Meet the inspirational leaders from London’s world-class creative organisations appointed as cultural ambassadors to guide the Mayor’s vision for culture in the capital.
Cultural Leadership Board
What is the role of the board?
- Steer the delivery of the Mayor’s policy pledges for a specific leadership area
- Help to shape the Mayor's new Culture Strategy
- Keep the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Culture & Creative Industries abreast of issues facing the creative industries and culture sector
When do they meet and what happens?
- The Board will meet 4 times per year usually at City Hall
- Members may establish sub-groups in line with their Ambassadorial role and also join groups led by others
Cultural Leadership Board Meeting Minutes
Chair – Ben Evans
Ben Evans is the Executive Director of the London Design Biennale. He is also Director of the London Design Festival, which he co-founded with Sir John Sorrell in 2003. It is now one of the two leading design events in the world.
Vice Chair – Moira Sinclair
Moira Sinclair is Chief Executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, one of the UK’s largest independent funders, working to help people lead fulfilling and creative lives. She was previously Executive Director London and South East for Arts Council England; Director of Vital Arts; and worked in local government, theatre and production management.
Ajay Chhabra is the co-founder of award winning Nutkhut and Artistic Director of the London Mela, the largest outdoor event of its kind in the UK. As an actor, he has appeared on television, radio, film, theatre and in major outdoor live productions. Prior to working in the arts sector, he worked in senior management positions in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector.
Alice Black was formerly Head of Strategy and Planning at the Imperial War Museum and Curator of the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. In September 2007, she was appointed Deputy Director of the Design Museum, with a brief to develop audiences and increase self-generated income. This brief was later expanded to include exhibitions and programming.
Amy Lamé, originally from New Jersey, arrived in London in 1992. Her first job was in a late night café-bar on the edge of Soho. She is now London’s first Night Czar. She is co-founder of the Olivier Award winning arts company and club night Duckie, and has hosted the club every Saturday at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for 21 years. She also DJs at various club nights across the capital.
Bernard Donoghue is the Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions - the UK's most popular, iconic and important museums, galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, zoos, historic houses, heritage sites, gardens and leisure attractions. They comprise over 2200 tourist sites, hosting over 121 million domestic and overseas visitors each year - around 28% of the visits made annually in the UK.
Charles Leadbeater is a British author and former advisor to Tony Blair. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book We-think: the power of mass creativity, which charts the rise of mass, participative approaches to innovation from science and open source software, to computer games and political campaigning.
Claire Whitaker OBE
Claire Whitaker OBE is a Director of live music producers, Serious and the EFG London Jazz Festival. Her track record as a cultural producer, having created work all over the UK, as well as Africa, the Caribbean and Europe, is matched by her skills in strategy, business planning, finance, governance, communications, entrepreneurship, diversity and partnership working.
Gaylene Gould has over twenty years of management, talent development and production experience in the creative sector. Currently Head of Cinemas & Events at the BFI, she has also developed projects for international organisations such as the Toronto International Film Festival, British Film Institute, FILMCLUB, the Museum Service, Hot Docs Film Festival, and the Arts Council England.
Jennifer was Director of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 for British Council. For the past 15 years, she has produced high profile and critically acclaimed projects in public spaces world-wide for organisations including Burning Man, Artichoke, Glastonbury Festival, London 2012 Festival, 14-18 NOW and the National Theatre, working with artists including Luke Jerram, Tim Etchells and Krzysztof Wodiczko.
Dr. Jo Twist OBE
Jo is CEO of Ukie, the trade body for UK games and interactive entertainment, making the UK the best place in the world to make games. Previously, Jo was Channel 4 Education Commissioning Editor where she commissioned Digital Emmy-winning Battlefront II, free to play browser and iOS games and social media projects.
John Newbigin OBE
John Newbigin OBE, is a member of the LEAP Board. He is the co-founder and Chair of Creative England and chairs the ‘Regions and Clusters’ working group of the Creative Industries Council. He was a youth worker in Brixton and East London for 10 years before working in the film industry and at Channel 4.
Madani is Creative Director of the Southbank Centre, and was previously the Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre from 2012 to 2018. He programmed the company’s most successful season to date and oversaw the successful £4.3 million redevelopment of the Bush Theatre.
Nii Sackey is the Chief Executive of Bigga Fish, which he founded in 1999 at the age of 21. Nii over the course of his career with Bigga Fish has engaged with over 250,000 young people and been a creative hotbed for youth culture and grime, with a current reach to three cities.
Pam Alexander OBE
Pam is a board member of London Legacy Development Corporation, the Connected Places Catapult and Chair of Commonplace. She is on the Advisory board of the London Festival of Architecture. Until recently Pam chaired Covent Garden Market Authority and the Nine Elms Cultural Steering Group, was a Trustee of the Design Council and a non-executive Director of Crest Nicholson Plc and Crossrail Ltd.
Professor Ricky Burdett CBE
Ricky Burdett CBE is Professor of Urban Studies and Director of Cities and the Urban Age Programme at LSE. He was a member of the Independent Airports Commission, Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and previous architectural advisor to the Mayor. He was Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2006 and curator of the Global Cities exhibition at Tate Modern in 2007.
Stuart Hobley is the Head of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for London. Stuart leads his team to promote, manage and deliver National Lottery funding for heritage right across London. His role at HLF has involved championing a wide variety of projects that celebrate the role heritage plays in our modern life, from Punk London to the importance of historic townscapes, museums and green space.
Sharon Ament is Director of the Museum of London, which in 2015 announced its ambition to build a new museum for London and move to a new site in West Smithfield in 2022. Sharon was recently appointed Chair of the London Screen Archives and sits on the London Area Council of Arts Council England. She is a Noyce Leadership Fellow, and on the International Advisory Board of the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.
Cllr Clare Coghill