UK’s artistic leaders join the Genesis Kickstart Fund’s Advisory Council - Genesis Foundation

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UK’s artistic leaders join the Genesis Kickstart Fund’s Advisory Council

11 November 2020

Barbara Broccoli and Grayson Perry announced as special advisers to initiative that includes over  30 leading figures from the arts

£1 million Genesis Kickstart Fund will create future-facing projects for outstanding freelance talent in the creative sector across the UK

The Genesis Foundation today reveals the names of the 30 or so leading figures from the arts who are supporting its Kickstart Fund by becoming Advisory Council members.

The £1mn Kickstart Fund, announced last month, has been launched by John Studzinski, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, to support freelancers in the creative sector and specifically to help them survive and thrive in an environment transformed by Covid-19.

The challenges posed by the pandemic have forced the cultural sector to explore new ways of working, for instance by exploiting technology to find new ways of engaging with audiences.

The Fund will be rolled out in 2021, the year that marks the 20th anniversary of the Genesis Foundation. It will generate structured work opportunities for a diversity of freelance creative professionals, who, as they participate in future-facing projects, will earn an income and continue to build their careers and professional networks. The first projects are expected to go live mid-2021. Donations to the Genesis Kickstart Fund can be made here.

The members of Advisory Council, chaired by John Studzinski, will contribute in a variety of ways. Some will scout high-quality, inclusive, and innovative artistic projects to involve freelance creative professionals across the UK, while others will select the most promising and relevant projects to receive grants of £10,000 and up. Certain members of the council will also mentor the freelance creatives who have received project grants.

Members, assigned to disciplinary sub-committees, are as follows:


Harry Christophers CBE – Founder and Conductor, The Sixteen

Polly Graham – Artistic Director, Longborough Festival Opera; Genesis Opera Director

Tanya Joseph – Board Member, London Philharmonic Orchestra

Sir James MacMillan CBE – Composer

Kathryn McDowell CBE – Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin – Chief Executive, UK Music

Marie-Sophie Willis – Chief Executive, The Sixteen


Theatre & Film

Samuel Barnett – Actor, Genesis LAMDA Scholar

Barbara Broccoli OBE – Producer, EON Productions – SPECIAL ADVISER

Benedict Cumberbatch CBE – Actor, LAMDA President

Rupert Goold CBE – Artistic Director, Almeida Theatre

Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE – Artistic Director, Young Vic Theatre

David Lan CBE – Writer, Theatre Producer

Rufus Norris – Artistic Director, National Theatre

Abubakar Salim – Actor, Genesis LAMDA Scholar

Abdul Shayek – Artistic Director and Joint CEO, Tara Arts

Dame Janet Suzman – Actor, LAMDA Vice-President



Farooq Chaudhry OBE – Co-Founder and Executive Producer, Akram Khan Company

Stina Quagebeur – Dancer and Choreographer, English National Ballet


Art/ Photography

Michael Armitage – Artist

Emma Bowkett – Director of Photography, FT Magazine

Chris Levine – Artist

Frances Morris – Director, Tate Modern

Renee Odjidja – Curator: Youth Programmes, Whitechapel Gallery

Grayson Perry CBE RA – Artist – SPECIAL ADVISER

Rebecca Salter PRA – President, Royal Academy of Arts

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA – Artist


Arts Leaders and Champions

Harriet Capaldi – Managing Director, Genesis Foundation

Jan Dalley – Arts Editor, Financial Times

Jemma Read – Head of Philanthropy, Bloomberg

John Studzinski CBE – Founder and Chairman, Genesis Foundation

Veronica WadleyBaroness Fleet – Chair, Department for Education’s Expert Panel for the Model Music Curriculum


John Studzinski CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said

“Since its inception 20 years ago, the Genesis Foundation has grown to become a real network of networks. We put our trust in outstanding leaders to seek out exceptional talent, nurture them and amplify their voice. For Kickstart, we’ve reached out to our network and way beyond, and invited visionary artists and cultural leaders to join the Advisory Council. They will scout and guide the best freelance creative talent across the UK, and provide a boost to the sector at this challenging time.”

Barbara Broccoli OBE, Producer, EON Productions and Special Adviser, Kickstart Fund, said:

“The creative industries play a really important role within the UK economy and we must help the freelance talent within them whose careers have been greatly affected by the pandemic.  The Kickstart Fund is a great initiative to provide this support.”

Grayson Perry CBE RA, Artist and Special Adviser, Kickstart Fund, said:

“Carved into the beam in my studio is the motto ‘Creativity is Mistakes’. It is still true even in these shockingly difficult times. Artists need to experiment and get it wrong, there is no right way to make great art. But another important aspect of being creative is to feel relaxed and current circumstances prevent this.  Therefore I am very happy to be involved with the Genesis Kickstart fund. Artists, especially at the beginning of their careers, need support, and this fund will allow them to try new things, learn new skills and take risks even under the shadow of this crisis.”

Benedict Cumberbatch CBEPresident, LAMDA, said:

“So much of the exciting work in the creative sector comes from young freelancers whose projects and income have been hit hard by the pandemic.  The Genesis Foundation’s Kickstart Fund is a brilliant initiative to help bring some of this work to life and support the young creatives to thrive. I am delighted to be representing LAMDA on the advisory council alongside some of the greats of the UK’s creative sector.” 


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