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Martyn Coles - Chair

Martyn Coles

Martyn is a former academy principal and headteacher. He was headteacher of St. Paul’s Way Community School in Tower Hamlets, one of the first specialist visual arts schools in England from 1995 until 2003. He involved Bow Arts as a key partner in the school’s success. He then became principal of the City of London Academy (Southwark), one of the first academies in England and sponsored by the City of London Corporation (2003-11). He later became a part-time Director of Education for the Creative Education and Academies Trust (CEAT) from 2011 to 2013.

Martyn has been a member of the Council at the Institute of Education, a Trustee of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and a member of the Headteacher Reference Group at the Department for Education. He has spoken at education seminars and conferences about business links, school design and the management and governance of academies.

He has been a trustee of Bow Arts since 2007 and Chair since 2013

Rajen Madan - Vice Chair

Rajen Madan

Rajen is a financial services and business executive. With over 20 years of experience, he has helped several leading financial services firms, fintech and tech innovators with strategy, data led transformation, new product launches, M&A and partnerships. He has led sales, business development, country management and P&L for three ventures and services firms ranging from start-ups to mid-sized businesses of 500 FTEs operating as principal, director and CEO. In his current role, he is the Founder & CEO of Leading Point, a digital solutions company helping financial services market participants with growth, digital transformation and risk management. His clients include Deutsche Bank, Barclays, UBS, Credit Suisse, Clarivate, Bloomberg, Nomura, ING, SocGen, London Stock Exchange, Northern Trust and start-ups.

Prior to this he had significant experience in setting up green field projects in automotives, supply chain, and technology. Rajen is passionate about creating sustainable social enterprises and community development outcomes. He has been a Director of Bow Arts Trust since 2008 working through its formative years and is now Vice Chair of the Trust. He is particularly focused on creating management, operational and commercial scalability for the Trust and expanding its impact. 

Elizabeth Marshall

Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth was Chair of Bow Arts board of trustees for four years. Before that, she got to know Bow Arts as a governor of St Paul’s Way Community School, one of the first schools to achieve Specialist Arts status, which it did with the help of Bow Arts. She lives locally and was Vice Chair of the Council of Queen Mary University. She is on the Court of St Katharine’s Foundation in Limehouse and is a trustee and Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee of the University Schools Trust. She is a member of the Synod of the Diocese of London and on its Audit & Risk Committee. As a member of Bow Church, opposite the Bow Arts studios, Elizabeth helped set up the independent Bow Foodbank charity, and continues to be involved. Elizabeth is retired from the Financial Services Authority, where she was responsible for consumer protection and consumer information for several years.


Brian D Smith

John MiddletonBrian is an accounting and auditing consultant specialising in regulatory and organisational matters. Graduated from the London School of Economics he  joined Arthur Andersen in 1963, qualifying in 1966, he then went on to become partner by 1974 in charge of the London audit practice and  subsequently  Partner of Andersen’s worldwide audit practice. By 1984 he was  Managing Partner Audit Practice, Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. He also had responsibility for the initial development of the firm’s practices in Central and Eastern Europe.

After taking early retirement in 1999 Brian became the Secretary of the Forum of Firms 2002, an international organisation concerned with raising audit quality, which currently has 27 of the largest accounting networks as members. A Governor of the London School of Economics and Chairman of its Finance Committee from 2005 – 2011. He has also chaired committees to commission art work for public spaces on the LSE campus.

Brian’s interest in art was sparked when still a student and he has been collecting paintings, prints and sculpture ever since. He now has an extensive collection of British art covering the period from about 1920 to the present. He is a supporter of the Royal Academy, the Art Fund and the Contemporary Art Society.

Nick Smales

nick smales

Nick Smales is a consultant working in the regeneration and growth sector, having previously been a Director in a number of local authorities.

His experience includes leading major regeneration schemes including the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder in Hull and East Yorkshire, the London 2012 Olympics programme for the London Borough Tower Hamlets and the Nine Elms Partnership for Wandsworth. As Director of Economy, Planning and Place in West Sussex he was responsible for the authority’s £800m, 5-year rolling capital programme.

Nick was also the Managing Director of two national subsidiary companies for the Places for People Group (PfP) establishing one of the businesses from scratch and building it into a provider of early years services nationally. He was also Group Head of Area Regeneration whilst at PfP, developing transformational regeneration programmes in various locations.

In addition to consultancy assignments, Nick is also undertaking PhD research at the University of Reading focused on the relationship between public sector clients and the construction industry.  

Cath Smith 

Cath is the Principal at The John Roan School in Greenwich. Appointed in 2018, she has led the school through some challenging times on its journey of rapid school improvement.  Previously, Cath was Headteacher at Bow School and was also the first Executive Director for the Tower Hamlets Education (THE) Partnership, having been a key figure in the development of THE Partnership from its earliest beginnings. She is very well known to Tower Hamlets schools, having been chair of the Secondary Headteachers Group in 2013-14, and chair of the Full Consultative Group in 2014-15.

Cath has been an active figure in various partnerships and groups in Tower Hamlets, including the Schools Forum, the SEN Partnership Board, Sixth Form East, the Trades Union Forum, LSCB and City Excellence. She is a governor at Manorfield Primary School and at London East Alternative Provision, where she is chair of the Curriculum Committee.

Claire Swift

 Claire Swift is Director of Social Responsibility at London College of Fashion, UAL. 

Passionate about the transformative effect of education, particularly for those whose lives have been affected by crime, unemployment, lack of opportunity and deep-rooted social issues, she has led on some of LCF’s most innovative and pioneering initiatives. Her work primarily focuses on working with women in prison and the community.  

Working collaboratively with a range of key stakeholders, she has developed opportunities designed to help participants forge their own creative identity, increase self-esteem and self-confidence and ultimately enable them to begin a journey towards a positive future. 

Claire has led on the delivery of Making for Change, London College of Fashion’s training and manufacturing initiative which was established in partnership with the Ministry of Justice in 2014. Initially set up as a response to the shortage of technically skilled people in London’s manufacturing industry and the UK. The project has since expanded into Poplar Works in east London, in 2020, creating a space where fashion students, entrepreneurs, manufacturers and the local community can learn, share and create together; incubating innovation, whilst empowering trainee participants with vocational skills and commercial experience for their future fashion careers.

Stephen Pallister 

 Stephen is a solicitor and partner at Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove, specialising in trusts, charities and tax since 2010. Stephen provides legal advice to charities and not-for-profit bodies of all kinds in the UK and overseas, including significant national/international grant-making charities and major regional and London “operating” charities.

From 2002-2016 he was a trustee of the IKON gallery Birmingham’s leading provincial contemporary art gallery and is a founding Trustee and chair of the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust.



Dr Michael Owens

Martyn Coles

 Dr Michael Owens is a London-based researcher, writer and lecturer focusing on urban development and the life of cities. He delivers programmes for visiting students from American Universities. He has worked in urban planning and economic development in London. His career took him from youth and community work in south London in the 1970s to an involvement in the planning and developments for London’s eastward growth and the 2012 Olympics.