Agenda item


To approve the public minutes and summary of the Barbican Centre Board meeting held on 22 January 2020.


The public minutes and summary of the Board meeting held on 22 January 2020 were approved as a correct record subject to one typo. Members were reminded that the Board’s last meeting on 25 March was a non-public inquorate meeting and the meeting note did not require approval.


The Chairman advised Members that his term as Chairman had come to an end. Members were advised that due to the current pandemic restrictions, April Court had been unable to go ahead to reconstitute its Committees for the year and there would be no 2020 elections for the Chairman. Subsequently, the current Deputy Chair would become Acting Chair until the elections could take place. The Chairman thanked Members for their support during his tenure which had been a privilege and was sad to pass the baton on under the current circumstances. Members and Officers thanked the Chairman for his great support and leadership over the years.  


The new Chair thanked the outgoing Chairman who was a privilege to work with. The Chair advised that these were difficult circumstances and the Barbican Centre had big challenges to overcome in the next few years.


Vote of Thanks to the Outgoing Chairman


Alderman Graves paid tribute to Giles Shilson, the past Chairman.



That the Members of this Board take great pleasure in expressing to:




their sincere gratitude and appreciation for the dedication he has shown in all aspects of work of this Board, and the exemplary manner in which he has presided over proceedings during the last three years as Chairman of the Barbican Centre Board.


HIS detailed knowledge of, and involvement in, the work of the Centre - together with his committed enthusiasm for the arts - have been of great value to the Board. During a time of increasing funding pressures for the arts, his keen financial acumen and eye for detail has been invaluable in balancing the artistic activities of the Centre with the transformation of the Barbican into a more commercially-minded organisation, generating significant income to ensure that the Centre can flourish as a world-class multi-arts centre in a new funding environment. As a member of the Barbican Centre Trust he has constantly supported the fundraising activities of the Centre, and his attendance at many artistic and fund-raising events has been deeply appreciated by all, and he has supported the establishment of the new post of Director of Development for the Centre. 


HIS work with cultural partners, both within and beyond the City Corporation, has helped the Barbican’s management team in all its work. He has been very active in the work of the Board and has shown great leadership in steering the Board through a period of change. His engagement with others has also been invaluable in the ongoing work around developing the Centre for Music project which would transform the Barbican for the future and be a substantial legacy. Giles has chaired the Barbican Board’s meetings with warmth, skill and efficiency, and Board Members would wish to thank him for involving them so fully in both decision making and information sharing.


SEVERAL important pieces of new strategic thinking have been developed in his time as Chairman, notably a newly revised Strategic Plan, strategies for each of the art forms and for Creative Learning across the Barbican and Guildhall School.  A new International Strategy and an Arts and Learning Civic Strategy have been created and approved. Capital projects that have been approved and executed include those around fire, health and safety, and the refurbishment of level 4, with others currently in train.


THROUGHOUT his term of office, Giles has managed the Board’s deliberations with a fair and firm hand to ensure that the Board executed its duties in a competent manner.  It is only a matter of regret to all that the end of his tenure as Chairman takes place during the enforced closure of the Centre as a result of Covid-19, and the Board looks forward to expressing their thanks personally to him in the future.


FINALLY, in congratulating their former Chairman upon a most successful term of office, his colleagues on the Board wish to convey their thanks to him for his extremely dedicated service to the Barbican Centre during his tenure, and to his wife Dorothy for her constant support and attendance at the Centre. It is hoped with continued good health and happiness he can continue to serve the Barbican Centre and the wider City Corporation for many years to come.

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