New Leadership for Portsmouth Creates

Portsmouth Creates, the CIC cultural catalyst company behind the hugely successful We Shine Portsmouth, is delighted to announce two new members joining its executive team – Louise Wilders and Claire Looney .Louise and Claire will be fulfilling the role of Chief Executive jointly, through a shared appointment, with both bringing a wealth of professional experience, to the position.

Portsmouth Creates anticipates that this combined leadership role will accelerate its strategic work across the city, to support artistic development and creative growth as well as continuing to facilitate ground-breaking collaborative projects. Louise’s depth of knowledge and understanding of Portsmouth communities and the not- for-profit sector from her previous role of founding Chief Officer of The Hive Portsmouth combined with Claire’s experience of strategic working within the city’s cultural sector, will help Portsmouth Creates build on its initial success and deliver the vision for the organisation to improve cultural access and participation across all the city’s communities. With Portsmouth being identified as a Priority Place by Arts Council England and Southampton being shortlisted as a potential City of Culture, there is now a significant opportunity for Portsmouth Creates to help improve cultural prospects in the area and deliver better recognition of the value of Cultural and Creative Industries across the Solent LEP region as part of the pandemic ‘Build Back Better’ programme.

Chair of Portsmouth Creates Tim Rusby says “We are truly delighted to be able to welcome two such talented and well-respected professionals to the organisation, to help lead us in writing the next exciting chapter of Portsmouth Creates’ story and fulfilling its role as an independent catalyst for creative and cultural opportunities across our great city.

The success of recently delivered projects such as the We Create creative markets and the phenomenal, We Shine Festival in November 2021 has been due entirely to the hard work and selfless commitment of the amazing but tiny team here at Creates and our incredibly supportive partners. With Claire and Louise now working with us, we hope to dramatically expand the range of collaborative projects that we can help enable, support and nurture for the communities of Portsmouth.’’

Victorious Festival Director, James Ralls added “I am very pleased with the appointment of Louise Wilders and Claire Looney as joint CEO of Portsmouth Creates. The Creates team have done an amazing job throughout the pandemic and these new appointments will help grow the good work started during the pandemic as well as develop in interesting new directions post pandemic. Victorious Festival will be delighted to continue its investment in these capable hands and I very much look forward to seeing the positive impact the appointments will have on our creative and cultural sectors.”

Louise and Claire will be working alongside Portsmouth Creates’ Head of Projects, Billie Coe, from May and will be initially developing a summer programme, supporting Board growth and enabling more creative collective opportunities including the hopeful return of We Shine 2022.