Director, Citizens In Power and Sortition Foundation & Former Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Battersea Arts Centre
David works with organisations in the democratic sector. He became a Director of the SORTITION FOUNDATION in July 2020 which is one of the world’s leading providers of sortition services. In other words, it selects random but representative groups of everyday citizens to join citizens’ assemblies; commissioned by governments and public bodies all around the globe. Recent examples include the UK’S CLIMATE ASSEMBLY and the JERSEY ASSISTED DYING CITIZENS’ JURY. The Sortition Foundation also campaigns for a citizen-led democracy, such as replacing the House of Lords in Westminster with a permanent Citizen’s Assembly.
David is also currently developing CITIZENS IN POWER with Saad Eddine Said, setting out to achieve three ambitions. Firstly, to research and share real-life stories from around the globe about citizens in power who are leading change. Secondly, to initiate a shared public laboratory to test out models of citizen-led governance. Thirdly, to provide practical support to groups and organisations who would like citizens to play an active and powerful role in their work.
Prior to his work in the democratic sector, David was a leader in the cultural sector. David was Chair of KNEEHIGH THEATRE from 2008-2013. He was part of a collective of people who supported the development of WHAT NEXT? movement from 2010. He was inaugural Chair of the LONDON THEATRE CONSORTIUM from 2012-2015. He was a member of the inaugural Advisory Council for the CREATIVE INDUSTRIES FEDERATION from 2015-2016. He was a panellist on the inquiry into the CIVIC ROLE OF ARTS ORGANISATIONS by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation from 2017-2018. He was a member of Arts Council England’s TEN YEAR STRATEGY External Reference Group from 2018-2019.
David was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE (BAC) from 2004 to 2019 with a purpose “to inspire people to take create risks to shape the future”. David produced and co-produced shows such as Punchdrunk’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (Observer Top Ten Shows of Decade), Kae Tempest’s BRAND NEW ANCIENTS (Ted Hughes Poetry Prize), BAC’s LONDON STORIES: MADE BY MIGRANTS (Observer Best Theatre of 2016) and FRANKENSTEIN (Off West End and Total Theatre Awards 2019). We were also the producer for PERFORMANCE LIVE a newly created strand of live theatre, dance and poetry for BBC TWO and BBC FOUR featuring artists like Akala, Touretteshero, Hofesh Shechter and Slung Low.
During David’s time leading BAC, the organisation:
* launched BAC Productions and BAC Touring with an international programme partnering with over 100 venues in more than 20 countries, as well as inventing a more embedded and sustainable approach to UK touring called the COLLABORATIVE TOURING NETWORK;
* kick-started a new national network called CO-CREATING CHANGE to develop and share more democratic approaches to producing culture and introduced innovative social change programmes including THE AGENCY and LOCAL ROOTS;
* created BAC MOVING MUSEUM as the new custodian of the Wandsworth collection and developed CREATIVE MUSEUMS as a national development programme to explore the creative role of Scratch in the heritage sector;
* achieved the asset transfer of Battersea’s former Town Hall, signing a 125 year lease and delivering an innovative £26m RENOVATION PROJECT in partnership with Haworth Tompkins winning a RIBA National Award and The Stage Build of the Year Award in 2019;
* reimagined the organisation’s operating and programme model with PROJECT WORKING and increasing annual turnover from £1.5m in 2004 to £6m in 2018/19, growing the organisation’s staff capacity from 25 to 65 FTE and increasing investment in artists by over 400%;
* partnered with Touretteshero to develop the world’s first RELAXED VENUE and partnered with Artistic Directors of the Future and the Bush Theatre to develop UP NEXT to support artistic directors of colour including Battersea’s new Artistic Director appointed in 2019.
Prior to working at Battersea Arts Centre, he was Director of Your Imagination (2001-2004) which was a company dedicated to producing independent artists including TOBY JONES, KAZUKO HOHKI and RIDICULUSMUS. He was the Development Producer at Battersea Arts Centre (1999-2001) working with Artistic Director Tom Morris to develop and launch the organisation’s Scratch programme. And he was Director of the Lion & Unicorn Theatre with Central School of Speech and Drama (1998-1999). He has enjoyed teaching roles in secondary and higher education in Northampton, Bristol and London.
David is an HONORARY FELLOW of Central School and has an HONORARY DOCTORATE with Roehampton University. He trained at Bretton Hall, Bristol University (MA) and Central School of Speech and Drama (MA, Distinction).