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New joint chiefs for Birmingham Museums Trust

By John Corser | Birmingham | Attractions | Published:

Birmingham Museums Trust has appointed new joint chief executives.

Sara Ward and Zak Mensah

Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah will formally join the charity, one of the UK’s largest independent museum trusts, in November, taking over from Dr Ellen McAdam who stepped down in June.

The appointment is a rare instance of people of colour reaching the highest level of leadership in UK museums, and of job-sharing taking place at this level. Of the 45 institutions represented on the National Museums Directors Council, only one other organisation is currently led by a person of colour.

The appointment of Sara and Zak represents the only instance of a shared CEO role among the group.

Birmingham’s demographic is young and diverse and this announcement further cements the trust’s commitment to representing the people of the city at all levels across the organisation.

Zak comes to Birmingham Museums Trust from a leadership role at Bristol Museums where, as head of transformation: culture and creative industries, he made a leading contribution to increasing income by 100 per cent within three years as well as ambitious programmes focusing on continuous improvement and technology.

Sara is currently head of engagement for the Museum of London’s new museum capital project and previous to that she was head of interpretation at Birmingham Museums Trust on a 15-month secondment where she produced the experimental exhibition The Past is Now offering new perspectives on British Empire.

Sara Wajid said: “Being appointed as joint chief executive to BMT is a very special honour for me and it’s in part thanks to the experience I gained on the Arts Council 'Changemakers’ programme at BMT in 2016."

Zak Mensah said: “Birmingham Museums Trust attracts over a million visitors a year to its world-class services in Birmingham and online that bring both local and world stories to the public. As a regional museum with a very diverse demographic, BMT is well placed to connect communities locally and use technology to drive audience engagement on a global scale. Sara and I aim to ensure BMT remains resilient and delivers services that are inclusive, allowing people to connect and learn."

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The announcement follows the news that Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery will be reopening to the public on Wednesday, October 7 after a significant closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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