Arnolfini Gallery is supported by a linked charity, the Ashley Clinton Barker Mills Trust. The Trust has an independent board of Trustees chaired by Thomas Sheppard. The Trust has been in receipt of funds in a variety of ways historically but the majority of the current funds (see balance sheet) are derived from the sale of Bush House to University of the West of England, Bristol in 2015. As the brief history below outlines this reflects the way that Bush House was originally purchased via the Trust in 1975.
The Trust’s principle object is to ‘support’ Arnolfini and it does this in two ways: by utilising the interest from its investments to make quarterly payments and by holding a small fund for one- off capital grants.
History and relationship
Arnolfini founders Jeremy and Annabel Rees were first introduced to the artists and benefactors Peter and Caroline Barker-Mill in 1963, by the London gallerist Lesley Waddington. It was a fortuitous meeting that was key to allowing Arnolfini to develop from a small volunteer-run private gallery into a major international arts centre.
Peter Barker-Mill was the first elected Chair of Arnolfini’s Council of Management. Key to cementing this commitment was seeing Jeremy’s New British Sculpture Bristol (1965), curated as an early instance of contemporary sculpture being exhibited outside in public spaces across the city centre, accessible to people whether they thought they were interested in art or not. It is not difficult to connect this with the values Peter Barker-Mill learned during his training at the Grosvenor School, a progressive art college in Pimlico which from 1925-1940 championed printmaking as a means to make art works of the highest standard affordable for a broad audience. In 1967, he would initiate the Peter Barker-Mill Trust, to provide funding for Jeremy to leave his post teaching typography at the Bath Academy of Art and run Arnolfini as Director full-time.
The Barker-Mills remained dedicated, hands-on Council members throughout the dynamic early decades of Arnolfini, which would see it rapidly expand – Annabel remembers Peter and Caroline laying carpet tiles in the W-Shed, Arnolfini’s home from 1973-75, where Arnolfini’s cinema programme began. They were key to securing Arnolfini’s move to Bush House, our home since 1975. And in 1979, they generously gifted farmland from Peter’s family estates near Lymington, in Hampshire, the rental income from which would support the expenses of running an expanded organisation which by this time was attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Later, this land would be sold to support the purchase of Bush House in 2001, prior to the major redevelopment which created Arnolfini as we see it today.
The Barker-Mills supported other public arts organisations in the city, including the Bristol Old Vic, and Arts Space Studios, as well as supporting Nature Conservancies in Hampshire and Somerset. They also maintained their careers as artists, with Peter being commissioned to create a memorial for the Tank Corps at Bovington in Dorset.
Geoffrey Clements is a Bristolian, educated at Clifton College and Balliol College Oxford. He qualified as a chartered accountant in Bristol, and spent three years in London and two in Sydney, before returning to Bristol as a tax partner with Coopers & Lybrand. He left to run his own small practice before selling that to another accountant in 2005.
He has been a trustee of the Friends of Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre for over 30 years and was Treasurer of Age UK Bristol for 10 years. He has been Chairman of the Tobacco Factory Arts Trust, and a Trustee for Dr. Johnson’s House in London. He is a member, and past president, of the Anchor Society, one of the three societies founded to assist older residents of Bristol.
His hobbies include golf, bridge, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, theatre, cinema, singing with the Redland Green Choir, occasional attendance at his allotment, and watching Bristol City, and Bristol Rugby.
He is Treasurer of the Old Cliftonian Golfing Society, Secretary of the Millennium Seniors Captains Golfing Society, and a past Captain of Bristol & Clifton Golf Club.
Rebecca NK Gibbs is an award-winning Creative Producer and Community Development Practitioner with 40 years of experience in multi-disciplinary arts practice and events production generating Local, National and International participation.
With a degree in Art in a Community Context with Drama and Theatre studies, Rebecca’s career trajectory has encompassed arts commissions, cross sector design and ITC, Management Consultancy and Project Management. She currently enjoys the design and delivery of person-centred engagement experiences as part of her Community Development Project management Consultancy service. She also enjoys assisting clients to nurture collaborative partnerships.
Rebecca brings a commitment of ethical, equitable and holistic sustainable integrity to her appointments as demonstrated in her prior voluntary roles of Chair of St. Paul’s Afrikan and Caribbean Carnival Ltd and Charity, Chair of Afrika Eye Film Festival, and a 6 year term with West Bristol Arts Trail. In addition to being a Trustee of the Ashely Clinton Barker Mills Trust, Rebecca is on the Management Committee for the Methodist Modern Art Collection and has been a Trustee of a Grant giving Trust for over 15 years.
Fiona Hallworth post-Cambridge, was drawn into wide-ranging recruitment in a top FTSE company, including graduate recruitment and training, then moved into industrial relations and HR at Granada Television which prepared her for a fulfilling career in consultancy, leadership, management and teaching. Her MBA training at Loughborough University gave her up to date skills to modernise the private education sector, delivering policy, strategy, systems, processes and building projects. As an ISI Inspector for 24 years she then developed a consultancy profile working on projects for BAE Systems, Australian and UK software companies, the Malaysian Government, Shanghai University, Bristol China Partnership, UKTI and private Preparatory and Secondary Schools in UK and India.
Fiona has evaluated schools and their students in the UK, Europe, South Africa, Mexico, China, Japan, the USA and Australia. As a director of Managed Education Services she has counselled, guided and advised school pupils, undergraduates, post-graduates, teachers, Heads and bursars on their careers and personal development. Working in Pakistan at the HO of a large chain of 500 private schools (aka ‘The City School’) she enjoyed training Heads in school improvement, contemporary education pedagogy, business policy and modern marketing strategies. She also set up the country’s first art and culture festival in Lahore.
In outreach and drawing upon an extensive personal network, Fiona enjoys being a committee member at local, regional, and national levels for charitable organisations in education, the arts, employment and welfare. In between all of the above she has run a small antiques business, been a director of a ski holiday company and a Trustee of three Bristol arts organisations. She has recently contributed to a publication of short stories and is writing three books in-between her own art projects.
James Myatt details to follow shortly.
Derrick Price is a freelance writer who has published widely on photography, film and literature. He worked for some years in publishing and film before moving into higher education.
He was Associate Dean of the Faculty of Art, Media and Design at the University of the West of England for some ten years. He is an active participant in cultural projects and has been associated with a number of organisations. He was Chair of the Council of Management, Watershed Media Centre, Bristol, and of the Board of Ffotogallery, Cardiff. A paperback edition of his book Coal Cultures: Picturing Mining Landscapes and Communities will be published by Routledge in 2021
Anna Southall enjoyed a long and varied career in the cultural sector. After 17 years at Tate Gallery she became Director of the National Museums of Wales and ultimately Chief Executive of MLA, the Museums Libraries and Archives Council.
Since 1975 she has served on the boards of a number of grant making bodies. She chaired the Barrow Cadbury Trust from 1996 to 2006 and, in 2004, joined the Board of the fledgling Big Lottery Fund, serving as Vice Chair from 2006-2014.
Today, Anna remains the lead trustee for Barrow Cadbury’s Criminal Justice programme, and enjoys her involvement with a number of organisations in Bristol where she lives, particularly with Bristol Together, a CIC which trains and employs ex-offenders. Anna was chair of Arnolfini from 2015 to 2018 and remains a trustee of the Ashley Clinton Barker-Mill Trust which provides financial and other support to Arnolfini.
Thomas Sheppard qualified as a solicitor in 1977 and has held many different roles as both a lawyer and in law firm management.
Alongside his professional life he has been actively involved with many charities as a trustee and often as the chair. These charities have followed his interests and include arts-based charities, such as Bath Festivals, Bath Theatre Trust and the Arnolfini; health charities, such as Dorothy House Hospice Care, the Royal United Hospital NHS Trust or the mental health charity RICE. He also spent over ten years on the Council of Management at the University of Bath.
Current roles include the chair of the Bath Preservation Trust, a campaigning and heritage charity which also runs four museums. Thomas is the chair of trustees of the Ashely Clinton Barker Mills Trust and is the High Sheriff of Somerset for the year 2021 – 2022.