The Secretary of State has appointed six new National Council Members for Arts Council England. YolanDa Brown, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, and Abigail Pogson have been appointed for four year terms, from May 15 2022 until May 14 2026. Meanwhile, William Bush, Deborah Shaw and Veronica Wadley (Baroness Fleet) have been appointed for three year terms, from May 15 2022 until May 14 2025.
The Arts Council England roles are not remunerated. Appointments are made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments, and regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Appointees must declare any significant political activity undertaken in the last five years, which includes holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or standing for election. YolanDa Brown, Abigail Pogson and Deborah Shaw declared no such political activity.
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin declared having worked as a spokesperson for a Conservative Secretary of State, having worked for the Conservative party as a press spokesperson and having previously canvassed for them. Veronica Wadley (Baroness Fleet) has declared having been a Senior Advisor to former Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Canvassing for the Conservative Party in 2010 and being appointed to the House of Lords as a Conservative Peer in 2020. William Bush declared having served as Chair, Treasurer and Secretary at Ward Level in the Labour Party in the 1980s - the last date of his posts being in 1989. He was also a local government officer, Head of Office to three successive leaders of the Labour Group of the Greater London Council. He was appointed as a Special Adviser to former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Secretary of State for the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell.
The new National Council Members are:
YolanDa Brown wears many hats, musician, broadcaster, author and philanthropist. She is a double MOBO Award-winning artist, her music is a delicious fusion of reggae, jazz and soul. She is currently composing music for the iconic Sesame Street and an animated series called Bea’s Block.
A champion for the importance of music education, YolanDa is Chair of Youth Music, a trustee of the PRS Foundation, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and London Music Fund and sits on the advisory board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East London.
During the pandemic with Sony Music and Twinkl, YolanDa rolled out her bespoke online music lesson plans for teachers, parents and pupils in primary schools nationwide, an estimated 30 000 children have used the resources. In 2018 with James JP Drake, she launched the Drake YolanDa Award offering grants to emerging artists.
A broadcaster too working across TV and Radio, including her eponymous series for CBeebies, YolanDa’s Band Jam, which won the RTSNW award as Best Children’s Programme. Over on the airways, she hosts YolanDa Brown on Saturday on Jazz FM and co-hosts Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4.
YolanDa loves to drive fast cars around race tracks in her spare time and can even rattle off a Rubik’s Cube in around five minutes (on a good day).
William ‘Bill’ Bush
During Bill’s 17 years at the Premier League, as Executive Director and now Senior Adviser, he has led areas including intellectual property, public policy, relations with government and the EU, relations with fans, communications and the community programme.
He is currently the Chair of the Alliance for Intellectual Property, Board member of English Touring Opera, and Board member of the Football Foundation.
Before joining the Premier League, Bill worked as a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (1999-2001) and to Tessa Jowell at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2001-2005), and was Head of Research for BBC News 1991-1999. Early in his career, as a local government officer he ran the Office of the Leader of the Greater London Council (Ken Livingstone) from 1981-1986.
Jamie is the Chief Executive of UK Music, the collective voice of the UK music industry. Jamie is an experienced campaigner, a communications specialist and a former political adviser who has held senior roles at the highest levels of Government. He previously worked as a special adviser at DCMS and the Department of Health and Social Care and regularly appears in print and broadcast media.
Jamie was born in London in 1991. He studied Music at the University of Nottingham and also holds a Masters in International Relations. He sits on the board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, is a trustee of Britten Pears Arts, and is a member of the Council of the Royal College of Music.
Jamie regularly acts as a sector representative to Government and is on the expert advisory panel for the Government’s National Plan for Music Education, the expert advisory panel for UK City of Culture 2025, and the Creative Industries Council.
Abigail was born and grew up in Yorkshire. She has been Managing Director of Sage Gateshead since May 2015. She combines a commitment to developing artists and supporting them to create great work with a passion for ensuring that the arts can be accessed by as many people as possible.
Following a degree in Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Cambridge University and an MA in Cultural Management at City University, she began working in the arts. She joined Sage Gateshead from Spitalfields Music, a charity based in east London with an international reputation for its quality, reach and innovation. She previously worked at English National Opera, Music Theatre Wales and SPNM. In 2007/8 she was a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme.
Abigail serves as a Trustee for V&A Dundee, as a Director for North East England Chamber of Commerce and as Chair of Sunderland Empire Theatre Trust.
Deborah is Chief Executive of The Marlowe, Canterbury - Theatre of the Year in the 2022 Stage Awards (with Battersea Arts Centre).
She has worked as a director and producer in regional, national and international theatre for over 25 years, including 8 years as Associate Director with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she directed the World Shakespeare Festival for London 2012, commissioning work from across the world and collaborating with 30 UK theatre companies, festivals and venues.
She spent 5 years working in heritage as Creative Director at Historic Royal Palaces, commissioning artistic interventions including the Sky/South Bank Award-winning Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in 2014- which reached over 5 billion people worldwide - and East Wall, a collaboration with Hofesh Shechter Company, East London Dance and LIFT in 2018, one of the Guardian’s top 10 dance productions of the 21st century.
She read History at Cambridge and holds an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes for services to theatre and was named one of the UK’s ten most influential creatives in Art and Design in the H-100 Awards 2015. She chairs Creative Kent and Medway, co-chairs The Touring Partnership and is a founder-member of the Iraqi Theatre Company in Baghdad.
Veronica Wadley (Baroness Fleet)
Baroness Fleet is currently Chair of the Advisory Panel for the new National Plan for Music Education and chaired the Expert Panel for the Model Music Curriculum, published in 2021. She was a Council Member of Arts Council England and Chair of London Area Council from 2010-2018. From 2012-2016. She was a Senior Advisor to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
In 2011 Veronica co-founded the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians, now the London Music Fund. The charity, which she chairs, has funded over 600 scholarships for young musicians from disadvantaged backgrounds and provides opportunities for them to learn from and play alongside professional musicians, composers and conductors. In 2021, the London Music Fund won the Music & Drama Award for the most outstanding music initiative.
She is also a trustee and governor of a number of arts and education organisations including the Royal College of Music, ABRSM and Shoreditch Park Academy. She was previously a trustee of Northern Ballet and governor of the Yehudi Menuhin School.
As Editor of the London Evening Standard from 2002–2009, she chaired the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and Evening Standing Film Awards.
Veronica received a CBE in the 2018 Queen’s New Year Honours List for Services to the Arts and was appointed to the House of Lords in July 2020.