Mayor announces new Ambassadors for Culture

12 June 2017

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced his new Cultural Leadership Board1. Inspirational leaders from London’s world-class creative organisations have been appointed as cultural ambassadors to guide Sadiq’s vision for culture in the capital.

The Mayor has made culture and the creative industries a core priority. In his first Mayoral budget, Sadiq doubled the amount of money for the culture programme2 and has set out a bold vision for the capital. Today marks the next step in realising his ambitions for London to retain and grow its position as the global cultural capital.

The cultural ambassadors are experts drawn from across culture and the creative industries: from design, gaming, events, cultural tourism, urban development, planning, film, theatre and heritage. They will advise the Mayor on issues facing the creative industries and culture sector and help him craft a bold new Culture Strategy for London.

The ambassadors are all members of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board which will be chaired by Ben Evans, Director of London Design Festival and Executive Director of the London Design Biennale, two of the world’s leading design events. Chief Executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Moira Sinclair, has been appointed as Vice Chair.

The group will tackle some of the significant challenges facing culture in the capital in areas such as leadership, talent development, inclusion, innovation and infrastructure.

Culture and the creative industries are worth £42 billion per year to London's economy, provide one in six jobs and are the reason why four out of five tourists choose to visit the capital.

As the capital’s most ‘pro-culture’ Mayor to date, Sadiq has already committed to a number of significant initiatives, including the inaugural London Borough of Culture, the world’s first Cultural Infrastructure Plan and the establishment of new Creative Enterprise Zones. He has appointed Amy Lamé as London’s first Night Czar, to champion the capital’s night time economy. He has committed City Hall funding to creative industry flagships – the British Fashion Council, Film London, London Design Festival and Games London, recognising their huge economic value and contribution to the capital’s global reputation. Sadiq also made the biggest cultural investment of any Mayor, pledging £70million towards the relocation and expansion of the Museum of London to West Smithfield.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “From the outset of my Mayoralty, I made it clear that culture and the creative industries was one of my core priorities, which is why I’m delighted to announce today the formation of my new Cultural Leadership Board.

“Their collective experience and passion will ensure that we are able to harness the power of culture and creativity to transform communities, drive our capital’s economy and maintain our pre-eminent position on the world stage.”

Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “Culture is in London’s DNA. It’s the number-one reason people chose to visit and live in the capital. On any given day, you can take your pick from world-class free museums, inspiring gallery shows, gigs, festivals, fringe theatres, great clubs or rooftop cinemas.

“It’s hard to imagine London without culture, but there’s no denying we are facing some real challenges - the loss of venues and clubs and the high cost of creative workspace, while Brexit threatens to disrupt the vital flow of talent and trade with the EU. We are delighted that our brilliant new cultural ambassadors will help us meet these challenges and futureproof London as a global cultural capital”

Chair of Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board, Ben Evans, said: “It is a critically important time for culture & creativity in London and the new Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board can make a difference. Each member brings an expertise that will be invaluable in helping to deliver the eleven culture & creativity manifesto commitments alongside thinking strategically about the future. I am thrilled to be asked the Chair this group. I look forward to working with City Hall to both safeguard London’s position as the global cultural city and to help ensure as many Londoners as possible can enjoy access to the quality on offer."

Notes to editors

1The Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board is a high-level statutory body, appointed by the Mayor of London in accordance with the Greater London Authority (GLA) Act 1999.

2The culture programme budget increased from £4.4m in 2016/17 to £8.88m in 2017/18 – an increase of 102%

Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board

Chair - Ben Evans

Vice Chair - Moira Sinclair

Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries - Justine Simons OBE

Ajay Chhabra – Co-founder and co-artistic director, Nutkhut

Alice Black – Director, Design Museum

Amy Lamé – Night Czar

Bernard Donoghue – Director, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

Charles Leadbeater – Author and leading authority on innovation and creativity

Claire Whitaker OBE – Director, Serious and EFG London Jazz Festival

Cllr Darren Rodwell – Leader, Barking and Dagenham and Portfolio Holder for City Development incl. Culture, London Councils

Gaylene Gould – Head of Cinema and Events, BFI

Jennifer Crook – Director, UK-India Year of Culture 2017

Dr Jo Twist OBE – CEO, Ukie

John Newbigin OBE – Leap Board Member and Co-founder and Chair, Creative England

Madani Younis – Artistic Director, Bush Theatre

Nii Sackey – Chief Executive, Bigga Fish

Pam Alexander OBE – Chair, Covent Garden Market Authority

Prof. Ricky Burdett CBE – Professor of Urban Studies and Director, LSE Cities and Urban Age Programme, LSE

Sharon Ament - Director of the Museum of London

Stuart Hobley – Head of Heritage Lottery Fund for London

Biographies for all members of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board can be found here: