Get To Know The Trustees: Liz Leek

9th December 2019

What is your role as a BMHT Trustee?
I’ve been working in Barnsley for 4 1/2 years now, firstly as Principal of Barnsley Sixth Form College and now as Vice Principal Curriculum and Culture and Senior Postholder of Barnsley College. One of the key functions of my role is to ensure that we provide an opportunity for our students to acquire social and cultural capital and I see my being a Trustee of BHMT as being central to that function.

Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m a Londoner, from Lewisham in South London (the right side of the Thames) although I’ve lived in Nottingham for the past 12 years. I’m lucky to live near to the M1 so my journey to Barnsley is relatively easy. I’m planning a move further north in The New Year with my partner, my father and our cats as our plan has always been to live in ‘God’s Own Country’ (my partner’s family are from Yorkshire…)

I’ve got a background in creative and performing arts, getting a degree in Theatre and then working in the arts professionally before becoming a lecturer in FE and HE. FE is my true love, the ‘transformatory layer’ in education and I’ve worked in colleges across the land from Somerset to North Yorkshire. I think teenagers are magnificent creatures, they get a bad press but I never fail to be amazed by their creativity, their ambition, their sense of responsibility and their biologically mandated ability to drive adults bonkers.

Why are you involved in BMHT?
I was delighted to be asked to join the Trust. Barnsley College is so proud of its place in the heart of Barnsley and we make great use of all the fabulous resources Barnsley Museums offer- from our Art students exhibiting in the Sadler Gallery, our Marketing department using Wentworth Woodhouse as a creative ‘getaway’ space, to our whole staff Christmas seminar at Elsecar. Barnsley’s ability to be world-class is a tribute to the vision of the people that live and work here and I find it very exciting to be able to harness that vision for our students.

What is important to you about Barnsley’s museums?:
Barnsley College has just hosted ‘Gaia’ by Luke Jerram- a world-class piece of art. Over 5,000 people came into college to see it over the three nights of Barnsley’s Bright Nights. It was amazing to see so many different reactions; small children dancing underneath it, adults marvelling at how much of the globe is water and for some of my students, the ability to see Africa clearly on a globe. We wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have Gaia if it wasn’t for the work of BHMT. It’s vital that we keep the trust alive and punching well above its weight and I’m glad to be able to play my part.