7 July 2022



In March 2022, the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) released a national open call for nominations of five key individuals to join its board of trustees. The Trust received submissions from numerous highly-skilled and seasoned candidates who all demonstrated a passion for the cultural and creative industries. The Trust sought suitable candidates to lead the following portfolios for a three-year term; Capital Growth and Strategic Partnerships, Financial Management, Risk and Audit, Business Strategist, and lastly, Marketing Strategist.


Critical to the success of the ACT’s strategy of investing in the advancement of the arts and creative sector through professional skills development, mentorship and entrepreneurial initiatives, is a solid governance structure led by a board of experts in the field who are committed to transferring knowledge, skills and resources for the betterment of the sector. After an intensive and carefully considered review process, it is with great pleasure that the Trust announces the appointment of not only five, but six new trustees!  They are namely Arthur Nkuna, Brenda Doyle, Lakin Morgan-Baatjies, Levinia Jones, Mariapaola McGurk and Professor Peter Baur.


CEO of the Arts & Culture Trust, Jessica Denyschen says, ”We are excited to be expanding our board with an exceptional cohort of professionals. The final selection of candidates will advance our endeavours to drive through our new strategy and expand on our vision for the future. The new members of our board bring diversity and specialist knowledge that will feed the development of solutions speaking to our current and evolving context in the arts and culture sector.” She added, “The Trust wishes all our new and remaining Trustees a fantastic term ahead, we are honoured to welcome you into the ACT family.”


Arthur Nkuna is a Johannesburg based talent specialist who has been a key player in the creative entrepreneurial space and an advocate for synergies between the creative and business worlds. Brenda Doyle is a financial specialist who has worked as a consultant and executive at various finance and investment institutions including; Southern Life Association, Futuregrowth Asset Management, Investec Bank and Ernst and Young. Lakin Morgan-Baatjies is a creative and cultural consultant who specialises in marketing, brand positioning and business strategy. Levinia Jones has 15 years of experience in building the creative economy with a focus on building creative ecosystems between Africa and the global North, specialising in strategy development, cultural and social programmes, innovation and research.


Mariapaola McGurk is an independent consultant, visual artist, researcher and educator. She has a passion for youth development and the creative industries, having obtained an executive MBA from the Henley Business School with a focus on Creative Economy, youth unemployment, creative entrepreneurship and the value of creative hubs. The remaining candidate to join the Trust is Professor Peter Baur, an Associate Professor at the University of Johannesburg’s College of Economics. His field of research includes cultural, financial, behavioural and development economics. Professor Peter Baur previously sat on an advisory board for the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and he currently sits on the research board for the Gauteng Department of Economic Development.


“On behalf of the Trustees, Founding Partners and Arts & Culture Trust stakeholders, we welcome the appointment of six new members to the board as well as the wide-ranging expertise, knowledge base and board experience they bring in terms of oversight, governance, sound financial management and capital growth. Especially at this critical juncture in the organisation’s history and ongoing legacy as we engage with the challenge of change, transition and embracing new perspectives. Given the parlous state of the creative and performing arts sector since the impact of lockdown – and a government ministry that is indifferent to the plight of our creatives – this can only bode well for the future of the organisation and its beneficiariessays David Dennis, chairperson of the ACT Board of Trustees.


Professionalism, passion and ongoing continuity are crucial contributors to the success of the Trust. Its 28 year legacy and ethos requires custodians to ensure relevance and growth and the Trust is delighted to welcome our new board members.




Over 28 years of arts support

The ACT is South Africa’s premier independent arts development and investment organisation. ACT’s main focus is to increase the capacity for arts and culture initiatives to create sustainable futures, through development and investment in innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured development programmes, ACT provides support to all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration. For more information, please visit the ACT website, follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page.