Hello! I’ve held senior roles in the cultural sector and local government in Scotland, the North East and East of England. The common denominator throughout my career has been a passion for creating transformational partnerships between the arts, education bodies and local communities. I instigated a partnership to locate the Royal Opera House production workshops in Thurrock as part of a new centre for education and vocational training in creative industries, led the development of the Arts Council’s first national apprenticeship programme to open up progression routes into the cultural sector. It was great to play a part in assisting Metal to set up in Southend and Peterborough and am delighted to be co chair! Having recently retired from my role as Director of Employment, Skills and Culture with the London Borough of Islington, I now thoroughly enjoy having more time to travel, sing, mentor, and support cultural and educational organisations as a trustee.
Our Board is made up of 12 members, from a range of different sectors and bringing a wealth of experience to the organisation. Our founder, Jude Kelly CBE, is still a driving force at Metal, and sits on our Board as Chair, supporting our other Board members and Patrons.
Fauziya Johnson (She/Her)
Hey – Fauziya (or Foo) here! I joined Metal as a trustee in March 2021. I was brought up half in West London, half in Liverpool, so I had the best of both worlds! I currently work as a self employed artist/curator, I co-found a zine called ROOT-ed, and I work at AutoTrader – an interesting mix, haha. I completed my Fine Art degree in 2015 (feels like yesterday). My hobbies include watching film analysis’ and documentaries. I think my favourite achievements are getting a university scholarship and ROOT-ed Zine. My fave film is Kill Your Darlings – it’s such an important queer film and is based on a true story. My absolute favourite memory at Metal is the Beverley Bennett workshops a few years ago – it was so intimate, natural and full of candour.
Ian Thompson (He/Him)
Hi, I’ve been on the board since it started in 2002. I had a brand design company in Leeds from 1984 ‘til 2018 when I decided to explore other sides of my creativity. I did some filmmaking and then hatched a plan to start writing the novel I’d been waiting so long to embark on (thankyou lockdown). Much as I enjoyed branding, my life experiences since the sale of my business have been much more fulfilling – supporting my wife in her standup/comedy burlesque characterisations, being a grandad and watching my now grown-up children explore their own creative paths. I like to walk everywhere, meet everyone and learn from everything. I’m a child of the seventies, so I’m all about music, film, books and art like a character from a Nick Hornby novel, except without the football knowledge.
Jamie Beddard (He/Him)
Hi, I’ve been delighted to be involved with Metal over the last 8 years as a board member, and last year I got to use Metal’s Chalkwell Hall in Southend-on-Sea for a creative retreat: a lovely time in lovely Southend. I am currently co-Artistic Director of Diverse City, Lead Artist of Extraordinary bodies, and Agent for Change at the New Wolsey Theatre. I’m a Londoner, have recently been working in the Arctic Circle and am keen on traveling both for pleasure and work. My favourite song is Planet Claire by the B52’s for no particular reason, and I’m currently reading Feral by George Monbiot. I have a number of sad pursuits including following Ipswich Town Football Club and some obscure ancient bands.
Jean Campbell (She/Her)
I am Jamaican born and North London raised. An arts educator, consultant and trainer, specialising in work with enslavement history and anti- racism practice for Museum professional. I joined Metal in 2021. I have worked in arts related work, including art therapy, for over 45 years, deeply privileged to have engaged countless people from all walks of life in looking at art, making it, learning from and also sharing their hopes and expectations for arts organisations. An ongoing, though sporadic, arts practice, publications on art and therapy and an MA (with distinction) in Narrative Environments from Central St Martins (completed in 2019, aged 65!) add to my skills and resources. My favourite Metal experience was the Thames Estuary Festival. Being lashed with rain and wind on an open top bus between taking in exciting and inspiring installations and performances across venues heightened the unique experience. My favourite Album (at the moment) is Breadths by Sweet Honey in the Rock. Deep female inspiration that shores me up from the inside out. Art and activism in harmony.
John Bligh (He/Him)
Hello! I’m a Youth & Community Music Worker and Team Leader based in the Picton / Wavertree wards of Liverpool. I’ve been in this role since 1986, specialising in the use of rhythm and sound as a tool and medium for approaching developmental work with young people and others, particularly to address issues around class identity, personal development and resolution of traumatic life experiences. I work collaboratively as a multi-instrumental musician with young people and others, to try to awaken and develop young people’s own sense of artistry. I strive to challenge and be challenged by young people to unlock inherent artistic potential. I also enjoy bringing together young artists and performers to create and establish networks of support and collaboration. I have also worked as a freelance artist employed by Manchester University to work with young people developing a model of working in which participants work alongside professional musicians learning to play instruments, performing as an ensemble, writing their own music and recording their own tracks. I also worked as a drummer delivering West & North African drumming workshops in Liverpool and the North West.
Jude Kelly CBE – Chair (She/Her)
Hello, I founded Metal in 2002 to champion the rights of artists and communities, and to act as a catalyst for change. I’m a theatre director by trade and have directed over 200 productions, and been Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Southbank Centre. As well as Metal I’ve founded a range of cultural organisations including The WOW Foundation, which runs WOW – Women of the World Festivals around the world, celebrating the achievements of women and girls and confronting global gender injustice. I split my time between London and the Kent coast, where I enjoy windsurfing and swimming in the sea.
Matthew Bradbury (He/Him)
Hi! I’m the Chief Executive of Nene Park Trust; the charity which owns and manages Nene Park in Peterborough and other valuable local spaces and culture and leisure resources. I’ve worked throughout the UK and have also held senior positions within The Land Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and other ‘land’ based organisations with a focus on my passions – land management, conservation, culture and the arts and health and wellbeing. I am also a Fellow of the Landscape Institute. As well as leading the team and developing a wide portfolio of activity and cultural events and facilities in Peterborough, I hold a number of non-executive positions including Vice Chair of Natural Cambridgeshire, Vice Chair of The Broads Authority National Park, Chair of The Parks Alliance, Chair of British Mountaineering Council’s Access and Conservation Trust and a Trustee of Living Sport. I also chair the Malcolm Bradbury Trust which supports the arts with a particular focus on creating inclusive opportunities for all. I’ve also been instrumental in developing ‘land art’ and sculpture/arts trails in many locations in the UK.
David Hockney, Sir Ian McKellen, Nihal Arthanayake and Paul Morley
Simon Leftley MBE (He/Him)
Hi! I retired after working for 36 years in local government and health, and started as a social worker in 1984, working with older people, adults, and children in several roles until my last post as the Deputy Chief Executive of Southend Borough Council. From 2007, I led Housing services, Children’s services, Public Health and Culture and Community services in Southend. I received an MBE in 2020 for my leadership working with adults and children with mental health and learning disabilities. I’ve worked closely with Metal for 13 years in a number of initiatives including Village Green and Village Green Next generation and the Estuary festival. I was born in Southend and have a passion to see all of our diverse communities participate and experience high quality culture and to see Metal develop and grow. I am particularly interested in music and literature and I am now able to travel to experience other cultures in all its variety.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (She/Her)
Hello, I came to the UK in 1972 from Uganda after completing an English undergraduate degree at Makerere University. I was awarded a scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies at Oxford where I obtained an M.Phil degree in literature in 1975. Now a journalist, I have written for The Guardian, Observer, The New York Times and many other newspapers. I was the first regular columnist of colour on a national newspaper in the UK, the first female Muslim too. For someone of my background, politically on the left and a committed anti-racist, to find a voice and space in the mainstream media has been challenging and rewarding. I am President of the Institute of Family Therapy and campaign against forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and for the rights of women and girls. I also have recently been shortlisted for columnist of the year in the National Press Awards!