Arts Council of Wales' members are appointed by the Welsh Government’s Minister for Culture and Sport. Members normally serve for a period of three years and may be reappointed for a further three-year period.
Phil George, Arts Council of Wales Chair
Phil George has been the Arts Council of Wales Chair since April 2016. At his appointment he stepped down from his role as Creative Director of the award-winning production company Green Bay Media which specialised in high-end documentary projects for broadcasters in Wales, the UK networks and internationally. Previously, Phil had been Head of Arts, Music and Features at BBC Wales and was the founding Chair of the groundbreaking National Theatre Wales.
A proud son of the Rhondda Valley, Phil was educated there and at Christ Church Oxford. He has an honorary doctorate from the University of South Wales and is an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University. In 2011, he received the Inspire Wales award for his work at National Theatre Wales and Green Bay. Phil is delighted to chair the Advisory Panel for the First Minister’s annual St David Awards with their strong emphasis on the inspiring social commitments and achievements of the people of Wales.
Andrew is a cultural consultant and broadcaster and has been raising the profile of disability throughout his 30-year career in the UK’s cultural industries. Starting out in television in the 1980s, Andrew belongs to the first generation of disabled presenters on British tv and went on to produce and direct BAFTA nominated music and arts documentaries. Later, he occupied senior roles at Arts Council England and Royal & Derngate Theatres, becoming the first wheelchair user to run a major UK arts venue at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff.
Uniquely, Andrew is a National Council member of both Arts Council England and The Arts Council of Wales - where he is also Chair of the Equalities Committee. He is a director of Welsh National Opera, he chairs the BFI Disability Advisory Forum and from 2015-19 he was a trustee of digital arts agency, The Space. Andrew is the UK Government’s first Disability Champion for Arts & Culture, establishing the role as a powerful campaigning platform for greater inclusion across the arts, museums and film. In 2020 he founded the UK Disability Arts Alliance, We Shall Not Be Removed, to support and advocate on behalf of creative disabled people through the pandemic.
Andy has been a member of the Arts Council since December 2016 and began his career in Wales as Head of Marketing at Swansea Grand Theatre, then Head of Cultural Services for Neath Port Talbot County Council and from 2000 – 2011 as Director of Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon. Since 2011 he has been Chief Executive of Chapter Cardiff. In 2014 Andy spent a secondment working for the British Council in the Western Balkans based in Belgrade, Serbia where he advised various arts organisations and bodies on the artistic and business activities of Chapter.
Previous to becoming an Arts Council board member he sat on the boards of Music Theatre Wales and Swansea City Opera. Andy now lives in Cardiff.
Dafydd began as a member of the Arts Council in April 2017 following a long career in the television industry both as a producer of content and as a Broadcaster. He started his career with HTV Wales before moving to the independent sector. He has also held posts as a Comissioning Editor at S4C and was the channel"s Director of Content from 2012 until October 2016. He is now Director of the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Iwan Bala is an artist, lecturer and essayist who has exhibited widely in Wales and abroad over three decades and published numerous books on contemporary art in Wales. He became a member of the Arts Council in December 2016.
His work is in many public and private collections and he has held posts in public art organisations and taught on BA and MA Fine Art courses. He is currently External Examiner for MFA at Cardiff Metropolitan University and is researching for a PhD in ‘Custodial Aesthetics’ at the University of South Wales.
Kate has over fifteen years’ experience of senior leadership roles at both UK and international level within industry and became a Board Member of Arts Council Wales in April 2017.
Her expertise in public affairs, policy and strategic communications was gained largely in the pharmaceutical sector. Kate has also worked on energy and science policy.
Kate was born and brought up in north Wales, attending the Alun School in Mold before studying Social and Political Sciences at King’s College, Cambridge. She now lives in the Brecon Beacons. She is learning Welsh at Coleg Gwent. She is also Vice Chair and Non Executive Director at Public Health Wales NHS Trust, Chair of the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee and an Independent Member of Prifysgol Aberystwyth University.
Marian Wyn Jones
Marian Wyn Jones is the former Head of Centre for the BBC in north Wales and has a journalistic career spanning three decades. She currently works as a Media Consultant and is a member of number of public bodies and charitable trusts.
Michael Griffiths OBE
Michael was Headteacher of Cardiff High School for fourteen years until August, 2011, and was Headteacher of Barry Comprehensive School for six years prior to that. He was the first Chair of the iNet (International Networking for Educational Transformation) Wales Executive from 2008 to 2011, and was seconded to Welsh Assembly Government in 2008 as a professional adviser. He both authored and co-authored a number of Welsh Government educational reports. In addition, he has sat on a number of Welsh Government committees, and has undertaken many roles as a consultant for Welsh Government. Between 2017 and 2020 he took on the role of Co-Lead of one of six groups shaping the new curriculum for Wales. Currently, Michael is an educational consultant, focussing primarily on leadership, and also thinking skills. He is presently the Chair of the Arts Council’s HR and Remuneration committee.
Alison Mears Esswood
Alison has over 20 years’ experience in music education in both the school and conservatoire sectors. Currently she is Director of Guildhall Young Artists and Safeguarding at Guildhall School of Music & Drama with responsibility for all the specialist training at under 18 level in Music, Drama and Production Arts. This includes Junior Guildhall, Centre for Young Musicians in London and 4 Regional Centres and the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. Prior to this she has held other management posts at Guildhall School including Head of Junior Guildhall and was made a Fellow of Guildhall School in 2017.
In Wales, Alison was Joint Artistic Director of the Lower Machen Festival involved in all matters artistic and operational taking the Festival to its 50th Anniversary year in 2017. She taught at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Junior Department and worked in a freelance capacity in many arts organisations in Cardiff. She was also a member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales for 10 years.
Devinda De Silva
Devinda has over 20 years’ experience working within the field of social change. He has worked in partnership with communities across Wales and internationally, focusing on the arts and its ability to address inequality, and to encourage greater and more meaningful participation.
He is one of National Theatre Wales’ founding members. As its Head of Collaboration, he has led the creation and development of the TEAM programme – the company’s pioneering approach to engagement.
He currently holds advisory positions at the Baring Foundation and Cardiff and Vale College.
Gwennan Mair Jones
Gwennan Mair is the Director of Creative Engagement at Theatr Clwyd and is a trained Drama Facilitator and Director. Gwennan’s passion for community arts and engagement came at a young age growing up in rural Llan Ffestiniog. At 18 she studied Community Drama at LIPA (Liverpool Institution of Performing Arts). She returned back to North Wales as part of Anglesey based theatre company Frân Wen. Her passion drives her to lead on the community work for Theatr Clwyd; increasing their delivery of the Welsh language within intergenerational workshops, creating resilient relationships with partnerships for example social services and she is training the next generation of Welsh facilitators. Community and accessibility is the heart of all of Gwennan’s work and how through the Arts we can provide opportunity for change within communities.
Lhosa is the National Trust’s Assistant Director of Operations for South Wales. She was formerly Executive Director of Spike Island, a creative hub in Bristol.
At Spike Island, she had overall responsibility for operations, commercial activity, visitor services, finance and fundraising.
Prior to Spike, Lhosa was Head of Development at Turner Contemporary, Margate.
Lhosa is the Chair of the Institute of Directors in Bristol; Vice Chair, Creative and Digital for the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership; Trustee of Avon & Bristol Law Centre and a South West representative for Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education.
Lhosa is qualified as a lawyer in both the UK and New York. She originally studied Law at Manchester University before working for some of the world’s largest professional service organisations. These include: Andersen Legal, Manchester; Herbert Smith, London; Ernst & Young, New York and since returning to the UK, KPMG and Ernst & Young in Bristol.
Sarah was born in Germany, raised in Kenya and worked in art restoration, theatre and stage design in Germany, France and the Netherlands. She moved to Wales in 2009 to study ceramics. Thanks to an AHRC doctoral studentship Sarah graduated with a PhD from Cardiff School of Art and Design in 2015. Her research focused on the use of digitised heritage collections from museums as creative, educational and open culture resources.
Sarah has exhibited art in the UK and internationally and worked in the museum sector in France and Turkey. She is passionate about creating opportunities through culture and currently works as Youth Engagement Coordinator
Professor Tudur Hallam is Chair of Welsh at Swansea University where he has twenty years’ experience as a lecturer and researcher. He is an academic author and poet. In 2010, he won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod and this year will publish a volume of poems. He has published widely on Welsh literature and theatre and on the relationship of Welsh and English in Wales, including a commissioned piece on Dylan Thomas and Saunders Lewis for the British Academy. He recently joined the University of Houston as a Research Visiting Professor, developing comparative work in biculturalism, thanks to a fellowship by the Fulbright Commission. He is from Carmarthenshire and lives there with his family. Locally he is a school governor and a youth football coach in the Gwendraeth Valley.
A native of Cardiff, Victoria studied at Atlantic College before moving abroad to take a BA (Hons) in Economics at the University of British Columbia and an MBA at INSEAD in France. Following a career spanning corporate communications (Burson-Marsteller), strategic consulting (McKinsey & Company) and executive search (Odgers Berndtson, London and Cardiff), Victoria has more recently developed a portfolio of non-executive roles. These include terms as a Member of Glas Cymru, Board member of the Wales Tourism Advisory Board and Trustee of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales (2010-March 2019) where she also chaired the Museum’s Development Board throughout the period of the highly successful St Fagans redevelopment project. She is currently a Council Member of the University of Wales TSD.