Skinder Hundal MBE is a known figure in the field of arts and culture and the British Indian professional has now been appointed as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority's (WMCA) Cultural Leadership Board.
Hundal was born and raised in a lively Punjabi family in the West Midlands and still lives in the region. As chair of the WMCA's Cultural Leadership Board, the passionate Tabla player and a versatile cross-cultural art enthusiast is charged with driving the region's vibrant cultural sector forward.
Hundal said: "I am delighted to accept the position of chair of the WMCA Cultural Leadership Board and look forward to working with the WMCA, the Mayor of the West Midlands and our key stakeholders across the region and beyond.
"The West Midlands has such a rich cultural and artistic heritage, and we now have an opportunity to build on the major cultural events which showcased our world-class cultural offer nationally and internationally. The recent devolution deal with the Government and the Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund all provide opportunities to harness key opportunities for the region and our cultural sector.
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"We also know there are some key challenges which will need to be addressed, and we can only achieve this by working together. One of my first tasks will be to work with the WMCA and other key stakeholders to champion a new, ambitious and distinctive vision for culture and heritage in the West Midlands. I look forward to starting work on this, together with the other members of the WMCA Cultural Leadership Board."
Hundal has been the Global Director of Arts at the British Council until recently and has overseen major cultural programmes, such as the Golden Lion winning British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2022 and has spoken for the sector at significant events such as the Davos World Economic Forum.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: "It's great news that Skinder will lead our Cultural Leadership Board given his reputation and experience within our region's rich and diverse cultural sector – as well as nationally and indeed internationally.
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"Cultural Leadership Board members have made a significant contribution as the sector continues its post-pandemic recovery and have helped to ensure the influence of arts, culture and heritage is felt across other areas falling within the WMCA remit, such as skills, transport and housing.
"The success of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the legacy funding that is following on from that spectacular summer – combined with the stronger relationships with cultural funding bodies emerging from our new Deeper Devolution Deal – means we're well placed to nurture the next generation of creative talent at the same time as making the West Midlands an even more attractive destination for residents, visitors and investors."
The WMCA established the Cultural Leadership Board in 2020 to bring together professionals working in the different parts of the cultural sector to help the WMCA place culture and heritage at the heart of sustainable and inclusive growth in the region and to enhance the quality of life for local people.
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West Midlands has one of the largest arts and cultural sectors outside London and a rich intangible and tangible cultural heritage. The role of the WMCA is to support the development of regional approaches to tackle challenges such as gaps in existing cultural infrastructure, which limit people's opportunities to participate in cultural activities and advocate for further investment.