Arts Catalyst appoints Karen O’Neill as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees and new staff join the Arts Catalyst Team

Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 10:45

Arts Catalyst is delighted to welcome Karen as the Chair of its Board of Trustees. She takes over the role from outgoing Chair Fabienne Nicholas, who will continue to serve as a Trustee on the Board. Karen joins Arts Catalyst during a pivotal period of change as the organisation embarks on an ambitious new trajectory in Sheffield. 

Karen said:
“I am both delighted and honoured to be the new Chair of Arts Catalyst. Arts Catalyst has undergone a transformation over the last few years, making the incredible decision to relocate to Sheffield and become part of the northern cultural ecology. This transition was expertly guided by our previous Chair and I hope the team, the Board and myself can continue to build upon this solid foundation. Arts Catalyst has always been at the forefront of the intersections between art, health, ecology and economics and as the world emerges from the grip of the pandemic and faces new challenges, we know that our work will contribute to conversations, provoke discourse and support our sector, artists and communities going forward. Our upcoming programmes and plans are distinctive, dynamic and inclusive and I look forward to being part of that journey with Arts Catalyst.”
Karen is the Chief Executive/Director of the Dukes, a multi art form venue in Lancaster delivering a programme of film, touring performance and in house productions including an annual large scale outdoor promenade summer season. The Dukes also has an award winning and diverse community engagement programme working across Lancashire. Since joining the Dukes, Karen has devised and driven forward a new business model, delivering a significant operational surplus.
Previously she was the Executive Director of the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, leading the organisation’s focus on sustainability through robust finances and commercial developments, she has secured over £1.1m in capital investment for the theatre and shaped the organisation as a core partner in the local area. Karen was a Clore Leadership Fellow (2017/18) and an International Fellow of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at Kennedy Centre in Washington (2014), one of only 4 UK fellows since 2008. Previously Trustee for the University of Huddersfield Student Union and has been a mentor of the Extend Programme through Engagement for the Visual Arts.
We are also very happy to announce the appointment of two new team members in Sheffield — Finn Warman as Programme & Communications Coordinator, and Shiri Webb as Finance & Administration Assistant. 
Specialising in large-scale participatory arts projects, Finn Warman has a wealth of experience in partnership working, communications, outreach, and talent development. They have worked as an artist, workshop facilitator and producer on numerous creative engagement projects with organisations including Handmade Parade, Cast, Royal Exchange Manchester, Contact, and the Whitworth. Recent roles have included Assistant Producer (Participation) at Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, and Educational Workshop Facilitator at Sheffield Museums Trust. Finn is also the Artistic Director and CEO of Sheffield-based queer arts organisation, Andro and Eve. Andro and Eve platform and provide talent development opportunities for queer artists, and create spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to come together.
Shiri Webb holds an MA in Museum Studies and with a background in art, museum and community work, has honed a broad range of experience across the arts — working with various institutions including South London Gallery, Matt's Gallery and Cubitt Arts. Her documentary photography has been featured in various exhibitions in the UK and internationally (most recently in Russia). She had a book of poetry and photography published in 2018 entitled Kingdom of Mud and has also self-published her work.