Niels de Vos (Chair)

Niels de Vos

Niels was educated at Oxford University and began his career in the advertising and sponsorship industry, before moving into major events in the mid-1990s when he joined the British Government's planning team for the Millennium Celebrations and was responsible for generating record levels of commercial sponsorship.

Niels has 20 years of director level experience in the development and delivery of major international sporting events, dating back to when he joined the Organizing Committee of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.

During his ten years as Chief Executive of UK Athletics, Niels also served as Chief Executive of the Organizing Committees for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, IAAF World Indoor Championships and IAAF World Athletics Championships in London. He was also heavily involved in the oversight of the 2012 London Olympics & Paralympics, as a Board member and Audit Chairman of The British Olympic Association (2009-2014).

In 2018 Niels left UK Athletics to set up a specialist consultancy (Fabric Group Ltd) to advise brands, cities and governments on better investments into art, sport, community and charity – the Fabric of Society.

Jonnie Turpie MBE

Jonnie Turpie. Image credit © Jaskirt Boora. From Birmingham Lockdown Stories, 2020.
Image credit © Jaskirt Boora. From Birmingham Lockdown Stories, 2020.

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.

For 25 years he was 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 has served on many creative and cultural organisation boards and is Chair of MAC, a director of The Space, founding trustee of Birmingham Ormiston Academy, Trustee of Birmingham Museums Trust and was awarded an MBE for services to international trade in the Queens 2010 New Year’s honours List. 

In 2015/16 he was the High Sheriff of the West Midlands with a theme of arts, creativity and young people and in 2017 was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands. Having retired from the wonderful Maverick he has returned to his first calling – art, which he followed through his MA in printmaking from the Royal College of Art and is pursuing his practice based Phd research: The drawn serigraph: An investigation through portraiture, at the Birmingham School of Art.

Mohammed Ali MBE

Mohammed Ali

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

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.

John Diviney

John Diviney is Communications Director at StockX, a global technology leader focused on the large and growing online market for sneakers, apparel, electronics, accessories, and collectibles. Prior to this, he was Communications Director of a fast growth hospitality portfolio, and Director of an international cultural communications consultancy for 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

Liam Byrne

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).

Clive Bawden

Clive Bawden

Clive is an experienced executive and non-executive director and currently Chair of the Finance & Risk committee at Birmingham Museums Trust.

A Chartered Accountant, Clive also holds an MBA with Distinction from Birmingham Business School in addition to his first degree in Greek (Ancient & Modern). His previous career includes role in industry (Saint-Gobain and Inchcape), professional services (KPMG and Catalyst Corporate Finance) as well as strong connections to the technology world and Innovation Birmingham Campus where he was the first Entrepreneur in Residence in 2013.

Outside of work, having recently won the Institute of Directors West Midlands award for Non-Executive Director of the Year, he currently sits on the International Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and is part of a team that has set-up a new national governance body, SkateboardGB to herald the launch of skateboarding in the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

Councillor Phil Davis MBE

Phil Davies

Phil has a lifelong lay interest in heritage and received an MBE for services to heritage in 2020. When Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council he set up the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Management Plan and was founder Chair of the U.K. Local Authorities World Heritage’s Forum (LAWHF) to 2005. He is a former English Heritage Commissioner. He is a trustee of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, serving on the IGMT Board for 23 years and was a volunteer driver of the Blists Hill pit winding engine.

Elected to Birmingham City Council in 2012, he has been City Heritage Champion since then and helped establish the popular Birmingham Heritage Week. As Chair of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust he steered through the £2.1m Lottery funded Townscape Heritage Project investing in the Jewellery Quarter’s historic buildings and sites, including the Chamberlain Clock. To 2016 he led the Council committee overseeing £27m in charitable assets held in trust by the Council and oversaw the creation of the new Chamberlain Highbury Trust.

Philip’s professional background is in HR. He is trained in employment law and is a lay member of the Employment Tribunals. He is a former NHS Trust chair, voluntary sector CEO and Peer Reviewer for the Local Government Association. Since May 2019 he has been Chair of Birmingham’s Licensing & Public Protection Committee.

Phil’s cultural interests include opera, rock ‘n’roll, numismatics and poetry.

Councillor Robert Alden

Robert Alden

Born-and-bred in Birmingham, Robert was first elected to the City Council in 2006, representing the ward of Erdington. Since 2014 Robert has been the Leader of the Opposition on Birmingham City Council, having previously served as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group and Chairman of the Equalities and HR scrutiny committee. Robert has also served on Centro/ITA/TDC serving in various roles including Lead Member for Finance and Lead Member for the Environment. Currently Robert is also a Director and a Deputy Chairman of the Local Government Association.

Robert also sits as a Council appointed Guardian on the Birmingham Proof House, Director of the Erdington Business Improvement District and a School Governor at both St Barnabas School, Erdington and the Schools of King Edward VI.

Robert has a passion for heritage and ensuring the protection of the many amazing heritage assets across our wonderful city, campaigning for developments to be in keeping with the heritage of Birmingham’s many suburbs.

Elly Porter

Elly Porter

Elly Porter is a History and Politics Teacher at The John Roan School in South East London. Prior to becoming a teacher, Elly Porter spent five years as a cultural communications specialist across London, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where she was Associate Director of Strategy at award-winning communications agency Sinclair and its sister agency Sinclair Arts. Elly was Marketing Interactive's PR Rising Star (Asia) in 2018 for under 30 achievers and was awarded the title NQT of the Year by multi-academy trust United Learning in 2020. Elly was born and raised in Birmingham and is passionate about the city's unique history and offerings.

Sapreena Kumari

Sapreena Kumari

Sapreena has worked in education for 14 years, in further education colleges and most recently in higher education. All roles have focused on social mobility and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter (or re-enter education). She has worked at Aston University since 2016 and is responsible for the university’s admissions, recruitment and widening participation remit and in 2019 won the 2019 Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Future Face of Public Sector and Education for her social mobility work.

Outside of work, Sapreena supports organisations to meet their social mobility and widening participation agendas with a number of board positions, she is Vice Chair of Titan Education Trust’s executive committee, chair of TAG Network West Midland’s Young Professional Network as well as a an academy representative of a multi academy trust and a governor of a sixth form college.

Sapreena was born in Birmingham and is a huge advocate of the city, its educational opportunities and the divers culture of the region. She can be best summed up by her passion and enthusiasm for social mobility and the transformative power of education and the impact it can have on people’s lives. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is one of her favourite places in Birmingham.

Liam Darbon

Liam Darbon

Liam Darbon is Head of Omnichannel Trading at Tate, a world-renowned family of art galleries spanning the UK, with a mission to increase the understanding and enjoyment of art. Liam leads on the commercial strategy across Tate and its trading subsidiaries, championing the customer experience across all channels. Prior to Tate, Liam held senior commercial leadership positions at the John Lewis Partnership and has also worked for American Express and the marketing agency Syncredible. Liam became a Trustee of BMT in September 2021, previously serving on our Trading Board since 2016.

Tony Simpson

Tony Simpson

Tony Simpson is Partner at Oliver Wyman, a leading global management consulting firm, where he has advised and restructured some of the world’s leading media, sport, and entertainment groups. Tony also has experience in the arts and culture sector and spent five years as an Advisory Board Member to the Black Cultural Archives (BCA). Born and raised in Birmingham, Tony was a singer-songwriter in the city in the 1980s, in New Wave band ‘021’, and is still connected to the Birmingham Music Archives.

Tony also brings international museums experience having previously worked for, and advised, both Qatar Museums (previously Qatar Museums Authority) and the Abu Dhabi Government, on Culture and International Partnerships.