Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555 info@artscouncil-ni.org

Board Biographies

Arts Council of Northern Ireland Board

The Board members, including Chairperson, Mr Liam Hannaway and Vice-Chair, Mr William Leathem, are drawn from a broad cross-section of representatives from the arts and cultural sector.

If you need to contact the Board please email council@artscouncil-ni.org

Mr Liam Hannaway - Chairperson

Mr Hannaway is a former Chief Executive and Chief Accounting Office of a district council, with experience of establishing governance arrangements, committee structures, setting direction/strategy, through the establishment of corporate plans and managing budgets. He was responsible for the publication of the council community plan using leadership and negotiating skills, as well as stakeholder engagement to obtain agreement for the plan from public sector officials, politicians and community representatives. He has a long history of interest and involvement in the Arts: in a voluntary capacity as an actor and director with Lislea Dramatic Players and as a former Chair of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland for Ulster; in local government, he was instrumental in the development of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Sculpture Park. He has had no political activity during the last five years.

Mr William Leathem - Vice Chairperson

​Mr Leathem is a former elected member of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, where he served as Chair of both the Development Committee and Governance & Audit Committee. He is presently the Chair of USEL (Ulster Supported Employment Limited). This has a time commitment of 11 meetings per year with a remuneration of £270 per meeting. He was a former member of the District Policing Partnership and a former Board Member of both the Ulster-Scots Agency and Libraries NI. Mr Leathem has varied audit and governance experience, project management experience and financial management skills, which he will bring to this role. In the last five years he has undertaken political activity for the Democratic Unionist Party.

Miss Julie Andrews

​Miss Andrews has been Director of the Linen Hall Library since 2013. Prior to that she was involved in community arts whilst managing Belfast’s Spectrum Centre, an arts and cultural multi-purpose venue. Miss Andrews has responsibility for the strategic leadership of the Linen Hall Library. She has introduced a range of initiatives to facilitate partnerships and co-operative working with a number of external organisations as well as successfully procuring major funding for a number of digitisation projects. She has overseen the development and enrichment of the Library’s wide-ranging arts and cultural programming, and education and outreach activities. Miss Andrews also sits on the Boards of Eastside Tourism, Ormeau Business Park, the Ulster-Scots Agency and the Northern Ireland Museums Council. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mrs Lynne Best

​Mrs Lynne Best (née McDowell) is Director of The Fourth Pillar, a company established to support creators and be a champion for the creative industries. She was previously Head of Communications for the music licensing company PPL and Director at Well Red Music and Media, which provided corporate communications and policy advice to a range of global media and music companies. She has also held the role of Head of PR at BPI, the UK’s representative body for record labels and music technology companies and organiser of The BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize. Prior to working in music, Mrs Best started her career at the European Parliament in Brussels following the completion of her degree in Strasbourg, France. She is Vice Chair of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast and Chair of the Board of the Americana Music Association UK. She is also on the Advisory Panel of the all-Ireland mental health initiative, Minding Creative Minds. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mr Paul Boyle

​Mr Boyle is currently a Director for Active Belfast Limited, which is the Board responsible for overseeing the provision of leisure services within Belfast and the implementation of Belfast City Council’s £105m Leisure Transformation Programme. He is also the Head of Sport at Belfast Metropolitan College and has managed a number of significant capital and community outreach projects. He has been involved in education for over 25 years and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has extensive experience in strategic and business planning, performance review and risk management. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mr Paul Brolly

​Mr Brolly is Chair of the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, a publicly funded contemporary art gallery and member of the Plus Tate network. In this role he has responsibility for overseeing the gallery’s governance, strategic direction and growth plans. He is also Chair of the Board of Greenisland Primary School and a member of the Antrim and Newtownabbey Council Arts and Cultural Advisory Panel. He is Head of Creative for BBC Northern Ireland, with over 20 years media experience working across high profile BBC output within the areas of television and radio broadcasting, digital platforms, communications and marketing. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mr Joe Dougan

​Mr Dougan’s background is primarily in the live music industry. He has been a key senior organiser of the Belsonic and Custom House Square outdoor music events in Belfast for over 12 years. During this period these events have grown from attracting 5,000 attendees annually to attendances in excess of 150,000 patrons p/a, and have hosted some of the world’s largest names in entertainment. He oversees venues such as The Limelight, The Telegraph Building in Belfast and The Academy in Dublin, as well as internationally established electronic music brand Shine. He is responsible for an annual programme of live music and entertainment across Northern Ireland encompassing upwards of 300 events p/a, ranging from grassroots venues to large outdoor spaces. He personally promotes events for many internationally successful Northern Irish musical acts through long standing relationships and has prioritised developing new musical talent from across Northern Ireland for over 15 years. He also manages comedy and media talent, and produces live comedy events up to arena level. These varied roles have given him an oversight of, and responsibility for, financial, audit and governance matters as well as procurement processing and budgeting. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mr Sean Kelly

​Mr Kelly has directed the Cathedral Arts Festival from 2000, establishing principles of good governance since then, including strategic planning, risk management, financial management and fund raising. He co-founded the Black Box performing arts space formulating its business plan and adapting its business model to meet changing demand. He was one of the founders of Culture Night Belfast, which involved setting up a steering group and successfully seeking support from the business community and public funding bodies. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mrs Laura McCorry

Mrs McCorry is Head of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens where she leads an expert term in the conservation, development and management of the historic visitor attraction, whilst also ensuring the Castle fulfils its role as Northern Ireland’s Official Royal Residence and home for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Prior to this, she held a variety of strategic and leadership roles locally and internationally. Her previous positions include Public Engagement Director at National Museums Northern Ireland where she led and managed the visitor facing services across the group. Her remit involved the development and co-ordination of public programming, learning and outreach as well as marketing and communications. She was also a Director at Tourism NI for nine years and worked previously in the United States in business and economic development. She is currently a member of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, a group set up by the Minister for the Economy to support the post Covid Tourism recovery effort. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Ms Una McRory

Ms McRory worked as the Regional GP Out of Hours Commissioning Manager for GP Out of Hours service across NI. Her work involved taking the lead in the development of service improvements which included benchmarking, strategy development and a public consultation on the strategy, this involved consulting with many Health Service organisations and staff. She has experience of good governance as well as ensuring that services are complying with service standards. Ms McRory owns her own company and has recently published a children’s book. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mr Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Mr Ó Muilleoir is a former Board Member of NI Water, where he was involved in efforts to help the organisation regain public confidence following a contracts controversy. As a Lord Mayor of Belfast, he took steps to encourage cross party cohesion and improve relations across the city. As a Minister of Finance he implemented a range of proposals to make social value delivery a business objective of the Department. As a Director of a media group he worked to ensure its successful financial management. In the last five years he has undertaken political activity for the Sinn Fein Party. He does not hold any other public appointments.

Dr Gearóid Trimble

Dr Trimble is a senior public servant and currently works with Foras na Gaeilge, the North-South implementation body for the promotion of the Irish language. With over 20 years’ experience working with the Community and Voluntary sectors, both as a practitioner and as a policy-maker, he has extensive experience in grant administration, corporate governance and budgetary management and he has overseen the implementation of national policies and island-wide funding schemes. He holds a PhD in Irish Literature and is also a published author. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.
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