Our dedicated board members share their skills, expertise and enthusiasm to help steer the strategy for the Conservatoire’s future. Most are local and became involved initially as loyal customers. 

  • Jane Burton

    Jane Burton

    Joint Chair

    Art has always been central to Jane’s life. Starting out as an arts journalist, she went on to postgraduate study at the Courtauld.

    She has over two decades of leadership experience in arts and media, and has won two Baftas and numerous other awards for her work. After a long career at Tate, she was most recently Global Content Director for the auction house Christie. Jane lives locally and appreciates the inspiring programmes that the Conservatoire offers and wants to contribute to its ongoing success.

  • Clare Cornwell

    Clare Cornwell

    Joint Chair

    Clare has lived in Blackheath for 10 years with her husband James, a barrister.

    After a history degree, Clare went into the Civil Service and spent 20 years in Whitehall working around the environment field, leading many policies including competition in the water industry, climate change adaptation, food waste reduction and the 5p plastic bag charge. Clare has been on the board at The Conservatoire since 2014.

  • Mhairi Baxter

    Mhairi Baxter

    Board Member

    Following completion of her undergraduate master’s degree in physics, Mhairi started her career in Risk Management, initially based in Glasgow.

    She has been playing musical instruments from a young age, both solo and as part of several groups, and holds an ABRSM Grade 8 in Flute. She is passionate about the impact that music and the arts can have on communities and bringing people together.

  • Duncan Campbell

    Duncan Campbell

    Board Member

    Duncan is Global Insight Director for Merlin Entertainments, one of the world’s leading providers of daytime family entertainment.

    Duncan has 30+years’ experience as a strategy and insight specialist in the leisure industry, working in markets across Europe, USA and Asia-Pacific. Passionate about the potential for arts participation to promote individual fulfilment and build strong communities, Duncan is a keen amateur painter and maker, collector, and enthusiastic supporter of a diverse range of classical music and arts organisations.

  • Simon James

    Simon James

    Board Member

    Simon grew up in South East London and regularly attended the Conservatoire for lessons, exams and concerts.

    Over the last 30 years Simon has developed proven experience in commercially oriented Board-level finance and risk roles, within businesses spanning world-class consultancy and FCA regulated investment banking, and public sector health. He is passionate about the performing arts and the real difference it can make to people’s lives and is keen to support the Conservatoire as it reaches out further in its local community.

  • Tom Lee

    Tom Lee

    Board Member

    Following his original training as an architect Tom switched to a career in publishing and educational product management.

    Tom has held product leadership roles at Pearson where he was responsible for the BTEC suite of qualifications, and at TCL where he had global responsibility for the full product portfolio across music, drama and English language operating in over 60 countries. In his spare time he likes to indulge his passion for music, and has worked as a freelance cellist, singer and conductor. Tom lives with his wife, two teenage children and two dogs in Kent

  • James Radford

    James Radford

    Board Member

    James has spent the last 15 years working with a range of sporting and charitable organisations, from Sport England to St John Ambulance.

    James has got to know the Conservatoire through bringing up his young family in the Blackheath area over the last decade. That includes rediscovering the joy of piano duets with his two daughters. He is committed to helping increase access to music and the arts for more people of all ages to enjoy positive experiences.

  • Emma Smillie

    Emma Smillie

    Board Member

    Emma grew up in Blackheath and studied at the Conservatoire from age eight to eighteen!

    After graduating in Economics and Law, she worked as a senior leader at the Financial Ombudsman Service for 15 years. Gaining extensive experience in helping organisations engage with stakeholders – and inspiring them to put their customers at the heart of what they do. Emma’s passionate about the difference that art, music and drama can make, both to mental well-being and enriching lives from young to old.