Sarah Mann became Director of the Architecture Design Fashion team in April 2016. She joined the British Council from the National Trust, where she has been developing a strand of contemporary programming for a portfolio of historic properties.
Previously, Sarah was Programme Manager for the British Council on Connect ZA, a three-year season of arts projects focused on building connections between emerging creative industries in the UK and South Africa. She commissioned projects including the Maker Library Network with Daniel Charny as part of Cape Town's World Design Capital and Joburg Photo Umbrella with Brighton Photo Biennial and the Market Photo Workshop.
Between 2008 and 2012, Sarah was part of the curatorial team and Head of Learning and Participation at Somerset House, where she worked on a ground-breaking series of exhibitions and public programmes including SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution, Pick Me Up: Graphic Arts Fair, Maison Margiela 20 and Tim Walker: Storyteller. Sarah has an MA in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University and the Design Museum.
To contact Sarah, email: sarah(dot)mann(at)britishcouncil(dot)org
Senior Programme Manager
João joined the ADF team at the beginning of 2014, advising on key projects globally and running programmes across Architecture, Design and Fashion in the Americas. João has previously led on ADF projects 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 a range of fields, including 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 is 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.
To contact João, email: joao(dot)guarantani(at)britishcouncil(dot)org
Gian Luca Amadei
Programme Manager, Design
Gian Luca's primary interest is in design, its history, material innovation and the relationship between technology and industry. In 2013, Luca joined the ADF team as Programme Manager and has since been working on the development of design expertise across his designated regions, Europe and Africa.
In 2014, Gian Luca completed his PhD at Kent University. Extracts of his thesis, The Evolving Paradigm of Victorian Cemeteries: Their emergence and contribution to London's urban growth since 1833, have been presented at conferences in the UK and abroad. Prior to this, he received a degree in interior design and later an MSc in Architecture History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
His curiosity for design process deepened when he struck up a collaboration with Blueprint magazine in 2007, first as European Correspondent and then as Products Editor. Gian Luca consolidated this experience as author of Discovering Women in Polish Design: Interviews & Conversations (Adam Mickiewicz Institute, 2009). An advocate of life-long learning, he also tutors on the MA Curating Contemporary Design course at Kingston University as well as providing mentorship to design students at Central St Martins and Royal College of Art.
To contact Gian Luca, email: gianluca(dot)amadei(at)britishcouncil(dot)org
Programme Manager, Fashion
Kendall programmes, curates, produces and commissions architecture, design and fashion events and exhibitions across East Asia and South Asia as well as in the UK, and advises on the British Council’s fashion work internationally. Her interests are in fashion curation, emerging fashion, craft and cultural heritage in contemporary design, material innovation, and fashion design education, her other specialisms include country music, hot sauce and literature pre-1950.
Kendall has managed some of the British Council’s major fashion exhibitions, including Reconstruction: Cultural Heritage and the Making of Contemporary Fashion, Gem: Contemporary Jewellery and Gemstones from Afghanistan, and Dressing the Screen: The Rise of Fashion Film, the first ever UK exhibition of fashion film. She has also devised programmes such as Fashion Machine in Indonesia, Fashion DNA, the Common Thread residencies and the Graduate Fashion Week International Residency Award.
After receiving a BA in Fashion History and Theory from Central St Martins, Kendall worked as curatorial assistant on the exhibition Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Barbican and was a freelance researcher on the V&A and Crafts Council’s exhibition Power of Making. Kendall has delivered guest lectures on fashion and culture at various institutions, including London College of Fashion, the National Museum of Georgia, the Indus Valley School of Art and Design and the LaSalle College of Arts Singapore.
To contact Kendall, email: kendall(dot)robbins(at)britishcouncil(dot)org
Programme Manager, Fashion
Niamh specialises in fashion history and curation. She studied English Literature prior to completing an MA in Fashion Curation, and is particularly interested in the intersections between fashion, literature, philosophy and cultural theory. Niamh has previously led on our UK International Showcases programme, which includes the International Architecture Showcase and Design Connections. She continues to lead on the ever-growing International Fashion Showcase, and on programmes in Wider Europe.
After graduating from Oxford University with a BA in English Literature, Niamh completed an MA in Fashion Curation at the London College of Fashion. Her interests in fashion have tended to be interdisciplinary and her MA final project focused on the subcultural clothing of beat writers and artists in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Having shifted her focus to fashion curation, Niamh began work with the Shwop Lab project with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and the National Trust, where she programmed Out of Hours, a cross-disciplinary art event at Ham House. Niamh joined the ADF team in 2012 to assist on the production of the international showcases, as well as other programmes including Mark-ing, Design Explore and Gem.
To contact Niamh, email: niamh(dot)tuft(at)britishcouncil(dot)org
Programme Manager, Architecture
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 more recently established the Venice Fellowships programme to take place during the forthcoming Art Biennale for the first time.
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
Kate Le Versha
Kate joined the British Council in 2016 and works part time as Communications Manager for the ADF team, while continuing to run her independent communications and brand consultancy.
Based in Somerset House, Kate established ‘Le Versha’ in 2009 and has worked with over 30 brands from the worlds of design, art, fashion, craft and architecture including the Royal Institute of British Architects and many award-winning young studios. From furniture brands inspired by Brutalism, to architecture practices vying for the Young Architect of the Year Award, fine jewellery to embroidered wallpaper, hand blown glass to foundations working in Uganda and Myanmar; Kate is thrilled to support the creative talent she works with. At the British Council, Kate works across all of ADF’s programmes, applying her expertise in strategy, messaging, PR and marketing to projects from the Venice Architecture Biennale to New British Inventors.
After graduating from the University of Cambridge having read English Literature, Kate briefly worked in corporate communications with clients such as M&S, Tesco, Barclays Wealth and Goldman Sachs before striking out independently.
To contact Kate, email: kate(dot)leversha(at)britishcouncil(dot)org
Laura started the role of Venice Fellowships Programme Manager at the British Council in April 2017. She works across Architecture Design Fashion and Visual Arts.
Laura’s interests are based on providing cultural and work-based learning opportunities for students and graduates. Collaborating with professionals from design and education, Laura is an experienced facilitator working to deliver rich learning experiences and outcomes.
An architecture graduate from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, Laura has worked in the charity and public sector programming educational events and projects linked to the built environment. She has worked across departments at RIBA, most recently in the London regional team on the student mentoring scheme and managing projects such as Pews & Perches.
On a national level, she has worked with UK schools of architecture and as an educational adviser at CABE, wrote publications for school audiences such as Our school building matters. Previously she worked for the architecture centre, Northern Architecture, delivering an outreach programme across the North East of England. Laura is from Gateshead.
Working with 18 UK partner universities and organisations, Laura now manages the Venice Fellowships programme for the 57 arts students and volunteers on a unique steward-research experience at the British Pavilion in Venice.
Debbie joined the ADF team in 2015 as Programme Coordinator for the International Fashion Showcase and Venice Fellowships Programme for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Since then she has also undertaken a secondment as Acting Programme Manager for East Asia and South Asia, delivering projects across architecture, design and fashion both locally and in the UK.
Prior to this Debbie worked on a number of freelance projects spanning design and digital events, university research projects, writing and community management. Her previous roles include Project Coordinator for curator Jane Withers, working on architecture and design exhibitions, and Partner Coordinator at London Design Festival, building relationships with the Festival’s vast array of partner organisations.
Debbie turned her focus to exhibitions, museums and design history while studying Three-Dimensional Design at Camberwell College of Arts. Her undergraduate dissertation entitled ‘How does the museum setting affect the perception of contemporarily designed, functional objects?’ was nominated for the Design History Society Student Essay Prize. More recently Debbie completed a graduate certificate in History of Art and Architecture at Birkbeck College, University of London, specialising in the history of exhibition making since 1860.
To contact Debbie, email: debbie(dot)leane(at)britishcouncil(dot)org
Jacob de Munnik
Jacob joined the British Council early 2015 as Touring Exhibitions Assistant. He has since taken on the role of Programme Coordinator with ADF and worked across Design programmes, including Design Connections. With a background in art history he is interested in the potential for cross disciplinary collaboration between Design and Visual Arts and the challenges faced by both fields.
After receiving a BA in Art History from the University of Amsterdam, Jacob interned at auction house Christie’s where he conducted artist research, and at the culture department of Dutch weekly newspaper Elsevier, where he wrote articles about Art and Design. After that he completed his MA in Modern and Contemporary Art at VU University for which he focused on the methodology and critical theory of the German political artist Hans Haacke.
Jacob then pursued his interest in exhibition management and worked for The House of ABABA, a Rotterdam gallery representing young and emerging artists, where he managed exhibitions and events. He also worked for Ron Mandos Gallery in Amsterdam, coordinating exhibitions for a.o Ryan McGinness (USA), Daniel Arsham (USA) and Nika Neelova (RUS).
To contact Jacob, email: jacob(dot)demunnik(at)britishcouncil(dot)org