Steering Group

CVAN EM’s Regional Director is supported by a Steering Group, made up of representatives from regional organisations and artists / artist workers from across the East Midlands. Steering Group members act as advisors and advocates who use their knowledges, experience, and skills to inform and champion CVAN EM’s work. Our Steering Group is dynamic and diverse, passionate about the arts and active within the creative sector in the region. Key responsibilities are to:

  • Support the Regional Director to set and achieve measurable aims and objectives.
  • Contribute to network wide conversation and activity.
  • Identify opportunities for partnerships and funding.
  • Represent and champion CVAN EM within the sector and region
  • Demonstrate an interest in and enthusiasm for developing the role of CVAN EM.
  • Support positive relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Attend x4 Steering Group meetings per financial year. 
  • Support recruitment for future new Steering Group members.
  • Contribute to an annual review of responsibilities.
  • Support the development of ‘subgroups’, with different focus areas.

Please refer to our Terms of Reference for a full overview.

The Steering Group is currently made up of the following people:

Saad Eddine Said (Co-chair)

Known for his City Take-Overs, Saad Eddine Said is a curator who initiates and builds bridges and creative partnerships between local communities, artists, activists, social entrepreneurs, innovators, cultural organisations and governmental institutions. His work focuses on co-creating impactful and artistic takeovers that are aimed at re-thinking, re-imagining and re-shaping the structure and future of institutions and communities in towns and cities nationally and internationally. He presented his work and vision around theories of change in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. Saad Eddine Said is the Co-Founder and previous Co-Artistic Director of the charity Terre Sans Frontiere (Morocco) and worked as the Director of HOME Slough (UK). Saad has recently taken the position as Artistic Director and CEO of New Art Exchange.

Saziso Phiri (Co-chair)

Image credit: Tom Morley

Saziso Phiri is a UK-based curator, producer, writer and strategist, working predominantly in contemporary visual arts.

She is currently Associate Artistic Director at New Art Exchange. She also holds positions as a Creative ThinkTank Panellist for UK New Artists, Head of Programming and Research for The Drill, an artist development platform for artists working within the African art ecosystem, Director for Young Hustlers C.I.C, and Co-Chair of the East Midlands division of CVAN (Contemporary Visual Arts Network).

She founded The Anti Gallery (2016-2022), a pop-up initiative focused on engaging art outside formal gallery environments. During its four-year phase, the platform delivered around 30 events, including exhibitions, performances, artist talks, artist residencies, film screenings and workshops for children and adults.

Saziso has worked nationally and internationally for and in collaboration with organisations that include Rough Trade, Sadler’s Wells, Nottingham Contemporary, Fifth Word, Backlit Gallery, Threshold Studios, UK New Artists, City Arts Nottingham, Sheffield DocFest, Jerwood Arts, Attenborough Arts Centre, Eurovision, Nuart Festival, Two Queens, British Council, Sheffield Museums, wallplay and Format International Photography Festival.

Her practice is driven by exploring new ways of curating and stimulating perceptive dialogues between artists and audiences through exhibitions and interventions. She is passionate about encouraging arts engagement and participation within and beyond the gallery, and the professional and creative development of artists of all career stages. She has curated, co-curated and produced shows and programming with and for artists of various levels from early career to established.

Amrit Doll

Amrit provides sector support as the Arts Officer for Leicester City Council. She co-produces commissions, events and organises the annual Open Exhibition at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.

In her own artistic practice, Amrit considers acts of constructing and layering through multimedia. She has completed residencies at Surface Gallery, Nottingham, and at the University of Loughborough. She is also part of the photography collective, The Field Studies, and has written articles for Art Review and the remark.

Charlie Collins







Charlie is an illustrator, curator, facilitator and storyteller. Her practice explores traditional medias and alternative publishing methods, with a focus on wellbeing, environmental issues, creative collaboration and viewer interaction. Charlie co-directs No Jobs in the Arts, a project that supports early-career creatives in the East Midlands.

Harriet Plewis

Harriet Plewis is an artist and educator based in Lincoln. Her activity is rooted in performance, critical pedagogies and the moving image. Her work looks at expanded reading, the mechanics of solidarity, and the conditions for co-creation. Her Dance School series has been exhibited in Istanbul, Newcastle upon Tyne, and New York. In collaboration with others, she makes Reading Rooms, which are homages to texts in the form of temporary venues. She makes collaborative film works as Bower Fleming Plewis with the artists Deborah Bower and Mat Fleming.

Harry Freestone

Harry is an artist and technician based in Nottingham, as well as Co-Director of Gasleak Mountain – an artist-led project space and community interest company located in the city. Through Harry’s artistic practice he explores architectural facades and design tropes that surround our everyday lives with a critical focus on social constructs, through the mediums of sculpture and moving image. Harry works full time as a freelance art technician in art galleries across the Midlands, including Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham Castle Trust, New Art Exchange and others across the UK.

Since graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2019, he has worked on international sculptural fabrications, being an artist’s assistant as well as a technician, and co-founding Gasleak Mountain. Through his curatorial projects as part of Gasleak Mountain, Harry has focused on representing and supporting early career artists with an LGBTQ+ focus, as well as bringing alternative arts events to the city alongside exhibitions.

Ismail Khokon

Ismail is a British/Bangladeshi visual artist based in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, a New Midland Group associate and artist member of the Primary, an artist-led space in Nottingham where he also co-delivers the Build Create Play project. He is a Resident Associate Artists in the New Art Exchange, Nottingham where he leads workshops for children and adults across local communities. In 2021 Ismail received Arts Council England DYCP funding supporting At the Crossroads, a project that has seen him deliver workshops most recently with Refugee Roots and NEST during Refugee Week 2022. He works consistently to platform the experiences and stories of those communities that have been systematically marginalised.

Ismail studied Fine Arts in Bangladesh before completing a MA in Design for Communication at Westminster University, London. Ismail has a broad interest in the visual arts, and his socially engaged practice includes painting, sculpture, photography, text, installation, graphic design illustration, sound and music. He has exhibited in LOOK Photo Biennial (2022), Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool; Format 21 International Photography Festival (2021), Derby;Diffusion International Photography Festival (2021), Wales; An Indian Summer (2020), Leicestershire.

Jenny Gleadell

Jenny is a curator and art historian based in Lincoln. She has over 10 years of experience working in curatorial roles in galleries and museums around the country, with a strong focus on contemporary visual arts programming. Born and raised in the East Midlands, on returning to the county six year ago she began working on the NPO-funded exhibition programme at Lincoln Museum and Usher Gallery. Since starting in her current role of Exhibitions and Interpretation Officer, Jenny has continued to grow and deliver the museum’s commitment to ambitious exhibition programming. All of her work involves supporting talent development in the region, building strong working partnerships and maintaining equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the visual arts programme.

Jenny studied Art History at University of East Anglia and did her MA in Art History and Curating at the University of Birmingham. Alongside her role at the museum, Jenny is also an M4C PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham researching institutional approaches to collecting and exhibiting internet-based art, and Associate Lecturer at the University of Lincoln.

Lucie De Lacy 

Lucie De Lacy is Engagement and Projects Coordinator at the LEVEL Centre in Rowsley, Derbyshire. LEVEL is an award-winning contemporary art centre and charity that hosts a year-round programme of visual art exhibitions and digital installations, alongside artist residencies and creative workshops for disabled adults and young people. Lucie looks after workshops, projects, and outreach facilitation for LEVEL with a rounded programme of activity that supports disabled participants to explore the breadth and depth of their creativity.

Formerly Lucie was creative director at a content marketing agency, and outreach lead at an international opera festival. In her personal time, she’s part of the management team of Radio Free Matlock, an independent station based in Matlock, Derbyshire.

Lucy Lumb

Lucy is a visual arts producer with over twenty years’ experience in the creative sector. She builds strong working relationships with artists, communities and partners to deliver projects including permanent and temporary commissions, wellbeing initiatives, festivals and artist residencies. Lucy is interested in creating projects that are owned and celebrated by their communities in public spaces, rural locations, community centres, heritage sites and healthcare settings. She is passionate about equity of access to creativity and culture for all people, of all abilities, ages and backgrounds. Inspired by collaborating with artists in unusual locations and with new communities, her benchmark of success is when those that think art is ‘not for them’ turn this around to become advocates for creativity at all levels. Alongside her freelance practice, Lucy is the Visual Arts Development Co-ordinator at the Hub in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

Mandeep Dhadialla

Mandeep is a fine art printmaker specialising in plant forms and landscape using combined print processes, drawing and bookmaking to explore concepts of place and home. Her visual and thinking practice is influenced by spending her formative years in Kenya and migrating to England in her teens. Her current long term artist practice examines care of place of the natural world by telling the story of how people and landscape are in an interconnected cyclical exchange, through the idea of nurturing – with focus on the natural environment, human wellbeing and sense of community.

Alongside teaching printmaking and bookmaking workshops, Mandeep delivers socially engaged projects with ArtReach and completed an NPO funded artist commission by Leicester Museum and Galleries in response to Abbey Pumping Station and the Environment – the large scale linocut reproductions were exhibited at Highcross Leicester and featured in No Jobs in the Arts zine. Her practice has also featured in Art Etcetera magazine, A Seasonal Way, Stylist Magazine, and was in conversation with Ruth Singer’s the Making Meaning Podcast.

She regularly exhibits her original prints nationally and internationally for a number of years. Key exhibitions & awards include Sock Gallery 2023, 2022 & 2019 (Prize Winner, Highly Commended & Runner Up), Society of Women Artists Exhibition 2021, Teeside Print Prize 2020 (Commended) and Circle Foundation for the Arts Kenya 2020 (Honourable Mention).

Mandeep is a member of ArtCan and Leicester Print Workshop, where she teaches and of Leicester Society of Artists.

Niamh Treacy

Niamh is the Coordinator of FORMAT International Photography Festival.

She is a mixed media artist whose practice explores the impact that ever-changing environments, increased social pressures and overexposure to visual information can have on our state of mind.