Sage Gateshead’s Head of Strategy set to join Bristol Beacon’s senior team

Adam Kent, Director of Creative Learning and Engagement, Bristol Beacon

Bristol Beacon has announced the appointment of Adam Kent as its new Director of Creative Learning and Engagement.

Adam, who has worked for Sage Gateshead since 2011, replaces Phil Castang, who left Bristol Beacon earlier this month to take up a new role as CEO of Music for Youth.

In his current role at Sage Gateshead, Adam is part of the senior team leading and delivering its creative learning music programme – one of the largest in the UK – with overall responsibilities for strategy and new partnerships. He also oversaw the recent NPO submission to Arts Council England.

In 2018, he undertook a 12-month secondment to the Lowry Arts Centre in Greater Manchester, the most visited cultural venue in the North West. As Director of Learning and Engagement, he led a diverse, multi-artform programme engaging over 35,000 people, targeted at expanding access to arts and culture for those most marginalised by society.

When he takes up his new role at Bristol Beacon in September, he will be responsible for creating the future vision for the organisation’s education and community work. This area has grown since the music charity, also responsible for Bristol’s iconic venue of the same name, was created in 2011. Its specialisms include working with underrepresented communities including 2,500 young people with disabilities and in care, and providing community-based health and wellbeing programmes.

Bristol Beacon is also responsible for delivering the National Plan for Music Education to all children in the city aged four to 18, inspiring 39,000 children across 150 schools, special schools and youth groups every year.

It also has major partnerships with Youth Music and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to deliver its innovative community programme and a partnership with the Earthsong Foundation to deliver its unique Earthsong programme in 12 schools in Bristol, which was recently singled out in the newly released National Plan for Music Education.

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of Bristol Beacon, says: “We are absolutely thrilled that Adam is joining the team as our new Director of Creative Learning and Engagement. We believe in the power of music to transform lives and are passionate about our role in delivering musical opportunities and experiences that are as far-reaching as possible.

“Our creative learning and engagement team’s work has flourished under the leadership of Phil Castang to become a creative, dynamic and agile team responding to the ever-changing scope of music education. We look forward to Adam bringing his knowledge, skills and expertise and playing a key role as we head towards the completion of our venue’s transformation and re-opening in 2023.”

Adam says: “I am very excited to be joining Bristol Beacon at such a pivotal time in their history following a high-profile name change, a newly renovated venue and a vision to deliver greater music accessibility and opportunities for everyone.

“Bristol Beacon is fantastically placed as a music education hub, National Portfolio Organisation and a major Youth Music funded organisation, to respond to the new National Plan for Music Education. It is also an anchor institution in the city of Bristol, so I am keen to see how we can build further on this to ensure that all Bristolians see it as their venue for the music and civic activities they want to do.”