett (Former CEO of Brogdale Horticultural Trust)
Lesley Townsend (Corporate government specialist)
Maeve Mena (Art31 representative)
Sasha Langeveldt (Vice President of Activities at the University of Kent)
Claire Toogood (Arts Council England)


ART31 takes its name from Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, which states that ‘Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities’.

ART31 is a vision created with, by, and for young people in Kent, championing the belief that all children and young people have an entitlement to access high quality arts and culture, to empower them to achieve their creative potential, and to genuinely engage young people as equal partners in any decision making that affects them.

The ART31 Youth Board is made up of young people from across Kent aged 13-25 who steer its governance, and influence policy and practice across the county and beyond, challenging the creative sector to examine existing ways of working and integrate young people into the core of their practice.

Our projects with young people

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