BIOGRAPHIES

Louise specialises in strategic business development in the cultural sector. Working with public and private arts organisations at the highest level over 27 years, Louise has gained an in-depth knowledge of strategic vision development, fundraising, implementation and organisational change.

Recent and current projects include: devising 3-year development strategies for Louvre Abu Dhabi, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives and the Royal Academy of Dance; sales team restructuring and best-practice protocol implementation for Victoria Miro Gallery; vision and programme development for GRAD and Culture& (which specialises in training opportunities for BAME arts professionals) and; proof of concept for a new concert hall and conference centre for The University of Buckingham.
Prior to founding A-I-R, Louise was Development Director for Lisson Gallery, where she led a two-year organisation-wide strategic business review and devised a global development strategy. This included a feasibility study and business plan to underpin securing the site and defining the architect’s brief for Lisson, New York (opened in May 2016).

Whilst at Lisson, Louise directed a finance, operations and communications restructuring across the global group integrating artists’ development strategies into the Gallery’s programme, client engagement and communications strategies in established and emerging international markets. Flagship place-making projects included the group exhibition, Genius Loci for 2014 Architectural Biennale, Venice which showcased acclaimed British and International artists’ projects in the urban realm.

Between 2000 and 2014, Louise was Head of Development at the Serpentine Gallery and the Whitechapel Gallery, where she led the development teams on all aspects of fundraising, high-profile events, capital campaign auctions and other income generation activities such as artists’ limited editions. Louise led complex public sector funding bids; created philanthropic engagement programmes and naming rights opportunities; led multi-year corporate partnerships across the fashion, financial services, luxury lifestyle and travel sectors. Louise devised, brokered and delivered partnerships for an extensive range of l clients from: Bloomberg to Hiscox, Goldman Sachs to Louis Vuitton.

She devised and delivered the Whitechapel’s £10m capital campaign (2003 to 2006), after which she returned to the Serpentine to realise the Gallery’s £12m expansion and successful application to Arts Council, England’s Catalyst Fund to establish of an endowment fund. Between 2000 and 2014, Louise led her teams in raising a total of £69m.

High-profile initiatives included The Max Mara Women’s Art Prize and artist-led product collaborations for Pringle of Scotland and Puma. As an independent project manager Louise delivered a range of projects across artforms, including the annual architectural competition Concept House with RIBA to find architecturally-designed solutions to volume house building. The winning schemes were constructed at The Ideal Home Show.

She spent six years as a legal journalist specialising in corporate law and governance for Legalease Ltd, a global leader in the provision of legal market information. After graduating in History of Art and French at University College London, Louise delivered a contemporary art programme for the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh including: Max Ernst: The Sculpture, centenary exhibition, and large-scale off-site projects for artists such as Krzysztof Wodiczko.

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Kirsty is an independent advisor to the cultural sector and consultant on major art projects. With more than 15 years experience working with public and private arts organisations in the UK and internationally, she has specialist knowledge in building creative content and facilitating audience-led cultural development.

Before collaborating with A-I-R, Kirsty was International Advisor to Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and prior to this she headed up Garage’s International Office based in London. A key area of her role at Garage was to facilitate relationships, negotiate partnerships and build bridges with other institutions, artists, organisations and brands. She became an international connector and cultural broker for Garage and through expert diplomacy and creative mediation she opened doors to collaborate on programmes internationally.

Kirsty has worked with the V&A, LTB Foundation, The Gilbert Collection and The Wallace Collection. She led major commissions with James Turrell, and managed exhibitions including Mark Rothko, Carsten Höller, Performa, Christian Marclay, William Kentridge, Marina Abramovic, The Museum of Everything and John Baldessari. In 2012, Kirsty was Creator of The Museum of Everything; Russia and in 2010 and 2011 co-curated an inaugural large-scale Moscow annual contemporary family event entitled Art Experiment.

From 2006, Kirsty was Senior Project Manager for the LTB Foundation and led the opening of a major new 20,000sqft institute in West London and managed a series of complex international projects in New York. During this time, Kirsty managed programmatic engagement programmes for HNWI, senior academics, artists and political leaders.

During previous roles at Garage and LTB, Kirsty has worked with Founders to establish strategy and related programmes to cultivate and engage new patrons to support the organisations both at an individual and corporate level.

She has worked with diverse cultures and international audiences including Europe, US and Russia. Kirsty also has an extensive professional network across arts, culture, business and media. Kirsty studied History of Art at the University of York.

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A love of culture and business, food and psychoanalysis, classics and cricket led Frances to set up The Seeking State that helps clients redefine how we engage with culture in the future. It offers consultancy: creating strategies and maps for the future in brand, retail, change business; writing and research on culture, retail and heritage; and training and curated experiences. Frances collaborates with A-I-R and is Founding Member of the collective.

Frances’ current work includes: introducing the idea of brand into the world of heritage for the Initiative of Heritage Conservation in Athens; inspiring a team to ‘plane’ and create extraordinary experiences for all for the Galway International Arts Festival in Ireland and shaping an entrepreneurial and creative retail culture for the Manchester Art Gallery, The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, The Tower of London, Museum of London and M+ Hong Kong.

Having studied Classics at St Johns, Frances worked for Christies’ New York and completed her studies with an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at the Courtauld Institute, London.

Academia led Frances to be the Product Developer at Tate Enterprises for 10 years where she was responsible for the strategic direction, creation and production of Tate product, committed to supporting the Tate brand financially and emotionally through the retail experience.

Work included copyright for Matisse/ Picasso; planting a forest for Joseph Beuys and collecting rain drops with Olafur Eliasson.

After a brief flurry in garden design, Frances was a Director at Jane Wentworth Associates for 10 years, an international branding consultancy in the cultural and educational sectors. Clients included V&A Dundee, National Museum Sweden, National Museum of Qatar, Glyndebourne, Whitworth Art Gallery and the Open University.

Frances is a consultant that brings influences from the outside to cultural challenges, helping clients investigate questions they’re seeking answers for and helping clients create a culture of curiosity.

She offers consultancy, creating maps for the future in brand, retail, audience and business development:: writing and researching on culture, retail , heritage and training alongside bespoke experiences.

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Rebecca studied film and photographic arts at the legendary PCL in the early 80s and worked as a photographer whilst also working in the Finance Department at the Arts Council. In 1987 she joined the Serpentine Gallery, when it devolved from Arts Council direct management. She worked on seminal shows such, as Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away, curated by Damien Hirst and Take Me I’m Yours curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, both of which featured the most important young artists of the late 20th Century.

As the Gallery grew she took on the role of fundraising and helped organise the now famous Gala Dinners, sponsored by Vanity Fair and attended by the Gallery’s Patron, the late Princess of Wales. Rebecca saw the Gallery grow from a staff of just 4 and a turnover of £200,000 to a major international arts institution by the time she left in 1999 to work on a broader range of arts and cultural projects She is a mentor for young people starting their careers in the arts and is currently working with artist, Mat Collishaw, producing the touring virtual reality exhibition Thresholds.

Since leaving the Serpentine Gallery Rebecca co-founded ACTIV with Joyce Hytner – a consultancy working in the arts, non-profit and corporate sector. Their clients range from large national institutions including the National Gallery, Tate, the RSC, and the Royal Academy Schools to cutting-edge organisations such as Artangel, Kneehigh Theatre Company, Polka Theatre and the Pop-Up Festival.

She has undertaken a range of short and long-term strategic development projects with companies, arts organisations and charities, including ATG (the world’s largest theatre company)The Natural History Museum, The Courtauld Institute and The Photographers’ Gallery. Her corporate clients include global financial companies, such as Bloomberg or UBS Private Banking to luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Jimmy Choo.

Over the past 19 years Rebecca has helped to raise some £35m for the arts, through fundraising events and has helped companies to invest many millions in the arts.

Work with corporate clients from the finance and legal world, television & media, fashion and retail amongst others is diverse but always focuses on building relationships between the companies and the art world; helping them to invest in the arts in an intelligent and effective manner.

Rebecca helped devise Bloomberg’s arts sponsorship programme, set up Bloomberg SPACE and helped to make the company one of the most significant supporters of the Arts in the UK. More recently Rebecca has worked with Louis Vuitton, curating exhibitions and events in their New Bond Street Maison with artists, Elmgreen & Dragset, Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin, John Stezaker and Haim Steinbach et al. Rebecca devised and managed the peer led Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project, which brought together Tate, Whitechapel, Hayward, Royal Academy and South London Gallery in a pioneering on and off line programme. Rebecca is a founding director of  ACTIV was a Trustee of Space Studios, the South London Gallery and continues to sit on the board of New Contemporaries.


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Simon’s experience includes strategic vision, international business development, brand building, communications, and an in-depth understanding of contemporary artistic discourse. He has created renowned brands, galvanised diverse communities, worked with leading artists, and produced cultural programming that brings art outside gallery walls and offers the public powerful experiences with culture.

In 2012, Sakhai co-founded The Moving Museum as an independent social enterprise to support new artistic activity in different cities across the world. The Moving Museum produces city-wide incubators, international residencies, large scale exhibitions, publications, public outreach programming, and new art work commissions by the worlds’ most important practitioners. With The Moving Museum, Sakhai has realised ground-breaking projects in Dubai, London, New York, and Istanbul and worked with over 100 international artists across 150,000 square feet of space.

He has nurtured some of the most urgent artistic voices and commissioned art that has won international acclaim at the Venice Biennale (receiving the Golden Lion) and institutions such as Tate Modern and The Whitechapel Gallery. The Moving Museum is known as one of the most dynamic contemporary art organisations working today with an enviable track record of working with leading artists early on.

Sakhai has co-edited and produced several publications, speaks regularly at professional conferences on the subjects of curatorial innovation and cultural production, and has collaborated extensively with renowned cultural institutes such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, PLATFORM Singapore, The National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne, Traffic, Dubai, and SALT, Istanbul. He has organised cultural programmes for organisations such as Marie Curie Cancer Care and The World Wildlife Fund, and sits on various committees included Tate Young Patrons in London, and PRAKSIS Oslo.

He has developed an expansive network of industry professionals, cultural figureheads, art patrons, business professionals, and press with a focus in Europe, The Middle East as well as wider networks in North America and the Pacific Rim. Currently, Simon is advising Art Basel Cities on the initiative’s strategic development in Latin America.

Prior to this, Sakhai was involved in international affairs, cross cultural development, and public diplomacy. He held positions at The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Office of Egypt and the Levant, at the US Department of State in Washington DC, where he served as Colin Powel Fellow, as well as within the Business Programmes department at the Asia Society in New York. Sakhai holds a Masters Degree in Contemporary Design from The Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, as well as a BA in Culture and Politics from The City University of New York with a dual concentration in East Asia and the Middle East, having also completed research fellowships at The University of Hong Kong, Georgetown University, and The American University in Dubai.


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For case studies and client testimonials, please contact:
[email protected]
+44 (0)7824144014

Roman Signer, Installation avec 2 ventilateurs, (2010) © Roman Signer