All change at the top as sector bodies announce new leadership - Museums Association

All change at the top as sector bodies announce new leadership

Appointees to head up ACE museum team, Heritage Fund and Creative Industries Council
Eilish McGuinness, the incoming chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund
Eilish McGuinness, the incoming chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Photograph by Luke MacGregor

Changes in leadership and governance have been announced at a number of key cultural, creative and museum sector bodies this week.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund have appointed a new chief executive, Eilish McGuinness.

She will take over from Ros Kerslake, who is stepping down at the end of this year. McGuinness, who has been at the lottery funding body since 1996 in a variety of roles, is currently the executive director of business delivery.

Heritage Fund chair Simon Thurley said: “I am delighted that the trustees have chosen Eilish McGuinness as chief executive to succeed Ros Kerslake. The trustees were presented with an extremely strong field for one of the best jobs in heritage and we are delighted to appoint someone with wide experience, outstanding management and leadership ability and a strong strategic sense. I personally, and the trustee board, look forward to working with Eilish over the coming years.”

Emmie Kell has been announced as museums and cultural property director at Arts Council England Image: Cornwall Museums Partnership

Meanwhile, Arts Council England (ACE) has appointed Emmie Kell as its new museums and cultural property director. Kell replaces Kate Bellamy, who left the arts council in August to become director of the Clore Duffield Foundation.


Kell joins ACE from Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP), which promotes the interests of museums and heritage organisations in Cornwall. She has been CEO of the charity since it was founded in 2015.

Kell said: “It has been a privilege to work with the museum community in Cornwall and Scilly over the last six years. I shall miss CMP colleagues greatly; they are a fantastic team and I wish them all the very best. I have no doubt that there is an exciting future for the charity and for museums in Cornwall.” 

ACE said in a statement: “Arts Council England proudly welcomes Emmie to the team and looks forward to working with her to deliver our strategy Let’s Create and to ensure that our museums, collections and cultural property thrive and enrich the lives of more and more people across this country in the years ahead.”

The CMP board will announce recruitment plans for a new CEO in the coming weeks and said that there would be no interruption to its work during the recruitment process.

Peter Bazalgette is the incoming industry co-chair of the Creative Industries Council Image: Creative Commons

There is also a new chair at the Creative Industries Council, the joint forum between industry and the UK Government that works to shape the creative industries policy landscape. Peter Bazalgette, the former chair of ACE, will take over as industry co-chair on 1 December.

Bazalgette will lead the forum alongside two government co-chairs, the culture secretary Nadine Dorries and the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The creative sector has also seen the merger of two independent industry stakeholders, the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, which have come together and rebranded as Creative UK, a network that aims to promote, connect and drive investment in the creative industries.  

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