Who's Who

We are one committed and customer friendly team made up of trustees, staff and volunteers, all working together to bring you the best in arts and cultural experiences.

Our Leadership Team

Chief Executive - Marie Kirbyshaw

"It’s fitting that my industrial home-town roots of Sheffield brought me to Luton - an equally energetic and diverse place to grow the impact of culture."

I started my career as an artist and lecturer having studied Fine Art and Museum Studies in Newcastle. I managed two Arts Centres in the North East of England and Buckinghamshire, before heading up Museums, Arts, Libraries and Public Art in Milton Keynes. I joined The Culture Trust in 2015, bringing over 20 years’ experience in cultural leadership, creativity, strategic thinking and doing! Cultural engagement and place-making has interconnected my interests, studies and work in Manchester, Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham, Sunderland and Sheffield. I have cross-sector experience having worked in cultural management for two local authorities, two charities and one University. The mix has served me well in understanding how great places evolve and how fruitful partnerships are formed and nurtured. I am continuing to grow my cultural heritage knowledge through a part-time PhD, which is expanding my awareness of global and local heritage regeneration trends and issues. It’s fitting that my industrial home-town roots of Sheffield brought me to Luton - an equally energetic and diverse place to grow the impact of culture. I value the opportunity of working with the Culture Trust’s incredible team to amplify community engagement with our Museum collections, gardens and heritage at Wardown House Museum and Stockwood Discovery Centre.

I am also energised and inspired by the arts and creative industry activities in the Hat District, Storefront Gallery and Hat Factory Arts Centre.  My challenge (and motivation) is to establish a sustainable cultural trust charity model that works in practice and grows into a self-feeding ecology. Pioneering in approach, we are a determined Trust, committed to making a meaningful difference and open to conversations that collectively and collaboratively move us forwards.  I am so proud to work here.

Director of Finance and Resources - Gillian McKay

Gillian McKay

Director of Customer Experience - Ashley Bishop

Ashley Bishop

Marie Kirbyshaw

Our Trustees

What they do

The board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring that the Trust operates in accordance with company and charity law and is prudently financially managed.  As volunteers, Trustees contribute their experience and expertise to the Board’s role of determining the strategic direction, policies and planning of the Trust.  The board meet quarterly to review charity business and ensure the board fulfils its duties and responsibilities. Trustees also contribute to sub-committees which include Finance, HR and Major Projects.

Under the leadership of the Chair, and delegations to the Chief Executive, the Board;

  • Develops the Trust’s long-term strategic direction and ensures that the organisation keeps to its objectives;
  • Sets policy, defines high-level goals, manages risk and evaluates performance against agreed targets;
  • Applies due diligence to all Board decisions in relation to investments and long-term financial planning;
  • Ensures the organisation functions and complies within the legal, charitable and financial requirements of a charitable company limited by guarantee with a trading company;
  • Is professional, decisive and collective in its approach to governance by discussing, understanding and agreeing strategic matters;
  • Ensures the financial stability of the organisation and proper investment of funds to protect the future of the trust;
  • Promotes the Culture Trust’s purpose and advocates for its success and long-term sustainability.

Who they are

  • Andrea Stark
  • Andy Strange
  • Robert Smalley
  • Julma Begum
  • Joanne Prior
  • Sufian Sadiq
  • Carlota Larrea
  • Bilal Hussain
  • Safeer Ahmed

Arts & Heritage

We are an arts and cultural charity for the people of Luton and beyond.


We are dedicated to giving everyone the chance to take part in learning

Take Part

Working with our local communities is a major part of what we do

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