Venu Dhupa has just completed nearly three years work with Creative Scotland as Director of Creative Development as part of the senior start-up team. Her responsibilities included the Arts, a number of Investment Programmes and International Strategy and Engagement. Prior to working at Creative Scotland she was working as a consultant and had her own publishing company.
Former employment has been: World-wide Director of Arts for the British Council where she led and completed the first international consultation/review in 25 years on the Council's global arts strategy; Director of Creative Innovation at the Southbank Centre, London (Europe's largest cultural centre). The Creative Innovation unit was imagined as a tool for introducing new partners to the organisation as well as an organisational development tool; Fellowship Director at The UK's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) where she managed a portfolio valued at £13million; Chief Executive at the Nottingham Playhouse; and Producer (Mobile Touring) at the Royal National Theatre.
She was the inaugural Chair of the East Midlands Cultural Consortium appointed by the Secretary of State at the Department of Culture Media and Sport. Her career history has always balanced creative exploration and strategy with implementation and delivery. This has been an important balance in developing a judgement for accountability with risk. Her motivation remains good customer service, good value and positive social change and these continue to drive her as an activist.
She is or has been a Trustee of the Theatres Trust, a Member of University College London's Heritage Committee, the external examiner for UEA MA in Creative Entrepreneurship; a Governor of Guildford Conservatoire, a Council Member of Loughborough University, a Member of the Institute of Ideas and a Member of the European Cultural Parliament. She is a patron of the Asha Foundation. She has been awarded the prestigious National Asian Woman of Achievement Award for her contribution to the Arts and Culture.
I have never really considered myself 'creative' and I very much admire people who have a clear distinctive creative streak. However, if by creative you mean someone who is curious, hard-working and not afraid to take up challenge, then yes, I'm creative with a quite determined side.
Before bird catching a little offering must be made, so it is here I must acknowledge my ancestors...
I'm delighted to introduce Helle Juul as our third Woman of Influence in our international series. I first met Helle about eight eight years ago and was inspired by her ideas, the elegance of her language, her presentation and also the warmth with which she addressed questions from the audience. In Helle I saw at once the core competences one would expect from an outstanding architect with the vision to realise exceptional processes and projects. I am looking forward to a time when we might work together but until that time I thought more people should know about how her talent and business acumen is changing the face of architecture in the Nordic region.
Later this year we will begin our Creative Cities series, which will look at Creative Cities in the Commonwealth - a nice link to the Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow this year. However, London is always pushing the boundaries when it comes to new and innovative initiatives and something quite special has been happening near London Bridge. Britain is strengthening its commitment to public engagement with science in a new Science Gallery in London with whom this journal hopes to build an ongoing relationship. I went to meet the new Director, Dr Daniel Glaser, to hear all about it.
I have known of Janis' work for some years but have been struck by her recent commitment to working in China and also the super-human energy she has put behind this. As the original instigator of the International Creative Entrepreneurship Awards when I was at the British Council, I am delighted that she was awarded one last year and that it will take international work forward for the UK in such a progressive manner. I hope you enjoy Janis' reflections.