Head of Development and Research
Catherine Herbert is our Head of Development and Research. Catherine joined Whitstable Biennale in 2012, before which she spent five years in local government Arts/Culture teams including Kent County Council.
Having studied Fine Art at University for the Creative Arts (KIAD), Canterbury, and MA Arts Management at City University, London. Catherine has a background in supporting artists projects and has worked with Hayward Gallery, British Art Show, Museum of Modern Art Bologna, Tate St Ives, Turner Contemporary, and Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, particularly with artist Adam Chodzko.
Freelance Creative Producer Schools Programme Estuary 2021
Dzifa Benson is our freelance Creative Producer liaising with schools as part of Estuary 2020. Dzifa recently completed an MA at Birkbeck and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and has worked as a freelance writer and creative for organisations as diverse as the Chineke! Foundation, Southbank Centre, The Royal Geographic Society, The Poetry School and the British Library.
Dzifa, who is a poet, playwright, journalist and workshop facilitator, has had many years of experience working as an artist in schools and other organisations and is based in London. As an arts journalist, Dzifa has contributed articles and essays to publications such as the Financial Times, the Guardian and The Telegraph. She is currently working on a commissioned play and her debut poetry collection.
Mary Jane Edwards
Mary Jane Edwards is our Executive Director. With a background in social practice and visual arts, Mary Jane is dedicated to supporting artists to interrogate our social, environmental and political landscape. Previous roles include Head of Programme at FACT, Metal Liverpool, The Creative Society and The Old Vic Tunnels. She has been privileged to work with early-stage career artists and eminent practitioners, and collaborate with international partners such as Arts at CERN, CCCB and lieu le unique.
Mary Jane has also worked in social policy, with a particular focus on social finance for common good, youth employment in the creative industries and digital innovation. Previously she co-led art collective, Shrinking Space, and is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Liverpool Science and Literature Hub. When not working, Mary Jane rewilds a wildflower meadow planted to increase the biodiversity of the local habitat.
Learning and Communities Producer
Nephertiti Schandorf is an early career producer whose practice focuses on performance, audio and moving image in non-gallery contexts. She has produced discursive works, collaborations and research projects in partnership with the Showroom, Raven Row, Peckham Platform and PS/Y.
Nephertiti has developed and delivered mid to large-scale exhibitions and programmes with the Whitworth and Manchester Galleries, the Royal College of Art with the BFI, LUX and the Picturehouse Cinema Group. Since graduating from her MA in 2016, she works closely with artists as a Producer on multi-disciplinary and multi-site projects/exhibitions with partners including ACE, Art on the Underground, Somerset House, the National Lottery Community Fund, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Local Trust Creative Civic Change.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Samuel Taylor is our Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Sam joined us in 2020 from Parallax Photographic Coop, a photography cooperative he co-founded in Brixton. He has also worked as a freelance creative for organisations such as Photofusion Photography Centre and Barbican Centre on communications and digital projects.
Sam also works as an artist, having studied Print at the Royal College of Art and Photographic Art at the University of Westminster. Originally from the Midlands, Sam found the coast in 2018 and has lived in Margate ever since.
Freelance Senior Project Manager Estuary 2021
Sarah Rowland is a freelance Events and Project Producer and has joined us as Senior Project Manager working on the Estuary festival. She has vast experience of working in the creative and events industry, organising regional as well as national events and specialises in outdoor and site-specific projects. Her most recent contracts have involved the commission, transportation and installation of a statue of Gandhi, the organisation of the Opening Party for the Cricket World Cup to a live and televised audience and the delivery of a visual arts and culture festival over a period of six weeks and multiple site-specific locations.
Sarah has worked with a variety of artists and performers across the arts and culture spectrum, including visual artists, musicians, dancers and performing artists and enjoys the challenge of creating new and innovative work in unexpected environments.
Artistic Director and Chief Executive
Sue Jones is our Artistic Director and CEO. Over the last 30 years, Sue has worked closely with early-career contemporary visual artists to enable the making of over 500 ambitious and experimental new artworks. She was previously Curator and then Director of Chisenhale Gallery in London, before joining Whitstable Biennale as Director in 2005. The next Whitstable Biennale will be its tenth edition, and in recent years Sue has overseen the organisation’s slow and organic evolution into our new umbrella company, Cement Fields.
Sue believes in leadership and working practices based on trust, generosity, and inclusivity. She comes from an East London working class background and is passionate about creating opportunities for artists, participants and audiences to explore and experience different ways to look at the world, telling new stories, often from outside of the mainstream.
Board of trustees
Andy is an artist, and lives and works in Whitstable. He is Course Leader and Associate Head of School at the University for the Creative Arts and previously taught at Wimbledon School of Art after studying Sculpture at Central Saint Martins in the 1980s. He has been involved in the Whitstable Biennale since its inception.
Andy has exhibited at The London Art Book Fair at the ICA in 2007 and the Whitechapel as well as at Book Art Fairs and events in the UK, Hungary, Minnesota, Russia and Denmark, Turner Contemporary in Margate and at the Whitstable Biennale and Sheffield Artists Book Prize. He has work in the Tate Britain Library and in Artists Book collections around the world and has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum shop and with Marc Jacobs ‘Bookmarc’. He currently has work at the Book Art Bookshop in London, Boekie Woekie in Amsterdam and galleries in Whitstable and Norfolk. He has recently completed a large commission for The Grand Scotland Yard Hotel in London.
Mel has a strong personal interest in continuing to champion opportunity for visual arts within the wider creative community. After a long and senior career in Film & TV he lives in Whitstable and brings to Cement Fields a wealth of experience in making ‘content’ commercially viable for diverse audiences.
Currently Chair of the British Board of Film Classification, Mel most recently restructured Curzon, the UK’s oldest exhibitor of Independent Film. He pioneered the day and date release strategy, creating the online video on demand service Curzon Home Cinema and in Feb 2017 received a BAFTA for its “Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema”. Curzon was later sold to the US company the Cohen Media Group in Dec 2019.
Mel also sits as a mentor for the venture capitalist firm Ascension Ventures which focuses on early stage Media Tech companies. He was also Chair of London’s oldest Cinema, the Rio Dalston.
Mel has also held senior management roles at Fremantle (one of the world’s biggest producers of Television), Sky, Disney and digital agency i-Crossing.
Amanda has spent her career to date working in arts management, initially specialising in media relations, working in regional theatres and then for The Royal Ballet and Royal Opera House. She has held senior management roles at the Barbican, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (where she was Director of Arts and Heritage) and Crafts Council. Since 2012, she has been Director of Development and External Affairs at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has served on the boards of Central School of Ballet, Hampstead Theatre and the institute of International Visual Arts. She is highly engaged with both performing and visual arts, with a particular interest in interdisciplinary and immersive work. Amanda lives in Whitstable.
Rachel Wyndham Wincott
Rachel started her career in the arts after achieving her BA in Performing Arts at Middlesex University. She worked as an artist and actor for the first 10 years of her career. In the 1990s Rachel pioneered the arts initiative Creative Block, a charity funded by the London Arts Board and the Arts Council. The project was housed in spectacular unused offices buildings in the City and West End at the time with the full co-operation of the owners who benefitted from the rates relief. The group built white and black cubes in which to present arts and theatre shows and installations.
Rachel served on the board of Clean Break Theatre Company for 10 years and held the chair for the 3 years during which the major lottery funding was won and spent. She has also worked with the board of the Estorick Foundation. In 1994 Rachel had a change of direction and re-trained as an accountant. She has worked in one of the top 5 accountancy firms as well as a number of small private practices. She set up her own private practice in 2009 which has grown steadily from personal recommendation. She now looks after 150 clients and has a team of 8 staff. The firm earned a Financial Times business award last year. The practice focuses on creative clients looking after artists, art galleries, designers and architects and is fast becoming one of the prominent accountants for artists in London.
Jane Pitt is an artist based in North Kent. She makes installations that include sound, performance and text. Often sited in unusual public spaces, on land, water and in moving vehicles. Her work evokes a heightened awareness of environment and encourages curiosity in the topography and complexity of a place.
Running away with French Circus Archaos compounded her desire to make work across disciplines in non-traditional spaces for all audiences, including Wunderkammer, featured at The National Theatre and London Festival of Architecture; ‘Flüchtlingswelle’ commissioned by Wiesbaden Kunstsommer winning her the Curator’s Choice Prize for work which expresses global, social and political significance. Recent work includes: Fl-utter-ances (Tree Songs) audio-visual installation for Inside Out Dorset Festival; Maunder Maps for Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft and an international residency at Sura Medura, Sri Lanka
Stephen is an artist who often infiltrates odd and abandoned places, noting changes in the complex relationship between manmade and natural environments. His projects are rooted in research which explores these themes in a variety of media by merging social, historic, geographic and environmental content in a subjective investigation of place.
Since 2012 he has led on the creation and extensive tour of his floating artwork The Exbury Egg, with its attendant Eggman in Residence, to different communities around this country and internationally. His current work in Thamesmead and Venice resulted in a residency and solo exhibition ‘Natura Prima?’ for Bow Arts Trust and La Fondazione Bevilacua La Masa during the 2019 Venice Biennale.