4 May 2017

New programme director joins BHCC's leadership team

Brighton & Hove City Council has appointed Val Birchall as its new programme director with responsibility for arts & culture and the visitor economy. 

The role sits within the council’s Economy, Environment & Culture directorate and reports to executive director, Nick Hibberd.  Val will start in post on 01 July 2017.

Val joins BHCC from Birmingham City Council where she was assistant director for culture and visitor economy and had responsibility for moving the city’s museums into a trust.  At Brighton & Hove, Val will lead the development and delivery of a new 10-year strategic framework for arts and culture in the City.  Val will work with partners to develop the City’s cultural offer and grow its visitor economy by embedding arts, culture and heritage into the heart of the council’s regeneration, economic growth and well-being plans.

Her role will include leading on the delivery of the Royal Pavilion Estate Masterplan, the development of a new tourism strategy for Brighton & Hove, leading the City Council’s visitor, destination marketing and convention bureau services including the Brighton Centre and managing funding opportunities for cultural initiatives and infrastructure delivered by the Council and its partners.

Commenting on the appointment BHCC’s Executive Director Economy, Environment & Culture, Nick Hibberd said: “Much of Brighton & Hove’s economic success and its position as a popular tourist destination is down to our creative, artistic and cultural sectors.  Having expertise in this field is extremely important in helping drive the ongoing prosperity of the city so we’re extremely happy to have recruited someone of Val’s experience and calibre to the team.

“Her expertise will help us enhance the city’s international reputation as a leading cultural destination and help us to influence and develop investment and growth in this area.  Her experience in shaping and managing trusts is also particularly relevant at this time as we go forward with our own plans to develop a cultural trust for the Royal Pavilion and Museums.”

Val Birchall said: “I’m really looking forward to living and working in one of Britain’s most colourful and vibrant cities.  Arts, culture and tourism have a vital role in supporting the local economy and I know Brighton & Hove City Council has its sights firmly set on maximising these attributes for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.

There are a significant number of council-led projects already underway and I’m very much looking forward to being a part of these as well as developing future opportunities from here-on in.”

Notes for editors

Val Birchall is the West Midlands Combined Authority lead officer for Culture, Creative & Tourism, and the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership sector champion for tourism.  She has worked at regional and national levels on various collaborative projects.

Val's current remit at Birmingham City Council covers arts (including arts development, the film office, public art and arts commissioning), major sporting, business and cultural events, tourism, creative economy development, support for the visitor economy, and the commissioning and management of contracts for museums & heritage services.