Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : North and South East Area Chairs appointed to Arts Council England [November 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 14 November 2023.

The Secretary of State has appointed Annabel Turpin and Sally Shaw MBE as North and South East Area Chairs to Arts Council England for terms of four years.

Sally Shaw MBE – South East Area Chair

Appointed for a four year term commencing 01 December 2023.

Sally is Director of Firstsite, Colchester where she has been for seven years. With the team, she has delivered an exceptional turn-around programme realigning Firstsite with a highly creative and relevant purpose targeted at deploying art and culture as a means of addressing critical challenges in the community such as deprivation, food poverty and inequity.

Sally’s focus on ground-up community collaboration combined with exceptional quality contemporary art has led Firstsite to be recognised nationally and internationally for the gallery’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to win Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2021.

Along with major exhibitions by groundbreaking artists such as Sarah Lucas, Grayson Perry, Everton Wright and Elsa James, Firstsite’s agile and creative projects have included free digital art packs for families across the nation during COVID-19 and galvanising the top national museums across the country through the Great Big Art Exhibition. Firstsite’s innovative Holiday Fun programme has now provided more than 21,000 free meals to children and families in need during school holidays and as a result has engaged thousands of children in art and creativity at Firstsite for the first time.

These initiatives saw Sally recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for Services to the Arts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Sally has also been invited to be a Fellow of the University of Essex Human Rights and Law Centre and is the University of Essex Honorary Fellow 2023.

Previously Sally was Head of Programme at Modern Art Oxford, Deputy Head of Culture for the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Chief Curator for London Underground, Director of Media Art – Bath and Residency Programme Manager at Spike Island, Bristol. She has also established a number of independent projects and programmes including an artist residency programme in an open prison in Gloucestershire.

Annabel Turpin – North Area Chair

Appointed for a four year term commencing 01 December 2023.

Annabel Turpin is Chief Executive of Storyhouse in Chester, one of the country’s largest arts centres, incorporating theatres, a cinema and the city’s library, and welcoming more than 800,000 visitors a year. She is also Co-Director of the 140-strong Future Arts Centres national network, championing the role of arts centres in driving social, economic and cultural change.

In her previous role, as CEO and Artistic Director of ARC in Stockton on Tees, Annabel established the venue as a leading North East arts organisation with national and international influence, including for its Pay What You Decide pricing and arts freelancers’ policies. She founded Venues North, developing best practice through a network of venues supporting artists making new work, and produced and toured new theatre work nationally and internationally.

Prior to her 15 years at ARC, she was Director of Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead from 2002-2008.

She is a long-term advocate of purposeful strategic collaboration, and horizontal and vertical sector partnerships. She played a significant role in securing £20 million+ investment in local creative industries as Deputy Chair and Strategic Lead for Creative Place for the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Business Board. She has previously held a number of board positions including North East Culture Partnership, North East Screen industries Partnership, Sunderland Culture and Tangled Feet.

Remuneration and Governance Code

Area Chairs of Arts Council England are remunerated £6858 per year. This appointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election. Sally Shaw MBE and Annabel Turpin have not declared any significant political activity.