who we are
newplatform.art is a not-for-profit which supports artists at an early stage of their career by providing opportunities to present their work, develop their skills to enable them to sustain their careers as professional artists by participation in our professional development programme.
history of newplatform.art
With a lifelong interest in the visual arts, Paul Newdick, one of our founding trustees, designed and launched the Clyde & Co Art Award when the law firm moved headquarters in 2010. This was the precursor to newplatform.art.
Louise Zekaria, another of our founding trustees, ran the Clyde & Co Art Award together with a national Blank Canvas Commission, and she replicated the model in Clyde & Co offices around the world including Dubai, Melbourne, Perth, San Francisco, and Sydney. This programme won the 2016 International Corporate Art Awards sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Culture & LUISS Business School.
newplatform.art scales up this programme further – enabling other corporates to assist more emerging artists and display vibrant art on a rotational basis.The newplatform.art model has supported art awards at Aon, Liberty Specialty Markets and Bob & Co.
Rebecca Byrne is an American artist and curator living in London; in 2012 she completed her MA Fine Art from The Chelsea College of Art and Design. In addition to exhibiting widely, she completed several artist-led projects and commissions, including one for the arts charity Hospital Rooms. Recently, she received a DYCP Grant from Arts Council England for her work. In addition to her fine art practice, Rebecca works for fine art brands Winsor & Newton and Liquitex, facilitating partnerships and artist residencies. She has a background in delivering hands-on educational workshops as well as professional writing tutorials for artists. Rebecca helped to establish newplatform.art’s Professional Development Programme and has been Lead Tutor since 2019.
While studying experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, Phoebe Corker-Marin realised her interest in the emotions of others was more personal than empirical. She pivoted to the Royal College of Art where she established herself as a figurative sculptor. Her practice is focused on transcribing internal experiences into physical objects. Recently she has been working on a project titled ‘Exploding the Process’; looking at how to make visible the tactile knowledge gained through her hands from years of manipulating materials. Following this interest in arts and education, in addition to her practice, Phoebe was artist-in-residence at Christ’s Hospital school from 2020-22. She has run practical workshops for people of all ages including a series of workshops on soft sculpture at the Tate Modern to coincide with their Dorothea Tanning exhibition in 2019. That same year she joined NPA as the Artist Community Coordinator to help develop and facilitate the Professional Development Programme.
CJ Mahony’s practice is preoccupied with human and other-than-human bodies in unstable relationships, and how this instability surfaces the incompleteness of our knowledge of one another. They use making and writing to explore the materiality of objects and bodies in transitional states, and the movement of stories and objects into real and imagined futures.
CJ has over 15 years experience of making site specific works and large scale commissions in the public realm, including works for National Trust, Tate and ITV Creates. CJ has collaborated on innovative large scale projects involving performance with Cambridge Junction, Opera North and National Theatre Scotland.
They have also facilitated and supported other artists as a founder and co-director of an artist-led project space.
Their work has been in solo and group exhibitions in the UK and internationally, including Mumbai Gallery Weekend, India (2023 group); My mind had been everywhere and nowhere, Pavilion Pavilion, Glasgow (2019 solo); The Water Colour Room, HISK, Belgium (2018 group); These restless objects, New Hall Art Collection, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (2016 solo); Block 336, London (2014 group); situ projects, Cornwall (2010 solo); Aurora Arts Festival, Norwich (2007 solo)
CJ works as a tutor, mentor, and lecturer, most recently at Glasgow School of Art.
Neil Musson MA RCA is an international installation artist making work which transforms the way in which people experience their immediate surroundings. His collaborative arts practice, M+R, has built a portfolio of interactive installations and interventions which explore the relationship between people and place, heritage and humanity.
Projects span many continents and include architectural and landscape interventions, performances, light and sound installations, film, sculptural aircraft, and mountain top beacons.
Journeys through time, emotion and landscape are central themes behind the artworks while concepts begin with historical and social research to fully understand a site. M+R are also public speakers, consultants, judges for international arts competitions and deliver CPD training to architectural practices.
More information about Neil can be found on his website www.mussonretallick.com and in social media on insta: Neil_Musson and you tube @musson_retallick.
Mark Dunhill graduated with an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London in 1977. Alongside his art practice he has worked in Higher Arts Education. Mark was Dean of Arts at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London) until 2017.
“As a practising artist and HE art educator I know only too well how challenging it can be for graduates emerging from art school, or others who opt for a career as an artist later in life to establish themselves and find an audience for their work.
I have been involved with NPA for several years now, I was drawn to it for a number of reasons. Primarily, I value the importance of placing contemporary art in corporate spaces where audiences may be unfamiliar with fine art yet through experiencing looking at works on a daily basis there is the possibility of creating an understanding and a relationship over time. The initiative to sign up artists who have exhibited their work to a professional development programme of talks and workshops is critical. Arts Schools commonly offer or require students to attend professional practice lectures to support life after art school. However, for many students the more immediate demands of making work and completing written assignments and all the other important social things to be explored frequently occupies all the space and time available, and the imperative to plan for the future can often fall off the priority list.”
Paul Newdick CBE, KC (hons) was a partner at Clyde & Co LLP for over 25 years, where he spearheaded the firm’s pro bono, corporate responsibility and diversity initiatives as Chair of Clyde & Community, the firm’s CSR programme. Paul was also a founding trustee of LawWorks, the pro bono charity, and for several years, its Chair.
“After years of sitting in meeting rooms, at times staring at the walls, I have always felt that those walls were entirely unremarkable: artworks which were safe, uncontroversial and, well, bland. There were occasional exceptions, a few impressive collections, but on the whole, “corporate art” has for me, been a huge wasted opportunity. Coupled with the frustration of looking at uninspiring art in the workplace, was my concern that many talented artists struggle to sustain their practices once they leave art school.
When I was asked to “sort” the art for Clyde & Co’s new corporate offices, I saw the opportunity to bring together these themes under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) banner: a project to support emerging artists, by giving them exhibition space, a programme to help make their practice sustain them financially and a new buying market for their first year after art school. For the firm, they had vibrant, changing art, uncluttered with the complications of ownership, which enables them to have very different conversations with clients and has created a level of staff engagement I could not have imagined. For many, this was a first encounter with original art and that has provoked dialogue, a hunger to know more and for some, an appetite to acquire. The staff became the largest buying group each year.”
Inspired by the enthusiasm generated by the Clyde & Co Art Award, in 2017 I decided to leave legal practice and set up newplatform.art and, with our team, take these ideas to new audiences.”
Rod Smith was a Partner at Clyde & Co LLP for over 30 years and specialised in insurance, advising on, amongst other things, the insurance of Fine Art. Rod was a Governor of Wimbledon School of Art before its merger with University of the Arts, London, and was a longstanding trustee and chair of the Wimbledon College of Arts Trust. He was also a trustee of Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education.
“Having had a longstanding interest in the arts, my involvement over the years in education in the visual arts has highlighted to me the difficulties faced by emerging visual artists in making the transition to self sufficient practising artists. How do these talented creatives fulfil their promise and their ambitions? How can they earn money from the work they create? How do they navigate the business and legal issues they face, such as in signing to a gallery, renting a studio etc.? It became clear to Paul, Louise and me that every effort should be made to try and broaden the application of the formula that worked so well at Clyde & Co to support emerging artists across the UK and beyond make this transition – which will benefit all who enjoy the visual arts. Hence my enthusiasm for newplatform.art which has the ambition of doing just that!”
Louise Zekaria, having started out as a solicitor, moved into the diversity and inclusion (D&I) and corporate social responsibility sector 15 years ago. She has developed staff engagement and inclusion programmes at various law firms, including legal pro bono and community volunteering projects.
“Historically, the arts have looked to businesses to provide financial support only – usually, through sponsorship paid out from marketing budgets. Some businesses have supported the arts by buying the work of new and established artists and creating corporate collections. But ownership brings its own challenges. However, the newplatform.art model is different. It facilitates collaboration. A new way for corporates to provide tangible support to local emerging artists and art schools, while providing the businesses with an exciting, community focussed programme, which engages and educates its staff and its clients. Working in the responsible business sector, I am always on the lookout for innovative D&I and ESG projects which will not only deliver significant benefits to diverse communities being supported, but will also engage our people. The NPA programme does this in spades!”