7 January 2015
John Denham, Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen since 1992, will become Chair of CultureSouthampton from January 2015. Mr Denham had announced his decision not to stand for re-election in 2011.
He will take over from Jan Ward, who has been Acting Chair of CultureSouthampton since Stephen Boyce stepped down from the role in July 2014.
Mr Denham hopes to use his chairmanship of CultureSouthampton to give a strategic overview to the city’s cultural development.
He said: “No modern city can be truly successful without a strong and distinctive cultural life. It’s equally important for the quality of life and opportunities for local people and for those who come to study, work and invest here. Southampton has great success stories already and even bigger opportunities in the future. I was delighted to be asked to take on this role and look forward to working with all parts of the cultural community to make a real contribution to the cultural life of this great city.”
Trustees of CultureSouthampton warmly welcomed the appointment:
Michael Ockwell, Chief Executive of the Mayflower Theatre, said “I am delighted that we will have John leading the Board in a wonderfully exciting time for Southampton. Our city needs dynamic cultural leadership and I look forward to helping develop the cultural strategy to make Southampton a great place to live.”
Stephen Foster, Director of the John Hansard Gallery, which will be relocating into the new arts complex in Guildhall Square, said: “I am absolutely delighted that John Denham is going to Chair the Southampton Cultural Development Trust. It is an optimistic time for the development of the cultural agenda in Southampton and the Trust will make an enormous contribution to its leadership. There is no better person than John to lead it, in terms of the respect that he commands, and his commitment to Southampton and its cultural life.”
Jan Ward, CEO of Corrotherm, and Acting Chair of CultureSouthampton prior to Mr Denham, said: “It is marvellous news that John Denham has accepted our invitation to Chair the Southampton Cultural Development Trust. This appointment will bring his vast experience and knowledge to the Board, along with his acknowledged life long commitment to the City of Southampton. With all that is happening in Southampton in the coming years the Trust is now ideally placed to help with the vital work of developing the City’s cultural life.”
Mr Denham will be working closely with CultureSouthampton Trustees, cultural leaders and other stakeholders from across the city region over the next several weeks, to develop the strategy and action plans for the next phase of the Trust’s activity. These will be unveiled in February.