From John Brady – Independents Biennial Facilitator….
In this current period of research and consultation in regard to future ‘options’ for the Independents the Board’s key role is that of a thinktank.
During this thinktank phase the Board has the simplest of structures,i.e. an unincorporated association. Jon Barraclough (at the invitation of John Brady) has agreed to be chair during this period and a handful of non-artist professionals with interest in the Visarts have been invited to join the Board. In doing this we are following expectations expressed at the 060106 meeting of the Independents Future Planning Group and complying with Section  MEMBERS of the Independents Constitution.
Some are interested in contributing to a ‘thinktank’ only and will step down in April, others may stay on.
Notwithstanding, all are obliged to step down at the first AGM, though they may stand for election for another term.
Below are posted biographical profiles for each of them. They are independent individuals with full-time careers contributing their personal free-time and energy, without material reward, in the hope they can benefit the Independents cause.
I trust you will welcome them and demonstrate there is a positive context in which we can all progress. Please join them, and the two artist board candidates who will have by then received most of the votes, at an open meeting for Independents at the Everyman Theatre Foyer at 18.00hrs on Monday Feb 12th, 2007.
Jon Barraclough (Chair)
Studied Fine Art Media at Bradford and Graphic Design at Newcastle before working as a photographer in New York and London in the 1980s. Working in the music and film industries for Directors such as Nicolas Roeg and Bernardo Bertolucci, he was a founder member of the Unknown Studio in London and exhibited drawings in group and solo shows there. He began teaching at Newcastle and Liverpool Schools of Art in the early 90s then became Head of School at Liverpool between 1991 and 1996. He now co-directs Nonconform a visual communications consultancy in Liverpool and has exhibited drawings and photography in touring group shows and solo shows in the UK. Nonconform is a publishing and marketing company with particular expertise in the arts and creative industries and consults with Tate Liverpool, Bluecoat, Cornerhouse in Manchester and a varied range of artists both nationally and internationally.
A fine art graduate of Liverpool Polytechnic, Bryan Biggs is Artistic Director of Bluecoat Arts Centre. He has curated numerous exhibitions and events by UK and international artists, most recently Walk On for the 2006 Shanghai Biennale. As well as writing on art and popular culture, he maintains his art practice, mostly drawing, exhibiting in various exhibitions, including Jerwood Drawing Prize 2003 (third prizewinner).
I arrived in Liverpool in the mid 70’s from London. I loved the architecture, the cultural endurance of the people and the river, and I still do. I practice as a Barrister in and around Liverpool. I bought my first painting from a show in the Fylde in the late 70’s and have been collecting since then as opportunity and funds allow. My interest is in Contemporary Art, prints, paintings and sculpture, but have also been seduced by 20th century British Wood Engraving, thus breaking my original resolve to buy only the work of living artists, but then, nobody is perfect.
Richard Cooke is Professor of Children’s Medicine at the University of Liverpool. He works there and at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. A past committee member for the Friends of Tate Liverpool, Richard currently chairs the Arts Committee at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. They commission work, and organise other arts events such as music and solo artist and college exhibitions in the hospital. His son is a recent graduate in fine art and is struggling to make a living as a painter in Edinburgh!
Dr. Rob MacDonald
Teaches at LJMU’s Centre for Architecture, is an independent Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) and, as an architect, is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Rob has sat on various committees for arts and housing co-operatives thus gaining insight into key aspects of financial management and marketing. He leads the St.James Gardens Bridge Project that intends to connect Gambia Terrace and the Anglican Cathedral. As an architect he is especially interested in the problems artists face in finding creative space and offers his professional skills to help facilitate a co-ordinated response to such problems.
Sally moved to Liverpool in 2001 to work on the European Capital of Culture 2008 bid. In the 80s she was Visual Arts Officer / Deputy Director, North West Arts. She helped set up Cornerhouse and Castlefield Gallery, co-founded Artists Newsletter, supported a network of artist-lead studio groups and pioneered funding for environmental art.
In the 90s she set up CBAT, the Cardiff arts regeneration agency, collaborating with artists, architects, and communities on built environment commissions and project managed a £9m art build scheme. She was Board member, Chapter Arts; governor of University of Central Lancashire; on EuroCities Culture Committee; Company Secretary for arts organisations and raised funds from public, private and charitable sectors.
She is now a cultural consultant: work includes the Kurt Schwitters MerzBarn project in Cumbria; NW innovation fund to support creative industries; Public Art Strategy, Bootle; Creative Masterplan, Weavers Triangle, Burnley and feasibility study, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal.
The Art Organisation (Gregory Scott Gurner and Robert Howie Smith)
The Art Organisation’s objectives show concern for the regeneration of disused property and the introduction of arts to the community. TAO aim to assist the promotion of our members by providing the opportunity to exhibit and show, use of workshop and rehearsal space, TAO facilities and equipment, and providing access to a network of artists, actors and performers through our website www.theartorganisation.co.uk . TAO members now have access to a variety of active spaces and projects based in Liverpool, London and Nottingham.
TAO volunteer directors are Robert Howie Smith and Gregory Scott Gurner. Both studied at the, then, Cumbria College of Art and Design (Creative Art and Fine Art, respectively) and when they met, discussed the benefits of artists working and supporting each other. This conversation grew to become their unique attitude to the use of dereliction for the promotion of art and artists in the community, and the network of artists working within projects past and present.
Greg currently explores his role as curator for the group, sourcing innovative artwork and artists suited to the meta-conceptual approach to the standard of galleries that The Art Organisation unveil, whilst Rob co-ordinates each new project ensuring that each is structured in its management. Together they develop the progress of each project. Greg is currently based in Liverpool, working closely with TAO properties in their Ropewalks Regeneration Art Project. Rob meanwhile is project managing their latest independent arts centre based in Nottingham. [technical note: TAO is the board member and as such has one vote].