Our Trustees & Patrons
We’re led by a dedicated, experienced and voluntary board of trustees who steer our strategy, work and mission as a charity.
Damian is the managing director of Cityscape Digital, one of the foremost 3D digital agencies in the world specialising in CGI and VR creative production for the property industry. Founded in 2001 and based in Shoreditch, at 55 people it is the largest dedicated architectural visualisation studio in the UK. He studied fine art and sculpture in London for 7 years in the 90s, graduating at the same time the Art Academy launched in 2000. Founding principal Tanya Russell invited him to join as the first resident artist and tutor. He moved on to become the first Courses Director, co-writing the sculpture diploma course with Tanya in its formative years while developing his fine art practice and profession.
In 2007 on the birth of his third child Damian accepted he had to learn about how to make creative work commercially successful, and left the Academy to join Cityscape Digital as a post-production artist. He became Creative Director in 2012. He built a sculpture studio in his back garden in 2014, where he practices sporadically.
Melanie Gerlis is the art market columnist for the Financial Times and Editor at Large for The Art Newspaper. She was previously Art Market Editor of The Art Newspaper for nine years and has been reporting on auctions, art fairs and market news globally since 2006. She also worked for ten years at Finsbury, a strategic communications and investor relations firm, advising investment banks, hedge funds and other financial services clients.
Melanie has a BA in English Literature from Clare College, Cambridge and an MA in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. Her book, “Art as an Investment? A Survey of Comparative Assets,” was published by Lund Humphries in 2014.
Paul Harris is former CFO of Liberty, with fifteen years of senior-level operational experience including opening restaurants within department stores Liberty and Selfridges. Having been headhunted by Kurt Geiger, in 2013 Paul successfully completed the second major refinancing of Liberty. He was also the Chairman of a luxury British company that Liberty acquired, is currently NED of The Wine Fusion, and recently launched Curveball a cutting-edge dining experience in South London.
Kate Gordon is the founder and CEO of London Art Studies. Having produced arts programming for Carlton TV and CNN, Kate founded London Art Studies in 2011. Now offering online courses, LAS won the People’s Vote for the “Best Online Art Experience” in the 2020 Webby Awards (which honour the best of the Internet). Educated at St Paul’s Girls’ School, Amherst College USA and University of Moscow, Kate co-founded the Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA) in 2016 and wrote a regular column on art for London’s Evening Standard newspaper for 5 years.
She chaired the fundraising group ‘Foreign Sisters’ in 2017/2018 and remains a Senior Arts Advisor to Cancer Research UK; she is on the board of the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Art and Design Advisory Group, and a Trustee of Art History Link-Up. In 2020 Kate became Chair of Serpentine Patrons.
Since April 2017, Jenna Littler has been Burberry’s Senior Vice President for Wholesale, Franchise and Travel Retail across its EMEIA region. She joined Burberry in 2010 and led the company’s communications activities worldwide before moving into the newly-created role of Senior Vice President, Global Integration in 2014, working alongside Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey on the development and implementation of Burberry’s strategic priorities globally.
Jenna joined Burberry from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in London, before which she held various positions in the UK Civil Service. She started her career in financial communications.
Jenna is passionate about the arts in all their forms. She holds a First Class degree in History of Art from Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, and qualified in Architectural Interior Design at the Inchbald School of Design in London.
Daniel is an associate partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partner. He has been at the practice for over 17 years and has been involved in a range of projects at all stages from feasibility to post-contract including airports, residential, offices and public buildings. He has also been involved in teaching post-graduate students at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL where he has been a practice tutor and crit juror for the 4th year Design Realisation module.
Amir is a Chartered accountant in public practice with a wide knowledge of companies and commercial ventures in many industry sectors. He has hands on experience of working in the Fareast and Canada.
In the UK, he has worked for an industrial multinational conglomerate and UK quoted companies. Earlier on he trained and worked for many years in the City with Coopers & Lybrand who were one of the predecessors to Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Amir is the Company Secretary.
Abimbola Apalara is a director of Open House Rochester and currently works with Peabody Trust – a charitable organisation since 2014. She has over 20 years experience and held various strategic roles within G15 Housing Associations and multinational companies; providing exceptional leadership and strategic solutions. Abi is a blogger, writer and speaker, she wrote a poem documented as part of “100 Great Black Women Speak”. She is also a trustee of the London Bubble Theatre. She holds a master’s degree in Housing Management and Policy from the University of Greenwich. Abi is passionate about education, appreciates arts, history, and the natural environment.
Yvonne is a Communications Manager for Peabody, the second-largest housing association in the UK. From Melbourne, Australia, she started her career in government, working on reforming national educational policy.
Yvonne is passionate about diversity and inclusion and in 2020 was named on the global HERoes Future Female Leaders list (sponsored by INvolve and Yahoo Finance) which celebrates 100 inspirational women around the world who are making a significant contribution to workplace gender equality. She holds a BA in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Melbourne and an MA in Communications from RMIT University.
Simon has been the Director of Student Experience and Employability for the Faculty of Education and Health, University of Greenwich since August 2017. He has previously held the roles of Head of Department Secondary and Lifelong Learning Teacher Education, PE & Sport, and Director of Learning and Quality for the Faculty.
Simon spent the first 10 years of his professional life working in the information technology industry for IBM in the UK and overseas. He returned to full-time education as a mature student graduating with a BA Humanities Art History with English from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1994, subsequently completing a Further Education (FE) teacher training programme at the University of Greenwich and a Masters in Education. Simon is a Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS), a Fellow of the Institute for Learning and is certified in eLearning, Teaching & Training (CeLTT). He has extensive experience of the FE sector, as a lecturer, Head of Media and Performing Arts and Head of Service: Quality Improvement and Staff Development at Sir George Monoux sixth form college and South Thames College respectively, before joining the University of Greenwich in 2007.
Simon’s teaching interests include teacher education for the Secondary and Lifelong Learning (FE) sectors, inclusivity, equality and diversity, pedagogy, technology-assisted learning, and curriculum development. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Applied Social Sciences at the University of Roehampton.
Simon is the Art Academy London’s Associate Trustee.
Anish Kapoor is internationally recognized as one of today’s leading contemporary artists. Since representing Britain at the 44th Venice Biennale in 1990, where he was awarded the Premio Duemila and winning the Turner Prize in 1991, he has held major solo exhibitions globally and his work is permanently exhibited in some of the most important international collections and museums.
Renowned for artworks that blur the boundary between sculpture architecture his often monumentally scaled public works include Marsyas, in Tate’s Turbine Hall (2002), Cloud Gate in Millennium Park Chicago; Leviathan at the Grand Palais in Paris (2013); Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Park, London and Ark Nova, the world’s first inflatable mobile concert hall in Japan.
Photo by Jillian Edelstein.