Clore Leadership Programme
Clore Leadership Programme

Meet the 2017/18 Clore Fellows

We are thrilled to announce our 2017/18 Fellows, the 14th cohort of cultural leaders to go through our eight month tailored leadership development programme. 

This item was last updated on
13 September 2017

Photography: Hugh Hill, 2016


Click here to download the full press release.

The Clore Leadership Programme awards 24 Clore Fellowships for 2017/18 to exceptional individuals from across the visual and performing arts, heritage, museums, literature, cultural policy, film and broadcasting.

At a glance:

  • UK & Ireland Fellows come from 11 different towns and cities across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland including some working in rural areas.
  • First ever Art Fund Curator Fellowship awarded with the supportofArt Fund. The aim of this Fellowship is to support curators working with public collections across the country.
  • Two Fellows supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a new partnership to foster future leaders in the heritage sector.
  • Five International Fellowships awarded to outstanding cultural leaders from India, Jordan, Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong.

Today the Clore Leadership Programme demonstrated its continued commitment to strengthen excellent leadership in the arts and culture by announcing the exceptional individuals who have been awarded Clore Fellowships for 2017/18.

This year saw a huge increase in demand for places including 50% more applications for UK and Ireland Fellowships and a doubling of applications for Chevening/Clore Fellowships: there were nearly twenty four applicants competing for each Fellowship. This points to the breadth of talent, ambition and desire to lead amongst the cultural community and the strong reputation of the Clore Leadership programme.

This year’s cohort of Fellows           

This year’s cohort comes from a diverse range of backgrounds across the entire spectrum of the arts and cultural sector, with a wide geographic spread. Some Fellows work for major national organisations such as theHeritage Lottery Fund, the National Theatre and Arts Council England. Others represent regional organisations that are committed to improving access to great art and culture for their communities, such as Arts Alive Wales, Culture Works East, South East Dance or Lincolnshire Music Service. There is a strong presence from the music sector and the East of England, areas that were previously under-represented, as well as those from specialist backgrounds in learning and working with young people. 

The 2017/18 Clore Fellows stand out for their civic engagement, drive and commitment to creative excellence, all essential qualities for successful arts and culture leaders.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive at Arts Council England, said: 

“Clore Fellowships are an excellent opportunity to identify and grow talented people, helping us to develop the best possible leadership across the arts and culture world.  It’s really encouraging to see that many of this year’s Fellows have a deep commitment to their communities. I wish each of the newly announced Fellows every success this year and in the future.”

Sandy Nairne, Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme
, commented:

“It is very exciting to see the commitment that this new cohort of Clore Fellows will bring to the leadership of culture in public life. Whether in Cornwall, the Scottish Highlands or in Mato Groso Brazil, they are making the case for culture within their various communities. I am confident that the demands and rigour of the Clore Fellowship will challenge and inspire them to future excellence and new ways of thinking as they become part of the next generation of leaders in the arts.”

The 2016/17 Fellows begin their programme of personal and professional development in September 2017 with an intensive two-week residential retreat. With mentoring support from the Clore team, a senior cultural leader and a professional coach, each Fellow undergoes a period of accelerated learning adapted to their aspirations, needs and circumstances. This includes a secondment in an organisation different to their own, bespoke training and professional development opportunities to build the necessary skills and knowledge required of cultural leaders today. The Fellowships are awarded at no cost to the individual.Clore Fellows have gone on to grow or transform their organisations, or set up vibrant new cultural enterprises up and down the country and beyond.

Sue Hoyle, Director of the Clore Leadership Programme, said:

“I look forward to seeing the difference that this group of exceptional leaders will bring to and through culture. Working with Clore Fellows has been one of the highlights of my career: what other programme brings together a Secretary of State for Culture, an indie rock musician, a data expert, a horticulturalist, a museum curator and a visual artist - to name just a few? This year’s Fellow are united by their shared passion for culture and the difference it can make to everyone’s lives. The 2017/18 Clore Fellows are outward-looking, creative leaders who will help build a movement of change-makers.” 

Introducing the 2017/18 Fellows on the Clore Leadership Programme:

Open Fellowships supported by Arts Council England

Gail Babb

Lives in London. Gail is producer for participation and learning at Talawa Theatre Company. She is also Associate Lecturer for the MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths.  She was previously Education and Outreach Officer for South Hill Park Arts Centre. Gail is a Board Member of the London Arts and Health Forum and of Strongback Productions, and was a Trustee of Children’s International Arts Organisation 2007-2014.


Eleanor Chapman

Lives in Norwich. Eleanor is the Artistic Director and Founder of Culture Works East, which aims to inspire children and young people (ages 8-25) to discover and reach their potential through access to high-quality arts, media and culture. Her role includes lead for BFI Film Academy in Norfolk and Suffolk, and delivery of a teen and family programme in partnership with Latitude Festival. She has previously worked as Interim Director Music Leader East of England for the National Foundation of Youth Music, developing a three year strategy and action plan. Previous freelance positions have included managing the youth arts and media for Future Projects, developing the Arts Award for Arts Council England East, being Lead Facilitator of the BBC’s Blast on Tour and managing Youth Arts and Media for Future Projects. She sits on the board of Creative Arts East and was previously a board member for the English National Youth Arts Network.


Marianna Hay

Marianna lives in London. She is founder, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Orchestras for All (OFA) whose mission is to unlock access to the life-changing experience of ensemble and orchestral music-making for 11-18 year olds with complex lives. Through OFA's three programmes, including its unique non-auditioned, mixed ability national youth orchestra, the organisation works with over 450 young people and 60 schools across the country each year. Marianna has also worked in several freelance strategy roles, including writing policy for Teach First on its music education strategy. She trained and worked as a music teacher through the Teach First programme 2007-2010 and is a Trustee of Mindful Music and Music First.

Ross Millard

Lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. Ross works with a range of organisations as Artistic and Music Director including Wildworks Theatre Company.  After a successful career as a professional musician, Ross co-founded Split Festival, Sunderland’s first ever music festival which gave a platform for international and emerging performers.  Ross is a Trustee of Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust, supporting a vision for Sunderland’s creative future. He is also co-chair of What Next? Sunderland. Ross was also a Founding Director of the Featured Artists Coalition, which aims to provide a collective voice for the artist community within the music industry and to government.

Jennifer McDerra

Lives in Launceston, Cornwall. Jennifer is CEO of the Causley Trust.  Based at the poet Charles Causley’s home, Cyprus Well, the Trust exists to further the legacy of Charles Causley through opportunities for writers and practitioners engaged with Cornish heritage and the community. Jennifer previously held a number of roles within the literature sector, including Culture Programme Officer for the Commonwealth Foundation, Development Manager for The Reader Organisation, and Community Relations Officer at Barefoot Books. 


Wales Fellowship supported by the Arts Council of Wales /Cymrodoriaeth Cymru a gefnogir gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru

Rebecca Spooner

Lives in Abergavenny. Rebecca is the Creative Director of Arts Alive Wales, an arts education charity set up to enrich the lives of people in the rural and post-industrial communities of Mid and South East Wales. She was a visual artist for ten years and worked for a variety of arts organisations in Cardiff including Chapter Arts Centre and the Sherman Theatre.


Creative Scotland Fellowship supported by Creative Scotland

Lindsay Dunbar

Lives in the Highlands. Lindsay founded Play Pieces Arts which provides a platform for talented new writers and performers to present their work to wider audiences throughout the North of Scotland.  She has worked for The Touring Network and Cromarty Film Festival and is currently a volunteer on the steering group for the new Creative Industries Hub development in Inverness.


Jerome Hynes Fellowship supported by Arts Council of Ireland

Kathleen Turner

Lives in Limerick. Kathleen is Course Director and Lecturer, MA Community Music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the centre for excellence in music and dance performance and research based at the University of Limerick. Prior to this appointment in 2015, she worked as Community Engagement Manager with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and as a Community Musician. She is on the Committee for Non-Mainstream Music Education funded by the Department of Education and Skills, and is a volunteer with Sing Out With Strings community music programme.


Music Education Hubs Fellowship supported by Arts Council England

Jennifer McKie

Lives in Lincoln. Jennifer is Senior Music Adviser at Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Music Service (LMS). She leads LMS which is a large rural traded music service delivering opportunities to young people across the county and is the lead organisation of the Lincolnshire Music Education Hub. She was previously Senior Arts Adviser at London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham where she shaped the music service upon the introduction of the Music Standards Fund. Her career commenced as a secondary music teacher in London where she gained Advanced Skills Teachers (AST) status. She is a classically trained singer.

Dance Fellowship supported by Dancers’ Career Development and The Linbury Trust

Elizabeth Mischler

Lives in London.  Elizabeth is Producer of the Artist Development Programme for South East Dance.  She was a professional dancer for thirteen years working with companies throughout the UK and Europe, including performing as a soloist with Ballet Theatre Munich. She then went on to work for Mark Bruce Company as Producer and DV8 Physical Theatre as Assistant to the Director/Company Manager. She has been a Trustee of Mark Bruce Company since 2013, and chaired the Board from 2013 - 15.

Art Fund Curator Fellowship supported by Art Fund

Helen Watson

Lives in Cumbria. Helen is Director of Programming at Lakeland Arts, Cumbria, a leading arts organisation in the North West which manages a portfolio of arts and heritage venues including Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. She was previously Director of Exhibitions & Collections and Head of Artistic Programming, for Lakeland Arts. Prior to that she worked for the National Galleries of Scotland as Outreach Officer and Deputy Head of Education. Helen is a Trustee for Signal Film & Media, Barrow-in-Furness and the Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University. She is Co-chair of Women in Heritage Leaders Network North West.

Theatre Fellowships supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation

Lucy Oliver-Harrison
Lives in London.  Lucy has been Executive Director of The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick since 2013. As its first Executive Director, Lucy has been at the forefront of the organisation’s growth, including leading on the new management of a local community centre that is expanding The Yard’s local profile and reach. Previously freelance, Lucy was Associate Producer at the Bush Theatre where she launched their move into the old Library, and a Stage One Apprentice with Headlong Theatre and Ambassador Theatre Group. Lucy is also a Trustee of the Women’s Resource Centre.

Karen O’Neill

Originally from Liverpool, Karen is the Deputy Director of Kirklees Theatre Trust, which manages the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and Creative Scene in North Kirklees.  She worked as Deputy General Manager at Palace Theatre, a 2000 seat venue in the heart of Manchester for five years, and for Clear Channel Entertainment Beck Theatre, West London.  She is a Trustee and Board member of the University of Huddersfield Student Union.


Heritage Fellowship supported by Heritage Lottery Fund

Ed Ikin

Lives in West Sussex. Ed is currently the Head of Landscape and Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. His previous roles have included General Manager of Morden Hall Park and Rainham Hall, where he led on the development of a new National Trust property in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund and the London Borough of Havering.

Visual Artist Fellowship supported by a-n, The Artists Information Company

Nicola Naismith

Lives in Norwich. As a visual artist Nicola has been commissioned by the Foundling Museum and the Parliamentary Archives. Cross discipline collaboration is a key focus of her socially engaged practice. She also gives public talks for organisations such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts and New Hall College, Cambridge.


Wellcome Fellowship supported by the Wellcome Trust

Sophie Leighton

Lives in London. As Curator at the Freud Museum, Sophie is responsible for managing, curating and advocating for the collections, working with artists and fundraising. In previous roles at the V&A Sophie worked with the metalwork and photography collections, as well as on other projects such as Friday Late events and writing the V&A's annual review. She previously worked in publishing at the National Trust. Sophie is also a mentor for the museums sector.


Performing Arts Consortium Fellowship supported by National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Southbank Centre

Rishi Coupland
Lives in London. Rishi is Head of Data Intelligence at the National Theatre, where he leads the newly-formed National Theatre Data Studio. Prior to this, his other roles in the arts include Head of Audience Strategy (National Theatre), Marketing Services Manager (Southbank Centre), and Creative Producer (Buzz-erk Productions). Rishi's first career was as a mechanical engineer with companies including British Airways and Kimberly-Clark, in locations across the UK and Europe.


Employer Supported Fellowship supported by Arts Council England

Ross Burnett

Lives in London. Ross is Senior Manager, Policy at Arts Council England (ACE). Working closely with government Ross has been engaged in ACE’s Tailored Review as well as the development of the Culture White Paper. He has been involved with the Arts Impact Fund since its formation and with the development of creative industry tax reliefs. Prior to ACE Ross was an Assistant within the Library and Archives department at Tate. Ross regularly mentors students at Birkbeck, University of London and is a school governor for Reay Primary School in Lambeth.


Heritage Lottery Fund supported by Heritage Lottery Fund

Alice Kershaw

Alice is currently Head of Business Process Review at the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), exploring how to improve the end to end grant management processes. She was previously the Casework Manager, and prior to that a Senior Grants Officer in the London Team. Prior to her work with the HLF she was Heritage Regeneration Officer for Opportunity Peterborough and Peterborough City Council, working alongside a range of local partners to catalyse heritage activity across Peterborough Unitary Authority, and House Administrator and Operations Manager at Benjamin Franklin House. She currently lives in North London.


International Fellowships

Hong Kong International Scholarship supported by Home Affairs Bureau of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region through the Hong Kong Arts Development Council

Michelle Rocha

Lives in Hong Kong. Michelle is the Assistant Producer for the Performing Arts at West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. She is responsible for producing the District’s flagship music and outdoor programme, Freespace Happening, and a variety of artistic development projects.  She was previously Company and Programme Officer for the Hong Kong Dance Company. At the start of her career she worked in schools as a Theatre Educator and managed a portfolio of projects, including Public Relations for the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival, producing a media arts exhibition for the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and being the local promoter for international rock bands under Lushington. Michelle was seconded to the Wales Millennium Centre in 2012 and participated in the Clore Leadership/Hong Kong University Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme four years ago.


Chevening/Clore International Fellowships supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Balsam Shaban

Lives in Amman. Baslam is the Museum Documentation Specialist at the Jordan Museum. Her work has ranged from archaeological excavations to coordinating volunteers, following up all museum research, creating an accessible digital archive of the collection and overseeing, and developing the Museum’s website.


Joyoti Roy

Based in Delhi, Joyoti is Head of Outreach for the National Museum, India and is committed to changing perceptions of museums and making them and the built heritage more accessible. She previously worked as Projects Manager for the National Culture Fund at the Ministry of Culture, including designing a Leadership training programme for museum professionals in collaboration with the British Museum. Prior to that she was Chief Archivist and Exhibitions Manager for the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, and Senior Conservator and Research Coordinator for the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, working in Nainital, Ladakh and Punjab. After training in Art Conservation, she undertook a short internship at Tate to study conservation of acrylic paintings. Joyoti is also a performer, and has performed with amateur theatre companies in over 20 cities in India.



Melissa Segura Guerrero

Based in Nuevo León, Melissa is Technical Secretary for the State Council for Culture and the Arts, where she was previously Director of Communications. Her current role includes developing public cultural policies, planning, coordinating the artistic decision-making process and public and government liaison. She is also in charge of the communication strategies and audience. Melissa participated in the Universal Forum of Cultures Monterrey 2007 as a Dialogue Manager and also in the executive team of State Commission for the Commemoration of the Independence Bicentennial. In 2016, she became a member of the Nuevo León State Council for Strategic Planning.



Leandro Carvalho

Lives in Mato Grosso and Sao Paulo. Leandro is a musician, conductor and entrepreneur. In 2005 he established the State Symphony Orchestra of Mato Grosso, alongside a program to teach music to children from lower economic social backgrounds. With the Mato Grosso Orchestra, as Music Director and Principal Conductor, Leandro Carvalho has developed a unique approach to programming classical music concerts, combining traditional repertoire with new music from the region. As a conductor and instrumentalist, Leandro has recorded 26 albums, many of them available on-line. From 2011 – 13 he was Artistic Manager and Assistant Conductor for the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, based in Rio de Janeiro, following which he spent a year on a Conducting Fellowship with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the USA. In January 2015 he was appointed Secretary of State for Culture in Mato Grosso. He also chairs the forum for Brazil’s 27 state secretaries of culture.


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