Ian Grosvenor (Chair)
Ian is Professor of Urban Educational History and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Engagement at the University of Birmingham. Ian has a longstanding interest in history and has been actively involved in local history projects including curating the ‘Children’s Lives’ exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2012. He was also co-convenor of Black Pasts, Birmingham Futures 1999-2008.He is author of numerous articles and books on the history of education and childhood. He is the current chair of the Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the West Midlands Regional Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Councillor Muhammad Afzal
Cllr Afzal was first elected to the City Council in 1982 and has held many senior roles in Birmingham City Council as Chair of Committees and has particularly concentrated on Human Resources and appointment systems.
Randal Brew was born in Birmingham and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1968. He was a partner in Hill Vellacott, which eventually became Chantrey Vellacott, and in 1993 started his own practice, Randal Brew & Co., based in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham. In 2008 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by West Midlands Society of Chartered Accountants. He was awarded an OBE in 1991 for public and political services.
From 1987 to 1995 Randal served as a Councillor in Longbridge Ward. He then had a break from active politics until 2004 when he was elected as a Councillor to serve the residents of Northfield Ward. Randal served as Lord Mayor of Birmingham in 2007/08. He is currently a trustee of the CBSO, The Library of Birmingham and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery; he is also a director of Acivico.
Eamon is a partner in Kennedys, an international insurance law firm, and is responsible for running its insurance practice in Birmingham, splitting his time between Birmingham and London. Having studied law at Leicester, Eamon has worked in Yorkshire, London and, since 2002, has been based in Birmingham. A former Governor and Trustee for eight years of the Birmingham Blue Coat School, his roots are now firmly set in Birmingham where he enjoys good connections within the business community.
Eamon is passionate about the depth of history and culture to be found in Birmingham and the precious role that Birmingham Museums can play in developing and communicating that.
Tracey is Managing Director of Staying Cool, a boutique serviced apartment company she co-founded in 2008. After starting her career in the marketing departments of several London universities, Tracey worked in charity fundraising before moving to Salford Council’s Arts & Leisure Department. Here she developed the city’s tourism strategy and sought external investment and engagement for key projects.
Tracey then set up her own marketing and sponsorship consultancy specialising in sporting events for clients including the Harlem Globetrotters and the Triathlon World Cup. It was this experience of working away from home coupled with her tourism background that prompted Tracey to co-found Staying Cool and plug the gap between boutique hotels and self-catering stays. Staying Cool, headquartered in Birmingham’s Rotunda, has gone on to win many tourism awards and accolades and was given Birmingham’s first five star rating in 2008. Staying Cool's second apartment hotel is opening in Manchester in 2019.
Jonnie Turpie MBE
Jonnie produced and directed public service drama, documentary and digital media over the last 30 years from the west midlands. Following from his career as an artist his touchstone has been collaborative film, television and digital media.Acknowledged across the industry as a forward thinker, he has applied new video, technology and digital techniques to create innovative styles and approaches to multi award winning television and digital media.
Over the past 25 years he has been a Director of Maverick Television, which he founded and has grown into one of the UK’s leading independent production companies. Maverick joined the UK’s largest Independent Production Company All3Media in 2007. The company has bases in Birmingham, Los Angeles and London employing a wide range of talent, which he supported, mentored and advocated for.
He is a director of Creative England, The Space, Creative City Partnership, founding trustee of the Birmingham Ormiston Academy, Trustee of Birmingham Museums Trust, Chair of MAC and was awarded an MBE for services to international trade in the Queens 2010 New Years honours List.
In 2015/16 he was the High Sheriff of the West Midlands with a theme of arts, creativity and young people. In 2017 he has been appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands. Having retired from the wonderful Maverick he is returning to his first calling – art, which he followed through his MA in printmaking at the Royal College of Art and is embarking on his practice based phd: The Drawn Portrait in Contemporary Printmaking: A Journey Between Analogue and Digital.
Chrissie Twigg read history at London University and subsequently enjoyed immensely a portfolio career spanning politics, finance and publishing. An ESRC award to undertake an MBA at Warwick University brought Chrissie to the Midlands in 1986. She then returned to London and spent two years as an Investment Analyst with Citicorp Scrimgeour Vickers before moving permanently to Birmingham. After working for BMI Healthcare, Chrissie started her own company Healthier Weight Ltd to treat obesity, a complex and much misunderstood condition.
Chrissie is Honorary Secretary of The Arts Society Birmingham and an English language volunteer for Refugee Action. She has a love of cycling and has completed many epic rides including a 3,400-mile journey across America. She is interested in the interplay between culture and sport and between healthcare and culture. She sees her principle task as raising funds by promoting awareness of heritage as a key part of vibrant city life.
Mohammed Ali MBE
Mohammed Ali is an award-winning artist, curator and producer. He has been commissioned to work internationally with leading galleries, festivals, arts centres and theatres to produce large scale murals in open spaces in the communities where people work, live and play. As an artist Mohammed is passionate about sharing and presenting untold stories.
He works collaboratively with communities to create unique and immersive arts experiences that inspire and engage people to experience and connect with art.
Mohammed is the founder of Soul City Arts, a leading independent arts organisation based in Birmingham that has worked with artists, academics and activists from around the world to commission and present innovative exhibitions, performances and digital installations. He has worked extensively in places like Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, New York and South Africa.
Most recently Mohammed has embarked on an ambitious project to tell the story of the Bangladeshi pioneers of Britain’s historic curry house trade. The Knights of the Raj is a unique insight into the lives of people like his father who helped pioneer the curry house trade that has transformed Britain’s culinary tastes. The exhibition debuted at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in 2017 to critical acclaim. A follow up arts installation premiers at the Museum of Food and Drink in New York in 2018.
Claire Williamson was born in Birmingham, and is Assistant Director, Marketing and Development at London Transport Museum (LTM). She is a museum professional who has helped LTM to grow its visitor numbers and develop a diverse range of income streams through marketing, communications, fundraising, digital, venue hire, research and catering.
She’s been involved in a number of important site launches, including Eltham Palace for English Heritage, the opening of the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough, and a major redevelopment of LTM’s main site in London’s Covent Garden.
Claire established Interchange at London Transport Museum, a centre for transport ideas, bringing together industry, government, and academia in an ongoing programme of debates, briefings, and publications. A passion for culture, education and supporting the next generation has driven her career. Claire is a keen volunteer and was recently a Trustee of Kidscape, a national charity dedicated to young people and the prevention of bullying.
Luke is the Managing Director of Oaks Consultancy, an award-winning agency that helps socially-minded organisations to raise their game by growing and diversifying income streams, developing and implementing robust business plans and shaping organisational strategy.
He is a director of the GBSLEP Employment and Skills board and until recently was the Chairman of Birmingham Sports and Education Foundation, a charity he co-founded in 2012. In 2017 the Sport Industry Group and Barclays recognised his work by naming him as a ‘NextGen Leader in Sport’.
Luke is a proud, born-and-bred Brummie and is passionate about the city’s rich and vibrant cultural heritage. He will help the Trust to build a more sustainable business, enabling Birmingham Museums to deliver an even more inspiring, enjoyable and inclusive experience to the people of Birmingham and beyond.
John Diviney is a Director at Brunswick Arts, an international cultural communications consultancy.
He advises arts organisations, and the individuals, businesses and bodies which engage with them. He has worked with clients including The British Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Christie's.
Dr Louise Brooke-Smith OBE, FRICS, MRTPI
Louise is a Chartered Surveyor and Chartered Town Planner with experience drawn, over 30 years, from the UK and overseas. Formerly an Equity Partner of Arcadis LLP, the Global Consultancy for the Built Environment, and UK Head of Development & Strategic Planning, and Head of Social Value, she continues to advise the company as a Strategic Consultant where, inter alia, she provide strategic development advice for a range of national and international clients from both the public and private sectors.
Louise was the first female Global President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (2014-15). She championed diversity & inclusivity and led a series of ground-breaking initiatives including the RICS Inclusive Employers Quality Mark and the Property Strategy for Sub Saharan Africa.
She is a Freeman of the City of London and her various accolades include; Outstanding Woman in Construction (2015), National Achiever in Construction (2015) and was shortlisted for the First Woman Awards in 2014 and 2015. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Wolverhampton, Sheffield Hallam and Birmingham City. Louise was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2019 for ‘services to the built environment, diversity and inclusion’.
Louise is an experienced non-executive director and has been retained as a UKGov adviser on numerous planning and development issues. She has been a Trustee of the Lench’s Housing Trust and Vice Chair of the RICS Disaster Management Commission. Her current portfolio includes positions on the Board of The Land Trust, and the Board of Polypipe plc ( FTSE 250 company). She sits on the Regional Board of the CBI, is a Governing Board Member of Birmingham City University and is Chairman of All We Can – the International Aid Agency.
Liam Byrne MP
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP is a writer, reformer, and campaigner. A former Cabinet minister, Liam has done some of the toughest jobs in the British government. In the Home Office, he rebuilt the UK’s immigration system; in No 10 Downing Street, he helped Gordon Brown coordinate government during the global financial crisis, and in Her Majesty's Treasury, he was Chief Secretary, charged with creating the Labour government's fiscal consolidation plan. He is currently Shadow Digital Minister.
Liam graduated at the top of his class at Manchester University, where he won the Robert McKenzie Prize for Political Science and was elected leader of the Students' Union. Before entering politics, he was an entrepreneur and a Fulbright Scholar at the Harvard Business School. In 2004, he gave up his successful business career to serve one of Britain’s poorest communities: Hodge Hill in East Birmingham. He has doubled his majority at every election.
Today, Liam is the founder and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth and the Labour think-tank, Red Shift. The paperback version of his book, a history of British capitalism, Dragons, was published earlier this year. He is also the author of Robbins Rebooted (SMF, 2014), Reinventing Government Again (SMF, 2004), and Local Government Transformed (Baseline, 1996). His most recent book is Black Flag Down, Counter-extremism, defeating ISIS and winning the battle of ideas.
Liam is one of Westminster’s leading authorities on China. He helped begin the UK-China Economic and Finance Dialogue, sits on the board of the GB-China Centre, co-founded the UK-China Young Leader’s Roundtable, and authored the critically-acclaimed Turning to Face the East (Guardian Books, 2013).