Brighton & Hove Arts & Creative Industries Commission develops policy, raises funds, provides advice and delivers programmes.

The Arts & Creative Industries Commission meets four times a year. It has a Chair, two Vice Chairs, and an Executive Sub Group of seven people that advises and acts as a steering group on membership and procedure.

There are 26 members who have a place as an individual, as a political appointment (there are three councillors) or as a representative of an organisation.

Individual members network on behalf of the Arts & Creative Industries Commission and inform the group within the creative sector they represent.

Commissioners, politicians and officers sit on national and local partnerships to advise and champion the cultural and arts sector.

Brighton & Hove City Council provide the executive function for the commission through the provision of strategic and administrative support.

The members of the commission are all volunteers and give their time and expertise willingly. As Chair, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them again for the work that they have done and that they have yet to do!

Do get in touch with us if there is something you think we should be including on our agenda.

Andrew Comben

  • Chief Executive, Brighton Dome and Festival and Chair, Brighton & Hove Arts & Creative Industries Commission

    As Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Festival, I have developed a new vision for the organisation to become a year-round centre of artistic activity, involving all areas of the community in the performing arts.

    In 2008, I appointed the acclaimed Hofesh Shechter Company as Resident Company of Brighton Dome. Each year, I select a different Guest Director of international standing for Brighton Festival and work with them to create a programme of approximately 150 different events.

    I began my career at Wigmore Hall in operations and administration, and then became an artist manager for the Young Concert Artists Trust and for Music International. I was Director of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme where I headed up their Artist Development programme and was involved in the changes that led to Aldeburgh Productions receiving Arts Council England status as a Centre of Excellence.


  • Co-Director, Fabrica, and Vice Chair, Brighton & Hove Arts & Creative Industries Commission

    I co-direct Fabrica, an independent charity recognised by the Arts Council as a leading visual artist-led organisation. We commission exhibitions of contemporary visual art, accompanying events and educational activities for the broadest possible audience; support artists’ professional development; and run a large volunteer programme. We collaborate with partners such as Brighton Festival, Photoworks and Lighthouse to produce new work and events, as well as with a broader network of visual and performing arts organisations to share expertise and services for artists. I have led three successful projects under the Interreg EU funding programme and am currently leading a fourth. I formerly practised as an artist, working across a wide range of social contexts.


  • Economic Development Officer, Creative and Environmental Industries, Brighton & Hove City Council.

    I work with the creative and environmental industry sectors in Brighton & Hove on behalf of the city council to foster and grow collaborative, sustainable and innovative practice. I manage local and European CI and EI projects; and sit on local steering and working groups to ensure the creative and environmental industries have a voice and are connected to current and new initiatives.

    Prior to this, I worked in arts and education in New Zealand and England: as an art teacher, an art education manager and programmer for national visual arts organisations, in the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and in tertiary visual art and design faculties.



  • Director

    I am  the Director of Photoworks, the UK’s leading national development agency for photography which produces major projects including the national Jerwood/Photoworks Awards, the Brighton Photo Biennial, the UK’s largest photography festival and internationally distributed Photoworks Annual. Our learning and participation programme works with partners across the city and nationwide. Photoworks is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England. Celia has more than 15 years experience as a senior arts professional especially in the commissioning of new work and inauguration of new strategic initiatives. She was previously Head of Exhibitions at the De La Warr Pavilion through a capital development programme (2002-2009). She is visual art advisor and curator for HOUSE festival and Chair of Blast Theory. Celia studied at the Univerisity of Brighton and University of Sussex in the 1990s and currently lives in Brighton.


  • Managing Director, Komedia

    I am a teacher, author, theatre director, and managing director of Komedia Brighton, a venue I founded with Marina Kobler and David Lavender in 1994.

    As part of my work for Komedia, I helped establish the Aurora Nova venue at the Edinburgh Festival (2004-2007), a project that was instrumental in bringing leading, international physical theatre companies to the UK.

    In association with the charity, Komedia Productions, I am currently working as a director and producer for a new children's theatre company Theatre Fideri Fidera.


  • Director, Creative Future

    I am the co-founder and Director of Creative Future.  Creative Future exists to nurture marginalised artists/ writers and their creative development, leading them to high quality professional creative practice.  We provide training, mentoring and the chance to publish or exhibit to talented people who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance. As well as established workshop, mentoring and volunteering programmes, we have two national annual showcasing events, the Creative Future Literary Awards and the Tight Modern -a miniature Tate Modern which was seen by 42,000 people on its 2014/15 tour. We collaborate with a large number of partners including New Writing South, The Towner, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and Sussex Partnership Trust to provide opportunities for those we work with.

    I have worked with marginalised artists and writers since 2002, running The Brighton Big Issue Writing group for three years before becoming the writer in residence at the First Base Day Centre, a place of safety for homeless and vulnerable adults in Brighton. I established the First Base Arts Project which I project managed for four years.  I am a published writer and have taught creative writing for BBC Southern Counties, Brighton and Hove City College, Brighton Museum, QueenSpark Books and New Writing South among others.  I still write when I have the time and am currently working on a novel.


  • Director, Screen Archive South East (University of Brighton) and co-director, CineCity (the Brighton film festival)

    I am an historian, curator, archive director and lecturer on all aspects of screen studies and screen history, from its early stages to the present, and have uncovered the beginnings of cinema in Brighton & Hove. I curate exhibitions for Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and, with the Royal Pavilion & Museums, have built a major collection relating to the city’s film pioneers. I am involved in the national development of screen heritage, policy and strategy, Chair of Film Archives UK, and have been associated with the University of Brighton for over thirty years.


  • CEO, The Werks Group

    Designer, consultant and teacher
    I design buildings, graphics and exhibitions. I am founder of The Werks Group of Creative Hubs, a founder member of Creative Brighton, DCF (Digital Content Forum), Innovate South London and most recently ESBHIGT (East Sussex, Brighton & Hove Innovation & Growth Team).
    Since 2002, I delivered consultancy and business design to many of creative companies and ran enterprise training courses for creative businesses and universities (Sussex, Brighton, Portsmouth, Goldsmiths, City and University of Creative Arts). This support is now delivered by EBP (Elwick Bouette Partnership LLP) and The Werks Group. In 2014-15 we delivered an ambitious and successful programme to Kent creatives.
    The Werks Group is the largest provider of creative workspace and support in Brighton & Hove and in 2016 we will increase the number of creative hubs we run locally and across the South East and increase the level of creative support we offer.

  • CEO/Artistic Director, South East Dance

    Image © Zoe Manders

    I have had a long and varied career in the dance sector. I joined South East Dance as CEO/Artistic Director seven years ago following a career as a dancer and choreographer. 

    South East Dance is an ambitious organisation that is respected for investing in choreographers and dance artists, presenting surprising and inspiring dance performances and leading projects that make a difference in local communities. Enabling artists to create the best possible work is central to our mission. Equally important, and something we are absolutely committed to, is giving more people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to experience the health and wellbeing benefits of dance - to simply feel exhilarated by it.

    Our current and greatest challenge to date is building a creative home in Brighton & Hove that will inspire people of all ages and abilities: The Dance Space will be a brand new centre for dance and an important addition to the cultural infrastructure.

    Outside of South East Dance, I am a Trustee at The Basement/Sick! Festival and Candoco Dance Company. 



  • Director, McMcArt

    McMcArts, of which I am Director, is a producing company focussed on working with outstanding artists, cultural organisations and communities. McMcArts conceives, commissions, and delivers projects and events of all scales and complexity across many different art forms; it also provides creative consultation to artists, venues, cultural organisations and public bodies.

    I was previously Head of Brighton Festival where I programmed, commissioned and co-produced a broad range of critically acclaimed work.


  • Director, Royal Pavilion & Museums

    Currently Director, of the Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM) which includes Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Preston Manor, Hove Museum & Art Gallery and the Booth Museum of Natural History. RPM is one of the Arts Council’s 21 Major Partner Museums (MPM). As an MPM the RPM has a leadership role for the sector in diversity and audience development along with leading  the museum development programme for the South East region. Previous roles at RPM have included direct responsibilities for exhibitions, education, building management, project management, front of house services, audience development, marketing and fundraising.

    I am a Trustee of the Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation, a charity supporting the work of the service and of Culture 24 which is an organisation based in the city which  known for publishing websites about culture; producing the successful Museums at Night festival and leading Let’s Get Real, the collaborative action research project involving cultural organisations across the UK and Europe.

    I am on the steering group for the Women Leaders in Museums Network , I am the South East  Museums Association representative and represent South East Museum Development on the South Downs National Park Partnership. My early career was in education both as a teacher and as a museum’s education officer in Norwich, Swindon and Brighton.


  • International Arts Producer | Consultant | Cultural Broker | Researcher

    I am the founding Director of urbanflo creative - a socially engaged collective of arts professionals who share a vision of equity and excellence in the cultural sector and a passion for mainstreaming diversity.  With a career in the arts spanning more than 25 years and wide-ranging experience from strategic to grassroots level, I have specialised in producing, programming and promoting innovative participatory and inclusive projects embracing all artistic disciplines. I also manage a diverse portfolio clients providing arts management and organisational development support.  My current focus is on producing a series of unique international artistic exchanges and devising programmes for the creative and professional development of aspiring, mid-career and experienced artists.  I am also a founder member and Creative Producer of the ART:sync network.


  • General Manager, Theatre Royal Brighton

    I oversee one of the UK’s oldest, and in my eyes most beautiful, working venues.

    I originally trained and worked as a puppeteer: writing, building and touring large scale puppet productions before becoming a floor assistant at the BBC. I then worked in visitor services at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, prior to becoming commercial operations manager at the Science Museum. From here I took up a four year residency as Front of House Manager at the V&A Theatre Museum, after which I joined Theatre Royal Brighton as Front of House Manager, before becoming General Manager.


  • Festival Director

    I am director of Artists Open Houses and HOUSE festivals, taking place in May each year to coincide with the Brighton Festival.

    HOUSE commissions curatorially themed, outstanding contemporary art, curating gallery, non-gallery, domestic and public realm spaces. We commission work from a range of artists, including internationally regarded artists, mid career and emerging artists and those marginalised from the art world mainstream; co-commissioning with partners Brighton Festival, Photoworks, Outside In and Lighthouse. We also produce accompanying educational and community engagement programmes.

    Artists Open Houses is an open-to-all community festival encouraging and providing a platform for artists at all stages of their careers.

    I studied as a Fine Artist, painter and printmaker and continue to practice as a printmaker and illustrator.


  • Arts Consultant

    I am a consultant in the creative industries and education sectors in the UK and internationally, setting up and facilitating arts networking initiatives and cultural events such as the First Fictions literary festival. In 2006, I was the first Fundraising Manager for Europe’s leading music industry convention and festival, The Great Escape. As presenter of Brighton’s popular arts and media event, The Space, I interview prominent film directors, editors, novelists, musicians, radio controllers, cultural historians and actors, for a live audience.

    I am also Curriculum Leader (Deputy Head) of the Music, Performance, Theatre Department at Northbrook College; and am working on a project to develop academics from universities across Iraqi Kurdistan and the Arab region.


  • Executive Director, Carousel

    I am Director of Carousel, an award winning learning disability arts organisation. I am committed to ensuring that the creative contribution of learning disabled artists is seen, valued and celebrated and that we provide opportunities for learning disabled artists to develop their talent.

    I am a Trustee for the Speak Out advocacy service and for Komedia Productions Ltd. I am also a Director of Brighton Hippodrome CIC working to restore and reopen this nationally important venue in the heart of Brighton’s Old Town.


  • Chair New Writing South

    I have spent most of my working life in the arts, starting as an actor in the 1970s, moving on to set up an arts sponsorship programme for an oil company in the 1980s, then becoming chief executive of Arts Council England and the Royal Opera House.  During the last ten years I have been an executive coach, working with CEOs in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

    I have been on a number of arts boards including Dance Umbrella, Cheek by Jowl, and the HighTide theatre festival.  I am now Chair of New Writing South, the creative writing organisation for the South East of England. I am also on the boards of Brighton Fringe, the Phoenix Gallery and Zap Art.




  • Director

    I am the Director of the Creative Reach Consultancy who facilitate initiatives and develop partnerships for business and community engagement in education, arts, and health and I am Director of Fringe St. Lucia a Caribbean arts & cultural festival. I previously worked as an architect and designer with Chicago-based practice, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and The Design Solution in London before establishing Metropolitan Design, a multidisciplinary design practice in Brighton.

    As a part of the RSA Team for the South East, I am an ambassador for creativity in education, business and the community. I am also a member of Sussex University Hospitals Arts Advisory Group, Specialist Schools & Academies Trust, Arts & Business and Art:sync, mainstreaming diversity in the arts.

    I work as Marketing, Schools Liaison and Alumni Coordinator for Sussex Downs College, Lewes and still practice as a professional figurative artist and curator having owned two contemporary art galleries in Sussex.

  • Peter Chivers, Head of Music & Arts

    Peter Chivers studied at Dartington College of Arts, gained a Music Degree at Huddersfield University and studied at post-graduate level in Advanced Performance at the Royal Academy of Music, subsequently completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Kingston University.

    Peter is Head of Music and Arts for Brighton & Hove’s award winning SoundCity music hub.  His background spans the arts, music and education and he has received the Cultural Champion Award from Arts & Business. Peter is a Director of Rhythmix, a music charity that works with young people in challenging circumstances.  He also sits on the Arts Council England’s Music Education Hub advisory board and contributes to the wider cultural agenda.  As a trumpeter he has performed with world wide ensembles and continues to teach and work with young musicians presently conducting the Brighton & Hove Youth Big Band.

    Peter is currently Director of Our Future City, the cultural education partnership for Brighton & Hove.


  • Managing Director, Wired Sussex

    As Managing Director of Wired Sussex, an independent Brighton-based agency, I help local digital, media and technology businesses to create, innovate and grow. I have a long and successful background in TV, music and digital media; and believe that the best innovation comes from below and that there is wisdom in the crowd.


  • Head of Libraries and Information Services

    I have been responsible for Libraries Services in Brighton & Hove since 1998.  I played a leading role in the success of the Jubilee Library, developed through a PFI (Private Finance Initiative), which opened to critical acclaim in 2005.  Jubilee Library, which achieved 16 awards and was short-listed for the internationally renowned Stirling Prize, is now the most successful library in the south east of England, with nearly one million visitors each year.

    As a member of the National Executive for the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) from 2009-15, I was active in the development of public libraries at a national level.  I lead the development of a Public Library Universal Information Offer, and worked with Government Digital Services in the Cabinet Office to support the development of Assisted Digital Services as part of the Government’s digital by default agenda.

    From 2006 until its closure in 2008, I was a Board member of Museums, Libraries and Archives Council South East, and Chair of the SCL South East regional group.  Before moving into public libraries in 1994, I worked in further and higher education libraries, and also had a spell at the BBC Reference Library in London.



  • Director, Nightingale Theatre

    As Director of the Nightingale, a highly successful pub theatre, I actively advocate the concept of excellence in artistic endeavour - including dance and all forms of new writing - created specifically for small scale performance spaces. I also support the development of artists working on the small scale in their professional and creative journeys. Previously, I had a long professional career as a dancer, before working for organisations with a broader artistic reach.



  • Writer and broadcaster; Patron of Brighton & Hove Children's Festival

    I lead the National Campaign for Children's Radio, working with children, parents and educators to produce articles, lectures and events to highlight the unique potential of radio in children's leisure and development. I also coordinate the Sound Start Group of MPs, Peers and child-care professionals, lobbying for an advertisement-free radio network for young children and their families.

    I am passionate about radio for children and launched abracaDABra! in 2002, as the world's first digital radio station for children, which now broadcasts as a world-wide internet service.

    My early career was in acting and I hosted Thames Television children's shows, Magpie and Paperplay in the 1960 and 70s.