Our Current Board Members
Members of the board are elected by our ordinary and family members. Find the details of our current board members below:
I was brought up in the North East (in Heddon on the Wall) and returned to the region in 2018 to take up my position as Professor of Computer Science at Northumbria University. I have a Ph.D. from Warwick, and have previously worked at Liverpool, Exeter, and Manchester Metropolitan Universities. My academic research focuses on the power of collectives - from molecules in a test-tube to people in a crowd - and I have a deep commitment to furthering public engagement with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. I am the organizer of the current "NU Ideas at the Lit and Phil" series of talks, and I am also an active contributor to the Speakers for Schools charity. I have written one popular science book ("Genesis Machines: The New Science of Biocomputing"), and am currently working on my second. I live in Gateshead with my teenage daughter and our rescue cat, Jezzie.
I have been a member of the board since 2016. In my previous terms of office I chaired the education subcommittee. This allowed me to support our highly successful Creative Journeys project with Bridges School and November Club, and other initiatives including creative writing for young refugees, educational projects about the First World War, events promoting girls and young women in science and, most recently, our virtual lecture series. I am particularly committed to working with staff, volunteers and fellow board members to bring the Lit & Phil to new audiences, particularly to those who might not otherwise engage with our unique space and collections. In doing so I draw on my expertise as a former curator at the British Library and currently as Deputy Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences at Northumbria University.
A retired British Diplomat and a native of Newcastle, I have been member of the Lit and Phil since I returned to the city in 2009, on the Board for 3 years and a regular voluntary worker at the Society. I am seeking re-election as I believe I have much to offer the society, which I consider one of the treasures of the Northeast. I have just begun the process of seeking new sponsorship for our annual Young Writers Awards. I am particularly keen to see this event continue as I am also involved in local education as a long-serving school governor, a director of a Trust of 11 local state schools and I sit on the Newcastle Schools Forum. I am keen to foster closer links with similar institutions throughout the country. Both to share best practice and to see how we can best ensure the sustained future of the Society. Increasing membership, especially amongst young people, is of particular importance to me. Together with exploring ways in which membership can be better rewarded. I am keen to harness synergies with the Newcastles of the World initiative, including promoting the Society around the world.
Dear members, my contributions over many years to our Society are based around maintaining our building and contents, plus service on the Music and Gramophone and House Committees as chairman. I continue to volunteer for duties in the coffee hatch, lead tours of the building, repair bookbindings and take an active interest in musical activities.
Our Society is beginning to re-establish itself within the cultural imagination of Newcastle and its surrounding districts, a journey that needs vision, some of which I believe I can provide. The next few years will need special vigilance both of our money, and how our building is improved and used to generate income in an increasingly competitive world.
If elected I will work energetically on the Board, together with staff, volunteers and members to enhance the vitality of our independent Society. Please do vote.
I’ve had a varied career in the public and voluntary sectors (women’s aid, community centres, briefly teaching at Warwick University, heading publications at the National Youth Agency). I retired as Assistant Director of Children’s Services in Tower Hamlets, where I worked to ensure proper access for the local Bangladeshi community to excellent public services. Back in the north, I am a trustee of the Northumberland Citizens Advice Bureau. I am writing a bit, publishing less. I am delighted to serve on the Lit and Phil board, to continue Stephenson’s spirit of inclusion and progress.
I have a comprehensive knowledge of our Grade 2* listed building and am aware of the challenges of its maintenance along with the problems involved in trying to make it work in a way which is compatible with disability access. I have served as Chair of the Health and Safety Committee and have also been involved with the organisation and running of the Coffee Hatch along with other volunteering tasks throughout my Membership of the Board.
I joined the Lit&Phil in 1985, and I was chairman of the Board from 2011 to 2018. I represent the Lit&Phil on the Tyne and Wear Heritage Forum and on the Newcastle and Gateshead Heritage group. Since its inception I have been active in the bookbinding group, and I chair the regional group of the Society of Bookbinders. I sing in three local choirs, and have been treasurer of the National Association of Choirs since 2009. I was on the editorial board of the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts since its beginning, and have been an associate editor since 2017. I believe that the members of the Lit&Phil are one of its major assets.
I am a musician/composer/arranger, and have also been a library assistant; publicity manager and graphic designer; exhibition organiser; partner and UK organiser of a small summer language school for 26 years; creator and director of an arts festival in Devon; creator and director of a small rural film festival; UK representative for Spanish film festival; concerts organiser and promoter; arts centre director and theatre project manager for two large community plays. I was elected to the board of the Lit & Phil in 2019 and since then I have helped create the current website, posted over 100 blogs for the site and I edit all the Lit & Phil talks on YouTube. I also instigated the very successful Haiku competition that attracted over 400 world wide entries and researched, designed and created the recent very successful Dante celebrations for which I also raised new funding.
Whilst working as Admin Manager at the BMA I was responsible for the recruitment, training and development of new staff throughout the country. I have been a voluntary Newcastle City Guide for 30 years, which includes leading guided tours, historical research, event planning and planning of each season of walks. For the Lit&Phil I planned routes and have written notes for the in-house tours, including the Behind the Books @the Lit&Phil tours and the Ghostly Lit&Phil tours. In addition I have written and submitted several entries for the North of England Tourism Awards, two of which were successfully shortlisted when we received Highly Commended and Bronze awards. I have been a member of the Lit&Phil for over 20 years and feel my skills in managing the above tasks will be of value to the Society.
Claire joined the Lit&Phil as a Trustee in 2020. She has worked in classical music administration for fifteen years, specialising in artistic programming, communications and operations. She has worked in Germany for Berlin Opera Academy, the UK with Samling Institute for Young Artists and in her native Canada with the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and SweetWater Music Festival. She also sang for ten years with Canada's preeminent professional chamber choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers.
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