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In Nov 2018 I took on the role of Director for Marks Hall Estate in north Essex. The estate is 2300 acres with a large geographically zoned public arboretum at its heart, and further comprises historic woodlands, five farms, Essex barns, lakes, and several heritage buildings. The last owner of the estate, Thomas Phillips Price, bequeathed his house and land to the nation in his will of 1927, to be administered under a Trust overseen by the then director of Kew Gardens. He stipulated that the estate should be used for the advancement of Agriculture, Arboriculture and Forestry. He died in 1932, leaving a life interest for his widow who died in 1966, at which point the estate reverted to the nation. 

 

In the early 1940s Marks Hall Estate, including the grand Jacobean mansion itself, was requisitioned as a base for WWII fighter and bomber forces, hosting RAF Squadrons and US Air Force Divisions. Some of the base infrastructure survives and we are always finding items which will help us describe this important part of the site's history in future. Mrs Price had the mansion demolished in 1950.

 

Today Marks Hall Estate is a thriving visitor attraction and hire venue, which hosts large public events including a bi-annual Sculpture Exhibition throughout the arboretum. I can not wait to take Marks Hall Estate in to the next chapter in its history, find exciting ways to relate its stories and secrets, and develop a very special place where people can experience and learn the value of nature.

A New Challenge

 

In Nov 2016 I accepted a full time post as Head of Museums and Arts for the London Borough of Waltham Forest. My challenges are to:

 

  • Provide leadership and manage the amazing William Morris Gallery (Museum of the Year 2013), its staff, world-class collection, and all exhibitions and activities therein.
  • Research and devise a new vision and implement a new business plan for Vestry House Museum and Archives, a beautiful collection of historic buildings and public gardens in Walthamstow Village.
  • Manage the Borough arts programme, contribute to the cultural strategy for Waltham Forest, and be part of the bid to be the Mayor of London's first ever Borough of Culture.

 

2018 UPDATE: Highlights include winning the Borough of Culture award for 2019, achieving Arts Council Designation status for the William Morris Gallery, implementing a new local cinema programme and creating an exciting new vision for Vestry House Museum. 

 

Image (Andrew Baker): William Morris Gallery lit by the phenomenal 'Nest' installation to launch the Mayor of London's Borough of Culture programme, Jan 2019, produced by my friends, the incredible Marshmallow Laser Feast and musician Erland Cooper.

 

Young Investors

 

What does future financial security look like for young people today? How can the investment and finance world engage effectively with a demographic that thinks and acts so differently?

 

In the summer of 2016 I proposed a series of groundbreaking events. More:

 

 

Are We There Yet?

Exhibition

 

Programme Gallery

The Pithay, Bristol BS1 2LZ 

 

Open 12-7pm Weds-Sat

Friday 18 Nov-Saturday 10 Dec 2016

 

When Banksy’s Dismaland landed on photographer Barry Cawston's doorstep in 2015, he was utterly transfixed. On the opening night he began to document the spectacle, the art, and people’s reactions to it:

 

I photographed Dismaland fifteen times. On each occasion, I wandered Weston’s backstreets seeking out images that would play off the art in Banksy’s rundown Bemusement Park – and I knew when these images were shown together, the lines between art and reality would blur.”

 

Cawston began to pair up his pictures from the two locations in a fictitious day to night sequence, and a new photographic story emerged - detailing the many issues and social concerns which were central to Banksy’s Dismaland.

 

With the help of hundreds of international Kickstarter supporters, and collaborators - Dismaland contributor Tristan Manco; Bristol graffiti artist Felix FLX Braun (behind Bristol’s famous Boris/Trump Brexit mural which went viral in June; Dismal Steward Farhath Siddiqui; and Hopper Projects, Cawston’s images have become a successful book and touring exhibition called ‘Are We There Yet?’.  More:

 

Kiss of Death

 

Commissioned mural

 

Bristol, 2016

 

In June 2016, We Are Europe asked me to source a respected grafitti crew for a mural, to be a lynchpin image for their campaign. I chose the uber-talented Paintsmiths who I have worked with in the past. This amazing 15' high mural and viral, international coverage, has received more than 1,000,000,000 online hits. 

 

The image, entitled 'Kiss of Death' is a take-off of the famous 1990 Berlin wall mural by Dmitri Vrubel depicting Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in a fraternal embrace, captured in a photo taken during the 30th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the German Democratic Republic in 1979.

 

In July 2016, the Kiss of Death image was taken up by the media again when PM Theresa May made Boris Johnson UK Foreign Secretary.

 

Are We There Yet? Book

 

I managed the campaign to raise £15,439 on Kickstarter to self-publish 'Are We There Yet? A Day Trip to Banksy's Dismaland & Other Stories', a new 250pp book by photographer Barry Cawston

 

The idea for the project started with hundreds of images which Cawston took of Banksy's Dismaland (2015) and life in downtown Weston Super Mare over several weeks. The project became an obsession for him.

 

The art featured in Dismaland was conceived to challenge some of the biggest issues we face, head on. In the same vein, Cawston's images scream, Where the hell are we going? Are we there yet? Looking through them, the lines between life and art completely disappear and the stories get ever darker. 

 

I managed crowdfunding and publication of the book in association with Barry Cawston and the Drugstore Gallery. More:

FROM THE ARCHIVE:

 

 

Diamond Queen

 

London 2012

 

Client: Jeff Robb, Artist

 

I was  really pleased to help get the cover of Time and score a lead interview in the magazine for artists Jeff Robb & Chris Levine, who worked together on a series of 3D lenticular portraits of HRH The Queen from 2003-2012.

 

In 2012 Robb and Levine worked with Asprey jewellers to create the 'Diamond Queen'. Asprey added a diamond diadem to the portrait, in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. 

 

Time journalist Anoosh Chakelian interviewed Robb and Levine at the unveiling of the Diamond Queen at Asprey's, Mayfair.

 

The stunning 3D portraits featured in a touring exhibition 'The Queen: Art and Image' which culminated at the National Portrait Gallery, London in September 2012.

 

Full article here:

 

Stolen Faces Exhibition,

Englefield House

 

London, March 2012

 

Client: Johan Andersson, Artist

 

I obtained several pieces of coverage for 'Stolen Faces' an ambitious exhibition project in the Elizabethan long gallery of Englefield House in Berkshire, by emerging portrait painter, Johan Andersson.

 

Andersson's 'Stolen Faces' series represents people who have been marginalised by society, or who can not escape their current situation, such as sweatshop workers and child soldiers.

 

After graduating from Central St.Martins in 2008 Andersson became the youngest ever person to be shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award and named First in The Independent's top 20 Artists 2008. In the same year he was selected for the Jerwood Contemporary Painters prize.

 

Since then Andersson has gone onto exhibit work along side artists including Anish Kapoor, Tracy Emin, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk and Howard Hodgkin. Andersson is now based in LA.

 

The Telegraph online

Chihuly Exhibition

 

London, December 2011

 

Client: Halcyon Gallery, Mayfair London

 

We managed the media campaign for a major new exhibition of work by Seattle based international artist, Dale ChihulyThe show was a massive hit with public and media alike. Chihuly regularly draws in audiences of hundreds of thousands of people, whenever he exhibits, all over the world. Extensive coverage across print, broadcast and online media included:

 

BBC News

BBC World Service

Time Out

 

Crimes of Passion

 

Bristol, March 2009

 

Client: Royal West of England Academy

 

My exhibition 'Crimes of Passion: Street Art in Bristol' at the Royal West of England Academy galleries received an incredible amount of online reviews and coverage through web forums and blogs, as well as broadcast and printed reviews.

 

This exhibition - which we had to extend by 2 weeks due to popular demand - gave us our first taste of the power of social media to come, as word of mouth about the show spread like wildfire online. A huge 'community of interest' literally sprang up overnight.

 

25,000+ people saw the show in 6 weeks, more than the venue's annual footfall at that time!

 

BBC TV and online
Culture 24
Banksy Forum

 

See more details about the show here.

 

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