Absolutely Cultured has revealed the appointment of Marianne Lewsley-Stier, Janine Crombie and Joanne Norman as the organisation’s new Co-Directors. From April 2023, each will share the executive responsibilities previously held by CEO & Artistic Director Stephen Munn whilst leading on their own area of specialism. The appointments mark the beginning of a new direction for Absolutely Cultured with an aim on collaboration and sustainability, participating towards and enhancing the cultural offer in the city of Hull and the UK.
Absolutely Cultured launched in May 2018 having evolved from Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Through arts programming, community engagement and learning, as well as artist development, Absolutely Cultured works to develop cultural opportunities for the city of Hull, its residents and for creative practitioners, increasing the relevance and value of the arts to the city.
Marianne Lewsley-Stier joined Absolutely Cultured in May 2022 as Curator having previously held roles at the University of Hull for nearly ten years. As Head of Culture Campus, she developed and grew the Cultural Programme and together with the Director of the Art Collection established and programmed the Exhibition Space.Marianne will oversee Absolutely Cultured’s ambitious and multi artform content including exhibitions, performances and community projects. Working with the organisation’s wider curatorial team, she will lead an innovative and engaging programme which responds to space and place, reflecting the latest developments thatresonate with audiences locally, nationally and internationally.
Marianne Lewsley-Stier, Creative Director commented, “We are passionate about providing opportunities for artists, creating meaningful experiences for audiences, and programming accessible and inclusive cultural spaces for learning, dialogue and inspiration. We would like to thank Stephen Munn who leaves a substantial legacy that reflects his deep understanding of audiences and artistic vision.”
Janine Crombie joined Absolutely Cultured in June 2018. Having completed an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2000, Janine has over 20 years in development and communications. As Development Director Janine will lead on partnerships and income generation, communications, business planning, evaluation and staff development.
Joanne Norman joined Absolutely Cultured in 2019 having previously held roles in financial accounting, HR, IT, commercial activity management and governance. As Finance and Operations Director Joanne is responsible for the financial operations of the charity including its commercial activity as well as overseeing governance, Human Resources and IT.
Janine Crombie, Development Director and Joanne Norman, Finance and Operations Director said, “We are thrilled to be stepping into this joint Directorship at such a pivotal time for the organisation. As a new Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation for the period 2023 – 2026 with an ambitious new delivery plan, we look forward to working with the Trustees, the wider team and our partners to see what we can achieve together for Hull and the UK cultural sector.”
Pete Massey, Director, North, Arts Council England said, “The arts and culture sector in Hull has been going from strength to strength since Hull City of Culture. It is fantastic to see that this legacy programme to City of Culture, Absolutely Cultured, is playing a key role in the city’s cultural scene. “
“I am thrilled that we have been able to welcome Absolutely Cultured as a new National Portfolio Organisation. Marianne, Janine and Joanne each bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge of the creative sector and I can’t wait to see the work the organisation is going to create under this new directorship.”
“Since 2019 Absolutely Cultured has benefitted from the direction and oversight of CEO and Artistic Director Stephen Munn, who steps down end of March 2023. Of the new appointments, Stephen Munn commented, “I am privileged to have been part of this unique organisation over the past three and a half years. Since its launch in May 2018 to establishing itself as the ground-breaking cultural catalyst that Hull enjoys today, I am delighted that my colleagues Marianne, Janine and Joanne are picking up the baton to see Absolutely Cultured through to the next stage of its development.”
Absolutely Cultured has quickly established itself as a leading cultural development organisation in the UK. Previous creative collaborators include internationally renowned, multi-award-winning, Hull based mixed reality artists Studio McGuire with Triptych, 2022; Floodlights, 2021 and Urban Legends: Northern Lights, 2018, and BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award winning composer and sound designer Dan Jones with Model City, 2020; Music for Seven Ice Cream Vans, 2019 and We Are Hull, 2017.
It’s current programming includes a collaboration with one of the UK’s leading, award-winning contemporary dance companies, Tom Dale Company, presenting a brand-new double bill of immersive, audio-visual, genre-breaking performances and dance sketches, in partnership with Hull Truck Theatre, 18 April 2023.