ACAVA Appoints New Chief Executive Officer

ACAVA is delighted to announce the appointment of Tom Holley as its new Chief Executive Officer. 

Growing out of initiatives by artists in West London in the 1970’s, ACAVA now manages affordable studios for 600 artists in 27 buildings throughout London, and in Essex, Stoke-on-Trent and Berlin, and is developing opportunities for further affordable workspace across the UK. ACAVA runs an extensive programme of arts, education and wellbeing projects in the areas where it is active, with a focus on the communities in North Kensington where it has been based for the last 20 years. It works in partnership with local authorities, health and education bodies, artists, developers and regeneration agencies. 

Tom joins ACAVA from Arts Council England, where he has specialised in public realm, architecture, design and digital, supporting the development of individual artists and a range of National Portfolio Organisations, including: Create London; Stanley Picker Gallery; Artangel; UP Projects; PEER; the Design Museum; Resonance FM; iniva and others. He has considerable artistic, curatorial and leadership experience in the visual arts and creative industries, having worked in arts organisations and culture-led regeneration settings for over 20 years. Previously, Tom has worked at: Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media, Leicester; The Media Centre, Huddersfield; Eyestorm; Institute of Contemporary Arts and BBC Online. He studied Fine Art at the Slade School of Art and exhibited at Matt’s Gallery. 

Tom will take up the post, and overall responsibility for the management of ACAVA, on 25th June, and its founder and current Artistic Director, Duncan Smith, will retire over a several months handover period. 

Colin Prescod, the ACAVA Chair said: 

“ACAVA’s trustees have mulled long and hard over this choosing. It might be said that the formidable Duncan Smith designed and built, then, over some five decades, captained the good ship ACAVA. And now, to venture a touch of litotes, Tom Holley brings considerably more than just a safe pair of hands to the task of steering our legendary craft through the next phase of its challenging journey.” 

Warmly welcoming the appointment, Duncan Smith said: 

“I am very pleased to welcome Tom Holley as ACAVA’s new Chief Executive Officer. ACAVA’s forty-five-year-old aims, the provision of affordable workspace and the engagement of creative people with communities through the agency of the voluntary sector, are now urgent political issues. The challenges and the opportunities are great, and ACAVA is geared up to play an important role. I look forward to watching ACAVA flourish under Tom’s leadership.” 

On his new appointment, Tom Holley added: 

“I am delighted to be joining ACAVA as their new CEO. It is an honour to take over from ACAVA’s inspiring founder, Duncan Smith. The exceptional social and cultural values upon which ACAVA has been built, and with which I am deeply aligned, are critical drivers at this challenging moment for artists and society. I look forward to working with the exceptional team at ACAVA and building exciting new partnerships and projects as we move forward together.”