British Council Architecture Design Fashion

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Sevra Davis

Sevra Davis


Sevra Davis became the Director for Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council in November 2019.

Sevra is an experienced designer, design advocate and leader in design for social innovation. Sevra studied architecture and urban design and worked in professional practice for over ten years in the US, the UK and Finland before moving to roles focused on design enabling. Most recently, she was Head of Learning at the Design Museum.

Before joining the museum, she was Director of Design at the RSA where she developed design research and design education programmes focused on design for positive social, environmental and economic impact. She has worked on a number of projects exploring and promoting the journey toward a more sustainable future and a circular economy. At the RSA, she also oversaw the annual RSA Student Design Awards programme, including its global expansion, more than doubling its income and the programme's breadth and profile.

She speaks and writes frequently about the role of design in an increasingly complex world and in April 2018 co-authored a report for Innovate UK titled ‘Unlocking the creative potential of 21st century industry.’

Sevra has degrees from Yale University, Aalto University and the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

To contact Sevra, email: sevra(dot)davis(at)britishcouncil(dot)org

João Guarantani

João Guarantani

Senior Programme Manager

João joined the ADF team at the beginning of 2014, advising on global projects and running programmes across Architecture, Design and Fashion in the Americas. João has previously led on ADF work in East Asia, and manages major programmes including the Lina Bo Bardi and Rogelio Salmona Fellowships, UK links with international Architecture and Design Biennales and Festivals, and oversees ADF's Residencies and Fellowships.

Since studying for his Graphic Design degree at Central St Martins, João has fostered an interest in the history of design, visual culture and cultural identity. In 2010 João received an MA in Cultural & Critical Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London, where he carried out research in Exhibiting Cultures and Aesthetics & Cultural Theory. At the end of 2012, João joined the British Council Arts team in Brazil, where he delivered the Visual Arts and Museums strands of Transform, a four-year culture and creativity platform for exchange between Brazil and the UK. 

From 2007 to 2012, João was Curator and Project Manager at Gallery 32, where he led the programme of exhibitions, screenings and talks. Gallery 32's main aim was to promote Brazilian visual culture, with a focus on modern and contemporary art, architecture and design. João has curated a number of design exhibitions, including Brazil Illustrated, and recently commissioned major ADF projects for UKMX, the year of cultural exchange between Mexico and the UK, including the UK Pavilion at Guadalajara Bookfair and Ways of Seeing, an installation by Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan. João has also completed a number of temporary postings for the British Council overseas, as Director Arts in Mexico and Regional Director Arts in Europe.

To contact João, email: joao(dot)guarantani(at)britishcouncil(dot)org

Matt Payne

Matt Payne

Senior Project Manager, Venice

Matt joined the British Council in 2019 to project manage the British Pavilion exhibitions at the Art and Achitecture Biennale in Venice.

Matt previously worked for Nesta, delivering a global innovation skills programme for creative hub leaders in partnership with the British Council and Hivos.

He has experience of delivering major exhibitions at the British Museum (Sicily: Culture and Conquest, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave and Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece) and led a review of programming and exhibition development to diversify the paid-for and free entry offers as part of the Museum’s Forward Plan.

Matt has a background in strategic project delivery in central and local government, leading a major campaign in London to increase participation in the 2011 Census, implementing social cohesion policy following the 2001 disturbances in Northern cities; merging waste and recycling services in two London Boroughs and developing contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Gwen Webber

Gwen Webber

Programme Manager, Architecture

Gwen manages the team's work in architecture around the globe, and is responsible for our work in the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia and China. 

Gwen is interested in urban and cultural production and dissemination. Her work on architecture and design festivals, writing on cities and design and academic pursuits in architecture is testament to this. In 2016 she was project manager of the British Pavilion exhibition Home Economics for the Venice Architecture Biennale and established the Venice Fellowships programme. 

Prior to this, Gwen was producer of the RIBA 2015 Windows Project and a freelance writer for international and national design and architecture journals including Blueprint, AR and The Architect's Newspaper. She studied Architecture at Nottingham and received an MA in Architecture History at the Bartlett, UCL. In 2013, she wrote Studio Tilt’s first book on participatory practice, Co-Design: A Primer (Black Dog). 

While living in New York, Gwen became interested in the influential work of Soho artists and their impact on the city’s development. Her research on the intersection between art and architecture led her to VoCA, where she coordinated programmes focused on oral history as a tool for the conservation of contemporary public art. Her interest in ideas and development of urban design and material and visual culture underpins her work at the British Council.

To contact Gwen, email: gwen(dot)webber(at)britishcouncil(dot)org

Hannah Robinson

Hannah Robinson

Programme Manager

Hannah joined the British Council in 2018 to curate, programme and commission international projects across architecture, design and fashion. She is developing global programmes, including Making Matters and Fashion Revolutionaries. Hannah is also the lead for architecture, design and fashion programmes across Sub Saharan Africa.

Previously Art Director at The Future Laboratory, Hannah led a multi-disciplinary team focused on futures research. She devised editorial, films and installations that aimed to bring research to life and inspire new possibilities for the intersections of design, technology, materials and the environment.

She consulted on design futures and delivered keynotes at global institutions including Dansk Fashion and Textile, as well as guest lecturing at education institutions including RCA and UAL Futures Studio. Hannah also consulted for Impossible, a design & innovation group focused on planet-centric design.

Prior to this, Hannah took a sabbatical in 2014 to study sustainable design in New York, and completed a residency in Design For Social Change at the School of Visual Arts. Hannah also holds a first class bachelors in Fashion Photography from the London College of Fashion

To contact Hannah, email: hannah(dot)robinson(at)britishcouncil(dot)org

Parvinder Marwaha

Parvinder Marwaha

Programme Manager Design

Parvinder joined the British Council in 2018, where she leads on architecture, design and fashion programmes across the EU and South Asia. As design programme manager, she runs Design Connections, our annual delegation programme for museum directors and festival curators from around the globe.

Before moving back to the UK, Parvinder worked in The Netherlands, building a portfolio of work that includes writing, curating and interior architecture. She completed her Masters in Architecture & Urbanism with Distinction at Manchester School of Architecture, as well a first class BA in Architecture and a BArch.

She has published a number of articles on Indian architecture and design, a topic inspired by her background, becoming a regular contributor for Mark Magazine for this region. Parvinder helped found and develop XS Architecture, a platform that exhibits and sells products designed by Dutch architects, including MVRDV and UNStudio. She was also contributor to online platform Failed Architecture and Works That Work. She specialised in designing workspaces for startups, including Growth Tribe and VRBase. She also tutored at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam.

On moving to London, she worked as Creative Producer for architecture practice HASSELL, where her advocacy of equality, diversity and inclusion led to strengthening a partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

To contact Parvinder, email: parvinder(dot)marwaha(at)britishcouncil(dot)org