Founding Director of the Centre for Culture and Creativity at the University of Lincoln, Sukhy Johal MBE, has been appointed Chair of the Arts Council’s Midlands Area Council.
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.
New appointments to ACE’s Area Councils were made by an assessment panel that included Sir Nicholas Serota, Helen Williams (Head of Heritage at DCMS), and William Shawcross (Chair of the Charity Commission), and approved by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
With more than 25 years’ experience working in a range of senior roles across the arts and cultural sector, Sukhy offers a wealth of experience in local government including cultural services and economic development. Born and raised in Nottingham, he started working as a volunteer at Nottingham’s Apna Arts at the age of 16 and steered the organisations transformation in becoming the New Art Exchange. Locally, he has supported a range of ground-breaking projects across the city, including Lincoln’s Frequency Festival of Digital Culture, The International Bomber Command Memorial Centre and, as part of 2015’s city-wide Magna Carta 800 celebrations, was appointed Director of the 1215.today digital arts platform.
He was appointed as the Founding Director of the Centre for Culture & Creativity at the University of Lincoln in 2016. The Centre is the first of its kind in the UK, aiming to foster new opportunities for partnerships between organisations and individuals working across art, media and technology, engineering, science and design disciplines locally, nationally and internationally.
Sukhy, who will continue in his role at the University after joining the Area Council as Chair, said of his appointment: “England has a world class reputation for creative excellence and Arts Council England is integral to supporting its growth. I’m delighted to be joining National Council as Chair for the Midlands. This part of the country has an ambitious and outstanding cultural ecology alongside an exciting energy of talent pushing innovation and new ideas in taking great art to all communities. The Midlands has a distinctive proposition through our diversity of people and places, from our dynamic cities to the riches of our rurality.”
Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, said: “I am delighted that the Founding Director of the University of Lincoln’s Centre for Culture & Creativity, Sukhy Johal MBE, has been appointed to this prestigious and important role as Arts Council England Midlands Area Chair. It is testament not only to Sukhy’s stature and standing in the UK arts sector, built through his outstanding commitment and contribution to developing the arts and cultural sector in this region over many years, but also the high esteem in which Lincoln itself is now held regionally and nationally as a vibrant and exciting cultural destination where arts, heritage and the creative industries thrive.”
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “Sukhy has a wealth of experience within the cultural sector and I’m looking forward to working with him to ensure that arts and culture across the Midlands continues to thrive.”