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, John Edmund and Vice-Chair, Dr Katy Radford, 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

John Edmund - Chairperson

John Edmund image

John Edmund is a strategic planning and organisational development consultant, and a marketing professional working with clients across the UK and Ireland.

He is a former Chairman (Worldwide) of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Vice-President of the European Marketing Confederation, Chair of the Grand Opera House, Belfast, Chair of the NI Music Industry Commission, and a Director of the Odyssey Trust Co Ltd and the Odyssey Construction Co Ltd.

Dr Katy Radford MBE - Vice Chair

Dr Katy Radford MBE image

Dr Radford has served as Vice-Chair on the Board of the Arts Council for Northern Ireland for over four years. She was awarded an MBE in 2011 for her work on community relations and has a PhD in Ethnomusicology. She is the sole female representative on the TEO Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition and is a serving Commissioner with the Equality Commission. Dr Radford brings governance and audit and risk experience to the body as well as communication and interpersonal skills. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Cian Smyth

Cian Smyth image

Mr Smyth is an Artistic Advisor, Festival Programmer and Producer who has led Northern Ireland’s cultural contribution to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies and Festival. He subsequently advised on and produced programming for Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and 14-18 NOW – WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. He is currently advising on Northern Ireland’s involvement in Festival 2022 and is Arts & Culture Manager for Ulster University. His formative career was in the book trade in Dublin’s Hodges Figgis followed by the film industry where he worked for the UK Film Council, Northern Ireland Screen and the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. He is Chairperson of Outburst Arts and has been a board member of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland since November 2015. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

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.

Lynne Best

​Mrs Lynne Best (née McDowell) is currently Head of Communications for the music licensing company PPL. She was previously Managing 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 a Board Member of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast and 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.

Liam Hannaway

​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 does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

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.

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.

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.

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