Voluntary Arts hosted its AGM last week in London and welcomed a total of four new members to its Board of Trustees. The four new members are Maryam Imran, Catherine Mugonyi, Bobsie Robinson and Nisha Tandon.

All four have previously worked with Voluntary Arts as part of its BAME Advisory Panel, whose final report is being launched at events across the UK in the coming weeks. They each bring to the board invaluable skills, experience and understanding of the many varied creative communities that Voluntary Arts represents across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Short biographies on each new board member are below.

Maryam Imran

Maryam Imran is a Project Management, Training & Fundraising Consultant, based in Glasgow, currently working for Glasgow ANSAR, Diversity Arts and Noor Arts. Her previous work has included BEMIS – Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure in Scotland and Deaf Connections. She is predominantly a community facilitator of equality and diversity work with training as her main specialism. She also has strategic fundraising, capacity building, research and consultation, community engagement and networking skills, particularly with public bodies.

Catherine Mugonyi

Catherine Mugonyi is Equality Officer at Blackpool Council. Catherine’s job involves working with BAME communities in Blackpool, consulting with BAME residents on service access and employment opportunity issues. On behalf of Blackpool Race Equality Forum she has also co-organised a Sustained Theatre Up North (STUN) roadshow event which allowed local BAME groups to access support and development opportunities regarding their arts activities and programmes. Catherine is also a director of a community interest company, Aunty Social CIC which provides accessible, affordable, participatory arts activities for local people.

Bobsie Robinson

Bobsie Robinson is currently employed by Bradford Council as the Cultural Policy and Strategy Manager. She has a long and varied history of working with BAME communities on various regeneration initiatives. She has established new groups and organisations particularly in the African and Caribbean community in areas such as Education, Health, Young and Older people. On a regional and national level she has been involved with various Arts Council England steering groups to engage and develop BAME artists and organisations. Bobsie is currently leading on a joint DCLG and Arts Council England Arts in Communities programme where she is developing a number of community arts networks across various localities and interests groups to enable grassroots communities to participate and engage in the arts.

Nisha Tandon OBE

Nisha Tandon OBE conceptualised and founded ArtsEkta (Ekta meaning ‘Bonding’), a social enterprise leading on innovation through a highly unique programme of work, addressing key social issues in Northern Ireland such as segregated communities, demographic change, legacy of the troubles, multiple deprivation, and weak community/arts infrastructures. Nisha has also led the design, development and delivery of Cultural Coach, a region-wide intercultural outreach programme; the development of Northern Ireland’s first South Asian Dance Academy; the delivery of three large scale award-winning festivals including Northern Ireland’s largest intercultural arts festival, Belfast Mela. She was appointed by the Minister for Culture, Arts & Leisure to the executive board of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland providing representation for the community arts sector. She also leads on the Stronger Together working group established in 2010. In June 2014, Nisha was the first Asian woman from Northern Ireland to be awarded the prestigious UK Asian Women of Achievement Award for contribution to arts and culture, and later that month she was awarded an OBE for services to the minority ethnic sector in the 2014 Queen’s Honours List. In 2015, she won the British Indian Award for ‘Indian Spirit in the Community’ presented by Trade Next and BDO.