This wonderful team of staff make the work we do possible. Below are profiles of our key people.
Our full staff structure is also available to download company structure – hybrid arts
Director – Stella Carr
Profile: Following a Foundation in Art at Liverpool Polytechnic and Graphic Design and Illustration BA at Kingston Polytechnic, in the early 1980’s. Carr worked with clients like Spitting Image, Willy Wear, Swatch, Marks & Spencer, The British Museum, Common Ground and the Ecology Gallery. Carr’s artistic practice has included graphic, textile, exhibition design and landscape sculpture – this took her on a three-month secondment in Brazil funded by The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in 1989, commissioned to work as an artist alongside anthropologists and botanists. Awarded a fellowship from The Zibby Garrnett Foundation, Lincoln University in 2000, Carr studied the interface between art and horticulture at Jardins de Métis and international Festival Of Art in the Garden. Carr’s practice has been recognised in publications, commissions and exhibitions. Carr’s current work is focused on drawing audiences to read contemporary landscapes in ecological, socio-political and horticultural terms.
Carr taught in higher education and arts development between 1984-2002. It is through this practice that she became aware that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, often with a wider life experience than their peers, were a minority in mainstream arts education – yet if they did progress to further and higher education they frequently had a creative edge on their peers. Through these observations Carr co-founded Hybrid Arts in 2003.
Director, Office & Development Manager – Gemma Corden
Profile: After completing a BA in English at Birmingham City University, Gemma became a freelance journalist specialising in the arts, culture & social impact. She was commissioned by a number of publications and websites to write pieces on cultural organisations from across the West Midlands region.
It was through this work that Gemma met Hybrid Arts, when she profiled the company for Channel 4’s IDEASFactory project in late 2004. She shared a real affinity with the team, and once the article was published they stayed in touch. After another year of freelancing Gemma decided to put her skills to best use in supporting and promoting the work of Hybrid Arts, by joining the team to become their Writer & Researcher in 2005.
Over the last nine years Gemma’s role has evolved, being a key support behind the scenes, promoting the company’s best practices and writing project bids. She continues to support Hybrid Arts’s development in her current role of Office & Development Manager.
Chair of the Board, Non-Executive Director – Val Smith
Profile: Hailing from a Leicestershire coal mining family, Val left home to pursue a Nursing career aged 17, qualifying as a Nurse at Nottingham General Hospital, later training to become a Midwife, and following her experiences decided to become a Health Visitor.
She found herself working in Seattle for the Counselling Society, moving around America to volunteer at local hospitals, starting an innovative group for cancer patients with a colleague at St Elisabeth’s 30-years ago.
Val returned to the UK in the mid-1990s, completing a part-time degree at Warwick University in Health & Social Policy. It was here that, during a secondment to a training department, Val became involved in NVQs. She achieved the status of Assessor and Verifier of Awards, starting work for Pearson Ed Excel as a Standards Verifier in 2003, around Apprenticeships and Quality Reviews, a role in which she continues today.
Val supports Hybrid Arts in her role as Acting Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, also working with the Medical Study programmes at Warwick University.
Education Manager – Sally Montague
Profile: Specialising in Photography and Film, Sally completed a BA Hons Degree in Media Production at Coventry University. Her studies took her to places such as South East Asia, America and Europe, where she focused her work around culture and politics.
Sally undertook various freelance commissions before deciding to pursue a career teaching within the arts, joining Hybrid Arts in 2011 as a Visual Arts Teaching Assistant as part of a Coventry City Council Internship programme. Sally excelled in her role, and was taken on as a permanent employee when her internship came to an end. She has developed in her role to become Education Manager, devising and delivering a variety of curricula to hundreds of learners, and overseeing the delivery and quality of qualifications at Hybrid Arts. Sally plays a key role in delivering our Level 2 and Level 3 Art and Design qualifications, completing on-the-job training to become a Qualified Teacher in 2014.
Pastoral Care Manager – Gwenyth Mafham
Profile: In her role as Pastoral Care Manager, Gwenyth aims to help our students make the most of their opportunities at Hybrid Arts and within their wider education, by addressing areas that hold them back, for example low confidence, low self-esteem or anxiety.
Gwenyth was employed by the Coventry NHS Partnership Trust for 10 years working with The Community Drugs Team, delivering pioneering work in bringing complimentary medicine into this setting. She has a wealth of experience working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds struggling with drug use and low self-esteem.
Gwenyth is a Homeopath with over 20 years experience. Registered with the Society of Homeopathy, she works to a code and ethics of practice – details of which are available to view online http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/about-the-society/professional-conduct/code-of-ethics-and-practice/