Two new Trustees join Birmingham Museums Trust

Appointments aim to help museums increase appeal to young people.

Birmingham Museums Trust has today announced the appointment of Sapreena Kumari and Elly Porter to its Board of Trustees. Sapreena and Elly’s appointments will help to diversify and strengthen the organisation’s trusteeship, bringing with them strong credentials from their experience in the education sector.

Sapreena Kumari is Director of Admissions, Student Recruitment and Outreach at Aston University and has worked in education for 13 years, and Elly Porter is a History and Politics Teacher at The John Roan School in South East London.

Their expertise in schools and further education will help Birmingham Museums to increase its appeal with children and young adults – a key objective for the organisation which serves communities across Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe.

Niels de Vos, Chair of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Sapreena and Elly bring a wealth of expertise to the Board and we are thrilled to welcome them to the organisation to bolster our team, with particular focus on our aims to reach more young people in the city.

“Their experience in the education sector will be invaluable as we plan for the future and look to reach younger audiences through our exhibitions, activities and outreach work.

“We also know we need to continue to diversify across the organisation and the appointment of two women of colour to these key Trustee roles is an important step which will help us to challenge ourselves to best support the charity in delivering its objectives for the people of Birmingham.”

The announcement follows research by the Charity Commission in 2017 which stated that charity boards were not reflective of the communities they serve. The research found that men outnumbered women trustees on boards by two to one and the majority of trustees were white, older and above average income and education.

Sapreena Kumari has seen her educational roles focus on social mobility and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter, or re-enter, education. Sapreena won the 2019 Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Future Face of Public Sector and Education for her social mobility work.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Elly Porter spent five years as a cultural communications specialist across London, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where she was Associate Director of Strategy at award-winning communications agency Sinclair and its sister agency Sinclair Arts. Elly was Marketing Interactive’s PR Rising Star (Asia) in 2018 for under 30 achievers and won the title NQT of the Year by multi-academy trust United Learning in 2020. Elly was born and raised in Birmingham and is passionate about the city’s unique history and offerings.

Elly Porter said: “I am delighted to be joining Birmingham Museums Trust at such a pivotal moment. The appointment of Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah as Co-CEOs to the Trust is an incredibly exciting moment for the future of Birmingham, and I look forward to working with them, Niels and the other esteemed trustees to ensure we enhance our public institutions.”

Sapreena Kumari said: “It’s a great opportunity to be joining Birmingham Museums as a trustee. The museum is central to our culture and heritage and tells the story of our region and it’s my aim to bring the venues within the trust to life for as many people in our diverse community.”

Changes to the Board follows the appointment of Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah as Co-CEOs, which makes Birmingham Museums Trust only the second organisation to be led by a person of colour across the 45 institutions represented on the National Museums Directors Council.

The new appointees succeed Tracey Stephenson and Chrissie Twigg who are standing down from the Board after three years. Sapreena and Elly join the current Trustees: Chair – Niels de Vos, Mohammed Ali MBE, Claire Williamson, Luke Southall, John Diviney, Eamon Mooney, Jonnie Turpie MBE, Dr Louise Brooke-Smith OBE, Liam Byrne MP, Clive Bawden, Cllr Phil Davies and Cllr Robert Alden.

More information about the Birmingham Museums Board of Trustees can be found here.