On National Trustees' Week 2020, we'd like to give thanks to and shine a light on our amazing trustees and their work for our arts charity.
It has been a very challenging year for cultural organisations, and our board has helped us to navigate this difficult time to ensure MAC will return next year in a safer and stronger position.
Deborah Kermode, MAC CEO and Artistic Director, said: "Charity trustees are the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run. At MAC, we are extremely fortunate to have an incredible team of talented trustees who willingly share their expertise with us.
"Their life and work experiences provide us with a plethora of resources that enable the organisation to thrive, even in difficult times such as Covid-19. As a CEO, the trustees are a vital lifeline for me – offering guidance, challenging ideas and caring passionately as I do about MAC – and I thank each and everyone of them."
Jonnie Turpie MBE,MAC Chair of Board, said: "It’s tough, but trustees have stepped up and supported the team to keep the good ship MAC afloat during the perilous pandemic.
"With little ability to fulfill our goal of ‘arts for all’, the trustees have ensured that the underlying infrastructure is preserved for a time when the doors will open, the cinema screens beam, the stages reverberate to music, drama and dance, studios throb with the hustle and bustle of creativity, galleries holding exhibitions of art reflecting and inspiring our communities. Spaces all filled with audiences clambering for the sharing of culture.
"While we live in hope for that time, be assured that MAC trustees are keeping their eyes on the ball. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude."
MAC's board of trustees is made up of talented professionals, whose remit is to oversee the strategic direction of the organisation, giving direction and support to the management team.
Our board meet at least five times a year - more often if necessary - to review and comment on performance and future plans. They advise on the business as well as the artistic aspects of MAC, and often attend MAC events to experience the centre's work first-hand.
We asked a few of our trustees about their journey to becoming a MAC trustee, and their personal connection to our charity.
Daljinder Johal said: "As a young trustee, I’ve often been asked about my unique position being part of an institution as well-known and complex as the MAC.
"However, my relationship with the building and the surrounding area stretches back beyond my time on its board, to a childhood running around on Cannon Hill Park. The same unpretentious and welcoming atmosphere of the centre has persisted as I now visit the building and hear little voices pleading for snacks in the cafe while I’ve explored excellent exhibitions in the Arena Gallery.
"Of course during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a challenge to maintain the MAC’s relationship with its visitors without this hub of activity. However, my experience as a freelancer and working with various organisations across the Midlands, allows me to an insight into how the organisation’s brilliant staff have worked hard to maintain its various relationships and connections to communities while navigating the challenges of 2020.
"I’ve had the pleasure of friends sharing that encouraging postcards have brought an unexpected smile to their face or the online response to the team’s effort to facilitate creativity through digital workshops and deliveries of craft packs. But I wouldn’t have had the chance to appreciate the extent of MAC’s reach without my position as a young creative in the region and advocate for how the organisation continues to make art an important part of people’s lives even under the most difficult of circumstances.
"This Trustees Week, the diversity of arts boards is important now more than ever. As the sector adopts new ways of working and bringing art to audiences, this is an important moment for younger trustees to bring their expertise and ensure the perspectives of those they live, work and care for, are part of this change."
Sue Scholes said: "I first visited MAC over 30 years ago, when I moved to Birmingham. Over the years I have enjoyed its cinema, theatre, arts classes and café; and loved it as a safe space which welcomes Birmingham in all its diversity.
"In 2014 I stopped working and returned to live full time in the city. I wanted to contribute my experience and talents to things I cared about; and MAC was looking for new trustees with finance and communications skills, both of which I have. I’d previously seen other arts venues in the city disappear and wanted to help stop the same ever happening to MAC.
"To be an effective trustee, you have to care and be supportive, yet remain dispassionate and aware of your statutory duties: in other words, be a “critical friend”. We are lucky to have such a diverse range of skills and experience among the board members.
"MAC is likely to remain closed until spring 2021. The last few months have been challenging but they have also shown the power of the support of engaged and committed trustees, working alongside the management team."
With thanks to our board of trustees for their dedication, hard work and commitment to protecting the future of MAC on National Trustees' Week, and beyond.