A little bit about us
Creative Land Trust was founded by the Mayor of London, Arts Council England, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.
The Charity has been developed with public and private sector partners and stakeholders, including developers, local authorities, artists and affordable workspace providers, in response to the significant pressures creative practitioners face.
The Trust is operated by an executive team committed to providing lasting solutions to London’s studio crisis and supporting the creative economy, governed by a Board of Trustees comprising of experts in arts, studio provision, property and finance.
Head of Development
Marketing and Comms
Yves Blais is Operations Manager at Creative Land Trust and has worked on the project since its inception. As part of the start-up team he delivered the initial multi-million pound funding from the three founding funders that helped establish the organisation. He also has experience in writing successful bids to trusts and foundations and public institutions in arts, culture and heritage, specifically focused on property, placemaking, and culture. This includes the acquisition of artworks into national museum collections around the UK. He has managed grant reporting across different projects in both arts and property.
Yves has experience advising and brokering opportunities in property for affordable workspace provision through his work at Outset Contemporary Art Fund and WorkWild. He is also a producer and curator having worked on public programmes across the UK, and is a Trustee at art commissioning and production charity Forma, and is Chair for the Board of postgraduate art education programme TOMA.
Gemma Dean is Head of Development at Creative Land Trust, where she focuses on developing the property pipeline and supporting growth through impact investment strategies. Her career spans the real estate finance industry having previously worked on European commercial transactions in banking, restructuring and advisory roles at international firms based in London. Throughout her career, she has championed sustainability strategies and provided business and development advice to arts organisations in London.
Along with extensive experience in philanthropic fundraising, Gordon secured private and public funding for the launch of Eden Geothermal Ltd.
Outside work he is a trustee of parkrun Global and a development charity operating in East Africa, and NED of a community orchard in Cornwall. Gordon holds an MBA from Henley Business School and is an Honorary Fellow of Exeter Business School.
Jessica Slack is Finance Director at Creative Land Trust, where she builds and maintains models and scenarios for investment appraisals and long term financing, as well as managing all of the day-to-day financial responsibilities. Before joining Creative Land Trust, she had ten years’ senior finance management experience in both the private and the charity sector, following on from eight years prior experience in the public sector in a variety of financial management roles. As head of Finance and then Finance Director at St Aubyn Estates, she gained extensive experience in managing a mature property portfolio(c150 tenancies) within a small organisation and obtaining bank finance (short and medium term) to fund developments. Most recently she was Director of Finance and IT at Second Step, a Bristol-based mental health charity that provides supported housing on a not-for-profit basis. Jessica trained as a Chartered Accountant with the National Audit Office and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
Piarvé Wetshi is Marketing and Communications Executive at the Creative Land Trust, managing all stages of branding relating to our business, activation of space and portfolio. Prior to this Piarvé has specialised in digital marketing within the events, interior design and charity sector with a focus on campaign management, consumer behaviour, lead generation and digital platforms. Passionate about sustainability in the clothing industry, Piarvé is also a dedicated advocate, leading award-winning programs in this field.
Board of Trustees
MOB Creative & PJR Creative Studios, Artist Trustee
Bier Brothers Ltd, CEO
Senior Associate, Greenberg Traurig LLP Real Estate, Legal
Old Park Lane Management Ltd, CEO
JLL, Head of Unlimited
Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Co-founder
Eastdil Secured, Managing Director
Peabody, Executive Director
Investment Director Finance Earth
PfP Capital, Placemaking and Investment Director
Amundi Asset Management, Senior ETF
Marshall Wace, Legal Counsel
CEO, PfP Capital
Natalie Carter is a member of the Real Estate Practice in Greenberg Traurig’s London office. Natalie has a broad range of experience of acquisitions, financing (raising both acquisition and development finance), property management, development agreements and disposals. Natalie also acts for lenders providing both senior and mezzanine financing for mixed use assets. Natalie was noted as a Professional Services Rising Star at the 2020 Black British Business Awards and is the co-founder of Black Girls Book Club, creating a safe space for black women who love literature. Natalie is also heavily involved with various charities and organizations that aim to improve diversity in the legal industry and the real estate industry and is passionate about supporting the growth of social value in real estate development.
Philip Bier - Bier Brothers Ltd, CEO
Philip worked for 20 years as commercial photographer. His claim to fame is two of his portraits are in the permanent collection of the National Portrait gallery. He introduced Tiger shops to the British market in 2006 and built a chain of 44 stores and employing 700 staff. Philip is now an investor, advisor, and non-exec director for both commercial and charitable organisations.
James Cooksey, Director of Central London – The Crown Estate
James joined Old Park Lane Management in August 2021 as their new Chief Executive. Prior to this James spent 12 years at The Crown Estate, latterly in the role of Managing Director of London, responsible for The Crown Estate’s holdings in Central London portfolio valued at around £8bn. With over 25 years’ experience in real estate and fund management, James is a qualified Chartered Surveyor as well as having passed the full IMC. James is a Board member of both the Westminster Property Association and HOLBA as well as a Trustee for the Creative Land Trust.
Michael Davis - JLL, Head of Unlimited
Michael is an experienced real estate advisor, with 18 years in the UK property industry. He is an expert in mixed-use regeneration schemes having advised on a number of projects including Here East, Silvertown, the Custard Factory estate in Birmingham, and Ealing Film Studios. He mentors a number of small technology businesses and has advised a number of creative sector business on their real estate strategies.
Candida Gertler OBE - Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Co-founder
Candida is an art collector, philanthropist, and former journalist. Candida co-founded Outset Contemporary Art Fund in June 2003. She initiated the contemporary art events as a board member of the British Friends of the Arts Museums of Israel and is Chair of the organization ‘Women in the Arts Lunch’ and for more than a decade, Candida serves as Executive Member of the Tate International Council.
She was recipient of the 2010 Mont Blanc Award for Arts Patronage and was acknowledged as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to Contemporary Visual Arts and Arts Philanthropy in Her Majesty’s 2015 Birthday Honours List. Since 2022 Candida is chairing the Board of Avni Institute which was founded in 1936. In 2023 she received an honorary fellowship from Goldsmiths College.
Sue-Lin Heng - Eastdil Secured, Managing Director
Sue-Lin is a Managing Director with the London offices of Eastdil Secured. She has almost 20 years working in the multi-housing and hospitality real estate sector in both investment sales and corporate advisory services. She has sold over $20bn worth of real estate across Europe and Asia, and her current responsibilities also include managing client relationships with key Asian buyers and facilitating cross border capital flows. Sue-Lin is fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese and various Chinese dialects. She holds MBAs with Columbia Business School in the US and London Business School in the UK.
John Lewis - Peabody, Executive Director
John is leading one of London’s largest regeneration programmes at Thamesmead including 1600 new homes and develop Peabody’s Commercial Property Strategy to secure and enhance the performance of its portfolio 1.8m sq ft. Previously John spent 6 years as CEO of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation. He joined the Foundation from Milton Keynes Partnership, a subsidiary of the Homes and Communities Agency, where he was CEO responsible for the economic and housing growth of the new city. John is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has a Master of Arts in Urban Regeneration. He is Chair of Greatwell Homes.
Alice Millest - European Venture Philanthropy Association
Alice is a Consultant to the third sector, specialising in impact investment, venture philanthropy and social enterprise. Her career started in the City, investing into SMEs before taking a role at Social Finance as she transitioned to the social sector. Alice works on projects that often bring together government, county councils, VCSEs, grant funders and social investors. Alice is also Vice Chair at Art Against Knives, working with young people to prevent knife crime in London.
Alexandra Notay, Co-Chair PfP Capital, Build to Rent Fund Director
Alexandra is Placemaking and Investment Director at PfP Capital, the fund and asset management arm of Places for People Group, overseeing a UK-wide residential investment strategy. She is an internationally-recognised expert on build to rent, placemaking and sustainable urban development, with 16 years’ strategic advisory and investment experience to private sector, government and third sector organisations across four continents.
Alex is a published author and editor of over 30 books and reports on real estate including the renowned ULI UK Best Practice Guide on Build to Rent (2014, 2016). She is a non-executive director of Essensys plc and Sound Diplomacy, Co-Chair of the Creative Land Trust and active on a number of industry committees.
Catherine Webster, Co-Chair - Quintain, Executive Director for Strategy and Investment
Cath has 30 years of real estate experience and has held several leadership roles as an investor or a lender in a wide array of companies including private equity, fund management and investment banking at Hudson Advisors (Lone Star Funds), TIAA & Lehman Brothers Global Real Estate.
She holds a Bsc in Land Management from Reading University, an MBA from INSEAD and is a Member of the BPF’s Affordable Housing Committee and a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Pav Sharma - Amundi Asset Management, Senior ETF, Index and Smart Beta Sales, UK & Ireland
Pav is an experienced funds distribution professional with several years experience distributing a wide variety of investment products across the UK wealth and institutional market. He previously worked at WisdomTree Europe distributing cross-asset investment solutions to UK & Ireland investors with a focus on fundraising across wholesale and institutional client segments. As well as being a highly skilled salesperson with a wide client network, Pav has considerable experience working on developing distribution strategies across UK, European and Global markets, encompassing retail, wealth and institutional segments.
Krupa Thakrar - Legal Counsel, Marshall Wace Asset Management
Krupa advises on and implements a range of legal, regulatory and commercial matters, including: investor due diligence queries, negotiation of side letters, marketing of hedge funds, structuring, establishment and maintenance of hedge funds, interactions with regulators in the UK, USA, Hong Kong and Singapore, matters of regulatory change, negotiation of commercial contracts, as well as various corporate matters.
Malene Oddershede Bach - MOB Creative Ltd and PJR Creative Studios Ltd, Artist Trustee
Alongside her creative business, Malene has since 2014 grown a large creative workspace portfolio that today provides more than 200 creative workspaces across several sites in North London.
She owns a large photographic studio, The Cove, in South Tottenham; co-runs a construction company taking on residential and commercial projects across London and abroad and in 2022 launched a local community festival in Tottenham – Markfield Road Festival – celebrating creatives through art, music and discussion.
Malene consults on creative workspace and also acts as a planning consultant, having recently had a major development approved delivering 35,000sqft of creative workspace.
Back in 2017 she sat in round table discussions with Haringey and Regeneris to consult on what eventually led to Haringey Council becoming one of the Creative Enterprise Zones. She works extensively on ensuring that affordable creative workspace will not be lost during regeneration of local areas, so her work with the CLT is a natural progression of this.
Daniel Silver is a London-based artist best known for his figurative sculptures. His practice is deeply influenced by the art of ancient Greece, Modernist sculpture, and Freudian psychoanalytic theory. Silver’s works use concrete, bronze, marble, stone, wood and clay, and often appear as monuments or totems, as if belonging to an archeological excavation. Like a contemporary Pygmalion, his figures seem to speak of the intimacy of touch and the memories inherited through material. Silver’s sculptures explore and manipulate the human figure, sometimes with brutality, at other times with the utmost sensitivity. An analyst, an archeologist and an artist, he moves constantly between styles, examining the physical and emotional impact of the body and its representation.
Haroon Mirza’s disciplinary practice tests the interplay and friction between sound and light waves and electric current. He devises sculptures, performances and immersive installations that pry on one’s awareness of their own experience. He describes his role as a composer, manipulating his primary medium, electricity, a live, invisible and volatile natural phenomenon. Adopting a myriad of materials and technologies, Mirza asks us to reconsider the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music, and draws into question the categorisation of cultural forms.
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA (b. 1962) in London, UK, studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London (1989) and received his MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London (1991).
His interdisciplinary practice uses citations of Western art history and literature to question the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities within the context of globalization. Through examining race, class and the construction of cultural identity, his works comment on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories.
In 2004, he was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 2008, his mid-career survey began at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, travelling in 2009 to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. In 2010, his first public art commission ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London and is in the permanent collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
In 2013, he was elected a Royal Academician and was awarded the honour of ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ in 2019. His installation ‘The British Library’ was acquired by Tate in 2019 and is currently on display at Tate Modern, London.
This year, Shonibare was awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Award. A major retrospective of his work opened at Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Austria, in May. He is co-ordinating the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London, which will open in September.
Shonibare’s works are in notable museum collections internationally, including the Tate Collection, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and VandenBroek Foundation, The Netherlands.
Emmanuel Unaji - CEO UNAJI& Co Ltd
Emmanuel is a multimedia fine artist based in London. Combining painting, drawing, collage and fashion design, his work is an exploration of what lies beneath the surface of human existence. He critically examines our tendency to form opinions on the basis of media headlines and photographs, critiquing the digital era we live in.
Emmanuel also co-owns Unaji&Co, an art and design company. As an entrepreneur and business owner, he understands the critical role that financial stability and long-term planning play in sustaining a studio practice.
British-Ghanaian artist Adelaide Damoah works at the intersection of painting and performance within the context of colonialism, identity, sexuality and spirituality. After studying applied biology at Kingston University London, her subsequent career in the pharmaceutical industry was cut short following a diagnosis of the chronic illness endometriosis. While convalescing, she dedicated herself to art.
Damoah’s current practice involves using her body as a “living paintbrush” to paint or print onto various surfaces. Initially inspired by a desire to subvert Yves Klein’s “Anthropometries,” in which he directed a group of women to cover their nude bodies in his signature Blue paint and then imprint themselves on white paper, Damoah prints her body onto white surfaces, thereby remixing Klein’s original performance through her own identity and encouraging discussion about female representation, feminism, sexual stereotypes and art history. Combining her body prints with found images, text and gold, she also explores her personal family history and Britain’s colonial past with Ghana in her work.