Director of Nottingham Lakeside Arts receives OBE at Buckingham Palace

17 Mar 2017 14:00:00.000

The Director of Nottingham Lakeside Arts has been formally appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace.

Shona Powell attended the investiture ceremony today (Thursday 16 March 2017) after being named in the New Year Honours list.

The ceremony was conducted by HRH Prince Charles.

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Shona was joined by her brother Grant Montgomery and his wife Joan, and her friend of many years Julie Robertson.

She said: “It is an enormous privilege to represent the University and the arts community at Buckingham Palace.  It was so special to share the event with my younger brother, sister in law and oldest friend. Once I’ve received the DVD recording I intend to recreate the occasion in Dundee wearing my full outfit including hat and ridiculously high heels especially for my 97-year-old mum, complete with champagne bubbles!

“It is very humbling to receive this remarkable honour.  I’m enormously lucky to work in a role that I love, and for an organisation which encourages and supports ambition.  I am inspired on a daily basis by colleagues and artists, including our students.  I work with an incredibly talented team and have had the opportunity to work with so many terrific artists locally, nationally and internationally. This award is as much a tribute to them and the University as it is me.”

As a passionate advocate for the arts Shona has engaged with children and families, as well as hard to reach communities, and ensured the programme of activities around productions and exhibitions at Nottingham Lakeside Arts is underpinned by learning.

Her belief in the importance of the youth audience has led her to campaign artists to recognize that any work made for children should be made with the same rigour, commitment and passion shown when creating for an adult audience.

Shona was appointed the first Director of Nottingham Lakeside Arts in 2002 following a decade-long stint as founding Director of The Lemon Tree, a multi-arts venue in Aberdeen.  Over the next 14 years she grew audiences from 77,000 to almost a quarter of a million, supporting the  development of major exhibitions like LOWRY and Elizabeth Frink: The Presence of Sculpture. Both drew record audiences and received wide-spread national acclaim. 

In 2013 Nottingham Lakeside Arts premiered Inside Out of Mind – the result of a collaboration between Professor Justine Schneider in the Institute of Mental Health, Meeting Ground Theatre Company, and Lakeside - before a national tour supported by Arts Council England in 2015. The project was a finalist in the National Lottery Awards, and the legacy of this  continues today with screenings of the live theatre recording taking place across the UK, and the potential for further interest in activities internationally.

This year Shona, who is Chair of MOKO Dance (national consortium of partners concerned to promote high quality dance to young audiences); a founding partner and lead organisation of East Midlands Children’s Theatre Consortium; a Board Member of Cultivate; a member of the Strategic Cultural Partnership; previously Chair of Déda; and a Board Member of The Egalitarian Trust, and Vice-Chair of Spirit Nottingham; was named as one of the 100 most influential people in Nottinghamshire in a list compiled by the Nottingham Post.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


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Liz Cass - Head of Media Relations

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 748 4734 Location: University Park

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