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Martyn Coles - Chair

Martyn Coles

Martyn Coles is Education Adviser to the Haberdashers’ Company. He was Principal of the City of London Academy (Southwark), a school in Bermondsey, sponsored by the City of London Corporation, from its founding in 2003 in 2011. From 2011-13 he was Director of Education at Creative Education Academies Trust.

From 1995 until 2003 Martyn was Headteacher of St. Paul’s Way Community School and Arts College in Tower Hamlets, one of the first specialist Visual Arts Colleges in England and a major partner of Bow Arts.

Martyn was a member of Council at the Institute of Education 2005-2012 and was a member of the Headteacher Reference Group at the Department for Education from 1998 to 2011. 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, was Chair of the Education Committee from that time and became Chair of the Board of Trustees in March 2013.

Rajen Madan - Vice Chair

Rajen Madan

Rajen has been a Director of Bow Arts Trust since February 2008. He is a founder director of Vartma, a specialist advisory firm supporting blue chip and start-up clients with growth strategy, core performance improvement, and raising finance in Europe and Emerging Asia. He has over a decade of experience in capital markets in leadership roles working with COO’s and senior management in Deutsche Bank, BarCap, UBS, Credit Suisse, HSBC, ING, SocGen, JP Morgan, London Stock Exchange, Barclays, Northern Trust, and Private Equity firms in Europe, US, and Asia (India, Japan) on complex global business initiatives.

Prior to this he had significant experience in setting up green field projects in automotives, supply chain, and technology. Rajen is passionate about social enterprises and actively involved in supporting ventures with tangible and sustainable development outcomes. Rajen has a keen interest in arts, and finds the Bow Arts Trust model of art as a driver of holistic social development fascinating.

Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth was Chair of Bow Arts board of trustees for four years until mid-2011. She got to know Bow Arts during her eight years 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 is a Vice Chair of the Council of Queen Mary University of London. Among various other interests, she is on the Court of St Katharine’s Foundation in Limehouse, a member of the Audit and Risk Committee at Poplar HARCA, and is a member of Bow Church, opposite the Bow Arts studios, which celebrated its 700th anniversary in 2011. 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 is currently Director of Economy, Planning and Place for West Sussex County Council where he is responsible for property assets of around £1.4bn, oversight of the Council's £800m, 5 year capital programme and delivery of around £100m worth of capital projects annually. He is also the Direcotr responsible for the County Council's Planning Services and Economic Development.

Previously Nick was a Chief Officer at the London Borough of Wandsworth where he was responsible for Economic Development and a number of major transformational regeneration programmes including the Alton Estate housing regeneration programme and acting as Lead Officer for one of London’s largest transformational programme at Nine Elms.

Before that Nick was Divisional Director for the London 2012 Olympic Games at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets leading Host Borough work on legacy planning policy, local employment at the Games, and delivery of the High Street 2012 investment programme.

Other roles Nick has held during his 30 years in Regeneration include; Director of the £1bn Hull Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder; Managing Director of two Places for People Group subsidiary companies and PfP Group Head of Regeneration; as well as other senior Economic Development / Regeneration roles.  

Nick has an Honours degree in Business Administration, a Masters Degree in Public Policy and a Postgraduate Qualification in Marketing. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Institute of Economic Development and is passionate about seeking to improve quality of life through better built environments and wider opportunities to gain skills and employment.

Cath Smith 

Cath is the Headteacher of Bow School. Appointed in 2011 she has overseen its rapid growth from 500 – 850+ pupils, becoming mixed, opening a Sixth Form and moving into new premises.

Cath was also appointed as 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 is the Director for Social Responsibility at the London College of Fashion. Claire’s interest in working with diverse communities through the subject of fashion has contributed towards the development of some of the socially responsive initiatives at London College of Fashion.

Claire has been involved in the facilitation of creative collaborations with diverse and hard to reach communities that highlight social issues. These projects aim to benefit participants, challenge perspectives and influence transformation of lives and celebrate human diversity.

The Fashion Education in Prisons project, supported by the Sir John Cass Foundation, was launched in 2010 working with HMP Send Womens’ prison. In 2011 the ‘Unique’ pilot project won a Green Gown award, followed by the Times Higher Education award (Outreach Initiative) in 2013 and more recently in 2014 the Big Society award for the ‘Beauty’s Inside’ magazine.

Claire’s experience in the fashion industry has helped to inform curriculum and project development and academic practice. Claire’s aim is to develop the individual potential and encourage personal talent and self-confidence in order to make a unique contribution to the creative industries.

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

Michael Owens is a chartered planner with a background in urban regeneration and economic development. His former roles include Chief Executive of Leaside Regeneration Company and Head of Development Policy at London Development Agency. Michael worked as a consultant since 2008 and set up his own consultancy in 2011.

Michael’s senior urban regeneration experience includes roles at Bolton City Challenge, Park Royal Partnership and Leaside. At the London Development Agency, Michael was involved in the development of the strategy for the Thames Gateway and the planning for the bid to host the 2012 Games. As a consultant, he worked on the development of a number of masterplans (Stratford, Royal Docks, Southall), development frameworks (Rhyl, Salford) and economic strategies (Thames Gateway South Essex, East of England). He has supported Bow Arts on a number of projects since 2012.

Michael completed a Doctorate in 2018. He now combines his professional life with academic research and lecturing, delivering London programmes for American study abroad students.