Sonia Bassey, Chair
Awarded an MBE in January 2017 Sonia is currently a Director of Public Sector Transformation for Cheshire and Warrington leading transformation across the sub-region. Sonia has an extensive background in community and arts regeneration and engagement, predominantly in BME communities and was instrumental in the development and establishment of a long standing exhibition on the 1981 Toxteth Riots – 30 Years On.
Sonia was key to leading Plus Dane Groups employability and community engagement strategies, introducing large scale events to the Liverpool 8 area, supporting Capital of Culture in 2008. Sonia is former Chair of the Merseyside Black History Month Group and is currently a member of Liverpool’s Culture and Tourism Select Committee. In a voluntary capacity Sonia is a founding member and Chair of Mandela8 and Co-Chair of National Museums Liverpool RESPECT Group.
Gad Kuju has worked for over 25 years in the creative Arts Industry and cultural sector, passionately advocating and acting for a deep and lasting change across the cultural landscape on Merseyside. Gad also freelanced on a variety of projects in and around Merseyside, and on the Wirral in particular, working on a series of art and music events commissioned by Wirral Borough Council. The commission from Wirral Borough Council was to present a two-day arts festival to launch the Wirral Council arts initiative, Hamilton Quarter and to celebrate and provide a platform for local artistic achievement. Key areas of interest include how the roles creativity, inclusion and, diversity can create a broader cultural literacy across society, as well as a commitment to building a stronger economic Arts platform for all.
Gad is currently an Information Management Officer at the European Community Liaison Office in Liverpool, responsible for providing advice and guidance on the effective management of information across the HMRC the EU and other government departments. He was a finalist in the HMRC Shine Awards 2014 (Making a Difference to People) and was the winner at the Inspirational Person Pride of Civil Service Awards (North West) 2017. Gad was awarded a BEM Civil Division in the New Years Honours List in 2018 (Diversity and Inclusion).
Director and Founder at HeselTech 360 Ltd IT & Tech consultancy and recently appointed Chief Operating Officer for Precedent Group, a diversity and inclusion focused talent search and management consultancy. Serge is responsible for overseeing the operations of these businesses from commercial aspects through to IT Systems and operations. Serge gained leadership and business development experience whilst spending over a decade with Apple Inc as a senior manager, has a raft of contacts in the business community, and has an in-depth understanding of big box retail and premium brands.
Serge graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2016 with an MBA (Master of Business Administration) with Distinction; his thesis was concerned with the ‘Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Business Environments’. Serge is also a qualified Audio Engineer, graduating from the world renowned School of Audio Engineering in 2006.
Anna currently leads the UK cultural activity under the GREAT Britain campaign, supporting collaboration between nations and increased exporting from the UK culture & creative industries. With over 8500 culture organisations within her in roster, she manages the Culture Diary programme that provides the online tool to collate all domestic and international activity from the sector on behalf of British Government. Prior to this, Anna ran the biggest DIY art festival of the UK at Managing Director, mobilising communities to partake in co-curated weekend extravaganza called Hackney WickED, in east London.
Curation and Creative Direction has always underwritten areas of her work; developing cultural and creative showcases for business tourism events promoting Liverpool internationally at the start of her career; over the last 10 years curating the special exhibitions and overseeing creative direction for Hackney WickED, developing annual themes and activations to respond to the world around us; including an exhibition co-curated with former BYA Gavin Turk called <INSIDE OUT>.
A highlight of Anna’s career was the Creative Director role for British House Rio 2016; where on behalf of Mayor of London and GREAT Britain Campaign, she curated two showcases of the best of British culture & creativity, named ‘Made in London’ incorporating breaking grime artists and 20 other mayor and grassroots artists and organisations – a resounding success. Anna has also enjoyed a range of marketing-communications- branding consultancy projects for major players including Royal Albert Hall, VisitBritain, Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008, Rose Bruford College of Performing Arts; Morning Gloryville; Africa Oyé (the UK’s biggest African music festival); Sound City; Bestival; Royal Horticultural Society; and Liverpool Hope University.
Chris is the CEO of Jazz North, the development agency for jazz music in the north of England. Prior to that he was Head of Artist Development at the international Pirate Studios network, running their talent development programmes, live streams and festival stages. Before that he was at Arts Council England, providing enormous support for emerging talent.
He has raised over £1m for music organisations, been a promoter, label owner and a consultant for the MMF, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and advisor to PRSF. He also sits on the boards of Sea Change and the River Reeves Foundation. Twitter @ChrisnBye