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Barbican announces new appointments to its Board and Trust

Image of the Barbican Lakeside terrace in early evening with lights glowing

The Barbican today announces Michael 'Mikey J' Asante MBE and Despina Tsatsas will join the Barbican’s Board, while Stephanie Camu, Cas Donald, Ann Kenrick and Sian Westerman have been appointed to the Barbican Centre Trust, the charitable and fundraising arm of the Barbican raising vital funds for its arts and learning programme.

With extensive expertise and varied experience spanning the arts, public service, and financial sectors, all six appointees start their term as Board members/Trustees from September 2022.

Claire Spencer, CEO of the Barbican, said: “I’m very excited to welcome Mikey, Despina, Stephanie, Cas, Ann and Sian to the Barbican family. They all bring something completely unique to the Barbican and their expertise and commitment will be instrumental as we continue to deliver an exciting programme of art, learning and community projects, as well as embark on the biggest upgrade of our building in the Barbican’s history. On behalf of everyone at the Barbican, welcome to the team.”

Tom Sleigh, Chair of the Barbican Board, said: “Despina and Mikey bring an impressive spectrum of expertise and experience to the Barbican Board. It’s an incredibly exciting time to join our Board as a new creative vision is being implemented, and we are embarking on a major new renewal of the Centre, which will allow us to create spaces that better support our varied and evolving programme, embedding sustainability, and being more inclusive and accessible. I look forward to working with them alongside our other brilliant members in supporting the Barbican through this period of growth and change.”

Farmida Bi CBEChair of the Barbican Centre Trust, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our new Trustees Ann, Cas, Sian and Stephanie to the Barbican Centre Trust. They join the Barbican at an exciting time as we mark its 40th anniversary and look for new supporters to help us realise our truly unique arts and learning programme. Alongside the recent appointment of our inaugural CEO Claire Spencer, who joins Artistic Director, Will Gompertz at the helm, and the Barbican Renewal project, this is an important time to shape the future of this iconic centre, and I am thrilled that we’re all part of this exciting journey.”  

A registered charity established in 1986, the Barbican Centre Trust exists to raise vital funds for the Barbican. To keep its programme accessible to everyone, and to keep investing in the artists it works with, the Barbican needs to raise more than 60% of its income through ticket sales, commercial activities and fundraising every year. More info about the Barbican Centre Trust can be found here.  

Barbican Board appointments

Michael 'Mikey J' Asante MBE is a renowned London-born producer, composer and DJ, whose 20-year career history is firmly etched in the UK black music industry. In 2001, he co-founded the world-renowned, Olivier Award-winning hip-hop dance company Boy Blue, who are Associate Artists at the Barbican Theatre. Asante is also an Honorary Fellow and Professor of electronic music at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a Governor at The Place Theatre. As a producer, Asante has worked with several major label artists and composes for television, film and theatre. Asante received an MBE for his services to Hip Hop Dance and Music in the 2022 New Year’s Honours.

Despina Tsatsas is a theatre producer and creative leader with 20 years’ experience across subsidised and commercial sectors. Previous roles include Executive Director at London’s Young Vic theatre; Executive Producer at production companies Punchdrunk International and Frantic Assembly. She is currently establishing a new artist-led experiences division for independent UK music entity ATC Group. Other prior roles include producing, general management and fundraising experience at Mark Rubinstein (West End); the Young Vic (as lead producer); the Almeida theatre; and ATG. Despina is a Clore Leadership Programme Fellow and has been a SOLT Stage One apprentice.

Barbican Centre Trust appointments

Stephanie Camu is a founding partner of the independent artist management consultancy Southern & Partners specialising in offering strategic advice on a broad range of matters and fostering the widest possible exposure for their work and developing their legacy. For over 20 years she has worked closely with artists, organising and curating solo and group exhibitions in commercial galleries, international institutions, and heritage sites. Stephanie has been a trustee of Artangel for eight years, and before moving into the arts, she worked in senior management positions in the television industry for the news and current affairs networks CNN and CNBC in London. 

Cas Donald has been involved in arts advocacy and philanthropy for over twenty years following a career in mineral broking. She has supported and sat on various boards including The Royal Court Development Board, Headlong Touring Theatre, The Battersea Arts Centre, as well as Theatre 503. She has also supported new directors’ programmes at the Royal Court and the National Theatre and speaks at the National Theatre’s Directors’ Course on Philanthropy. For 20 years she was a Trustee of The Kipungani Schools’ Trust in Kenya, responsible for building 17 schools and educating over 30,000 children.

Ann Kenrick has just retired after five years as the first female ‘Master’/CEO transforming the Charterhouse, for which she received the Freedom of the City. She has been awarded both an OBE and France’s Ordre National du Mérite for her innovative work as Secretary General of policy forum, the Franco-British Council. Her passion for promoting urban cycling led to her becoming Chair of the London Cycling Campaign, contributing to a 25% increase in London cyclists by introducing segregated cycle paths. Her early career included ten years in Marketing at IBM.

Sian Westerman is a Senior Adviser at Rothschild & Co in the Global Advisory Division based in London, and a non-executive Director of Fenwick Limited. She is a Non-Executive Director of the British Fashion Council and was President of the BFC’s Business and Investment Pillar and Co-chair of the BFC Fashion Trust from 2016 to 2020. She is a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and a member of the Development Committee of the Eton John Aids Foundation. She has had a number of other roles in the arts including being on the Advocates Board of the Royal Court Theatre and serving two full terms on the Board of English National Ballet and Chairing their Development Committee.

Image credit - from top left to bottom right: Michael 'Mikey J' Asante MBE, Stephanie Camu, Cas Donald, Ann Kenrick, Despina Tsatsas, Sian Westerman