Jesper Groenvold (Chair) is a Danish business executive with a background in insurance, finance and consulting and leadership positions in, amongst other places, Germany, the US and London. He now concentrates on trustee roles in arts organisations and non-exec roles in start ups. Apart from music and literature, his main subject in the arts is photography. Jesper is also an avid traveller with a special interest in South and Central America.
Kathryn Gray (Deputy Chair) is currently a researcher for the Leverhulme-funded Devolved Voices project, investigating Welsh poetry in English since 1997. Kathryn has previously been editor of New Welsh Review, publishing editor of Welsh indie press Parthian, a trustee of Ty Newydd and director of Literature Wales. She has tutored for both the Arvon Foundation and the Poetry School. Kathryn received an Eric Gregory Award in 2001, and her debut collection, The Never-Never (Seren), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Mona Arshi was born in West London where she still lives. She initially trained as a solicitor and worked for Liberty, the UK human rights organisation undertaking test case litigation under the Human Rights Act. She began writing poetry in 2008 and received a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She won the inaugural Magma Poetry competition in 2011 and was on the Complete Works Programme. She was joint winner of the Manchester Creative writing prize in 2014. Her debut collection, Small Hands (Liverpool University Press, 2015), won the Forward Prize for best first collection.
Lizzie Crump currently runs the Cultural Learning Alliance, acts as the Strategic Lead for the What Next? movement, and is a trustee of the English and Media Centre. She has a Master’s degree in Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing from Cardiff University.
Sarah Ellis is Digital Producer for the Royal Shakespeare Company. As a producer, she has worked with the Old Vic Tunnels, Battersea Arts Centre, Birmingham REP, Contact, Freeword, Improbable, Southbank Centre, Soho Theatre, and Shunt. She was previously Head of Creative Programmes at the Albany Theatre and Programme Manager for Apples & Snakes.
Mairi Johnson is an architect specialising in design for education facilities. She has extensive experience on both the client and supply side of well-designed projects, having worked for central government as Head of Design at the Department for Education and most recently for international built environment consultancy, AECOM as global lead for their work in the education sector. She is a lifelong lover of poetry.
Neil Reeder is a researcher on public services, assessing ways that local authorities, social enterprises and others can tackle issues such as youth unemployment and homelessness. A Fellow of the Young Foundation and trustee at Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau, he has an extensive background in business planning and public policy, working in a range of organisations from London Transport to HM Treasury. Neil’s poetry has been published in several magazines.
Andrew Smardon is an audit manager with a firm of accountants in Oxfordshire, specialising in the charity and not-for-profit sector. He has spent over ten years assisting charities to understand and fulfil their statutory obligations. Before qualifying as a chartered accountant, he studied English and Medieval Studies at the Universities of Oxford and York. He attends poetry workshops in Oxford and London and his poems have been published in a number of magazines.
Isabel White has two published collections and has won several poetry prizes. She has performed her work at a variety of UK festivals, in France and the Netherlands. Isabel has curated multi-disciplinary events with a variety of partners and when not working on her poetry runs her own fundraising consultancy.