The Trustees

David KidneyChair

David’s working life has been in three distinct parts: first, as a solicitor in Staffordshire. Secondly, David was elected Member of Parliament for Stafford in 1997. Thirdly, and most recently, he worked in public health, including the Chief Executive of the UK’s Public Health Register for over seven years. A Labour MP for 13 years, David helped establish the Climate Change Act 2008 and was a Government Minister in the Department for Energy and Climate Change where he contributed to the UK’s preparations for the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. David has an abiding interest in politics and history and is delighted to have joined the Trust. He also chairs a health technologies cluster in the West Midlands and supports fundraising for St Paul’s church in the Jewellery Quarter, which is where David lives.

Jo Smith, Company Secretary  

Jo smithJo has worked across a wide variety of cultural, arts and heritage organisations in Birmingham for 25 years. She is an experienced heritage project manager and fundraiser; her projects include the £35m restoration of Grade I listed Birmingham Town Hall from 2003 to 2007, the Birmingham History Galleries and several other major museum development projects and masterplans from 2007 onwards. Formally Development Manager for Birmingham Museum’s Trust, where she supported the transition from City Council operation to independent trust status in 2012. Jo lives in Birmingham City Centre.

Phillada Ballard

Phillada Ballard

Phillada is a historical consultant specialising in buildings, landscapes and gardens. She has built up a considerable knowledge of Highbury and the Chamberlain family through many years of academic and on-the-ground research. From 1984-90 she worked as a curator at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and was in charge of the Chamberlain Museum at Highbury. She has been an advisor to Birmingham City Council on the Highbury landscape, and was responsible for the landscape appraisal of Highbury Park. Phillada is the author of several publications on Birmingham landscapes and was the editor of the Victorian Society’s recent book on Birmingham’s Victorian and Edwardian Architects.

Sarah Sienna Edwards

Sarah EdwardsSarah was born and grew up in Moseley. She graduated in Spatial Design from Central Saint Martins in London in 2010 and co-founded Urban Brew Design Collective. She worked for Oxfam on fundraising and events from 2010 to 2012. She then moved back to Moseley to start in her current position at Unite the Union in 2012. She completed the Uprising leadership course in 2012 and has joined the US Ambassadors Young Leaders Programme in 2015. She has been involved with Highbury Orchard community for a number of years. Sarah is passionate about collaborative projects.

Ian Grosvenor

Ian GrovsnIan is Professor of Urban Educational History in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. Prior to his career at the University he was a school teacher in Wolverhampton and Sandwell, before taking up posts in higher education at Newman College, 1991-1997, and Nene College, now the University of Northampton, 1997-98. He was Head of the School of Education at Birmingham, 2006-2008 and Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Cultural Engagement 2010-2014. Since 2010 he has been a member of the West Midlands Committee of the NLHF. He is currently chair of the Friends of Birmingham Archives and a trustee of Birmingham Museums Trust and Sampad. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Ian was born in Smethwick and lives in Selly Park.

 Mike Williams

Mike WilliamsMike held Director of Finance (and similar) positions at Birmingham City Council, Dudley MBC and the West Midlands Police Authority between 1984 and 2013, and is a Past President of the Society of Municipal Treasurers. He continues to serve as a Trustee and Board Member of the mac and the Black Country Living Museum, is a member of the General Committee and Management Board of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, chairs the Warwickshire Cricket Board and is a Non-Executive Director of the Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust. Mike has lived in Kings Heath for over thirty years.

Cllr Philip Davis

Phil Davis

Cllr Davis represents the nearby Billesley Ward on the City Council (BCC).  With 30 years local government experience, he is the BCC Heritage Champion and immediate past Chair of the Trusts & Charities Committee, which holds the Highbury Estate in trust for the citizens of Birmingham. Philip is a former English Heritage Commissioner and was Founder Chair of the Local Authorities World Heritage Forum (LAWHF). He is a director of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust.  An employment relations specialist by profession, he has held posts in the voluntary sector and as chairman of an NHS Trust.

Dr Derren Cresswell

Derren grew up in a semi-rural coal mining town in the East Midlands and moved to Birmingham in 2012. Prior to retuning to academia to complete his PhD in geology, at the University of Birmingham, he worked in a variety of roles minimising and mitigating the impact of humans on the environment. More recently Derren has focused his work on linking community perspectives of environmental issues to the contemporary environmental research agenda. He is passionate about balancing different perspectives and contributions to the sustainability of urban a landscapes. Derren is trained in broad-based community organising and works closely with Citizen UK (Birmingham).

Cllr Brigid Jones

Brigid Jones CHT

Brigid came to the city at 18 to study at the University of Birmingham, fell in love with it and never left. She was elected the local councillor for Selly Oak Ward in May 2011 and took on the Cabinet portfolio for Children and Family Services in 2012. As Cabinet Member, she helped drive improvements in one of the country’s most challenged and scrutinised Children’s Services departments and overhauled the Education Department. In 2017, at the age of 30, she was elected as Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council.

Brigid has been active in politics since 2005 when she joined both the Labour and Cooperative Parties. Having previously worked in new energy at the University of Birmingham, been a school governor and a trustee at other educational organisations, and holding a masters degree in physics, Brigid brings her well rounded experience and values to promote Birmingham as a great urban city in which to live, learn and work.

Working in the largest metropolitan authority in England, Brigid’s agenda in her role is to harness the power of partners across Birmingham to drive the change our city needs, whilst using her extensive experience to help the wider Council’s improvement agenda.


Kate Organ
Having graduated from Birmingham University in Drama and French, Kate has worked in

the cultural and charitable sector all her career, initially as an actor and director in theatre, arts in education and community arts and then a programmer of theatre, dance and live literature. She was Drama Officer and Director of Performing and Combined Arts at West Midlands Arts/Arts Council England in the 90’s and 2000s. For the past 20 years she has worked as a freelance consultant for many arts and charitable organisations across the UK, including a decade as Arts Adviser to the Baring Foundation. She is currently Chair of the Birmingham-based  Feeney Trust,  is a member of the Advisory Council of the Churchill Fellowship Trust and is herself a Churchill Fellow, having researched the role of the Arts in Japan particularly in the context of  an ageing society and regeneration and is a practising Coach and Facilitator.

Michael Butler

A Professor of Change Management at Aston Business School and is the incoming chair of

Birmingham Civic Society. He has an interest in making a success of the Trust’s plan to set up an Enterprise Hub for local entrepreneurs. “I am delighted to be one of the new Trustees for The Chamberlain Highbury Trust Board. This is a very exciting time to join the Board, as the Trust utilises its new grant income to achieve its inclusive and community-focused vision. I look forward to contributing to all the innovations taking place, especially the setting up of an Enterprise Hub for local entrepreneurs.”

Sammy Li

With a broad international experience in heritage attraction development and destination marketing. As an adviser for the University of Birmingham on equality, diversity, and

inclusion, he brings to the Trust a unique combination of expertise from his academic and professional work in the visitor economy with insights into navigating the interpretation of responsible for equality, diversity and inclusion and learner support at the University of Birmingham and has extensive qualifications and experience in Tourism.

“I have been appointed as a Trustee to help the Chamberlain Highbury Trust to navigate the narrative of Joseph Chamberlain’s legacy and his role in colonialism. I look forward to overseeing the restoration and transformation of Highbury, Chamberlain’s family home in Birmingham.”

Louise Portelly

As an Environment and Town Planning Manager at HS2 Ltd and manager of HS2’s £45M

Community and Business Funds. She has an interest in fundraising and environmental developments.

“At HS2 Ltd, my focus is on the Community, Health and Equality Impact Assessments for Britain’s new high speed railway. I also manage the £40M Community and Business Funds grant programme set up for communities disrupted by the construction of Phase One of HS2. I am passionate about championing equality in society, environmental protection and supporting local community organisations. I look forward to working with fellow Trustees to realise the key aims and ambitions of the Chamberlain Highbury Trust.”