Introducing Islington Mill Foundation (IMF)

Over the past few years, during our extensive programme of fundraising and planning, we’ve enjoyed a golden opportunity to consider our core purposes and passions, and to think about how these will translate to future activity at Islington Mill.

We’ve devised a structure to enable us to devote equal energy and focus in two key areas:

1. Running and supporting our busy and growing network of artist studios, events and creative endeavours under the existing Islington Mill Arts Club organisation.


2. Advancing arts education for the public by providing development and support programmes.

To carry out this second crucial mission, we formed a charitable wing of Islington Mill called the Islington Mill Foundation (IMF).

We are fully registered and approved by the Charity Commission (Charity No. 1185577) with a dedicated Board and a Mission that we are excited to share.


Our Mission

Our core mission is arts education and we want to bring artists and the public together. Our development and support programmes will be devised and run by artists, giving opportunities for employment, upskilling, and sharing their work. Communities outside the Mill will be invited to experience work made by artists so that more people benefit from the experience of contemporary art. 

Our programme will be shaped by those who lead it. Our three key areas of focus will be:

  1. Access and Community

Free social events for artists at all levels of their career where they can meet, engage, and form new connections. Coaching, skills and knowledge sharing will all play a crucial part. Artists will explore programming themes with related events including talks, exhibitions and screenings.  

  1. Bedrock Learning

Building on the success and learning of the long-standing Islington Mill Arts Academy, we will continue to develop a freely accessible art school, providing development and access to a professional arts community for people often overlooked by existing programmes. Students will take an active role in defining their own programme and short residential learning programmes will also be available.  

  1. Artist-led leadership programme

We will offer personal and professional development opportunities in areas of the sector that fall behind in public awareness, engagement, showcases and platforms. Tailored learning and development programmes will focus on lived experience, developing support for future generations of similarly identified people. 


Meet our Board

Professor Sarah Perks is an interdisciplinary curator and Head of Art & Design at MIMA School of Art & Design (Teesside University). Sarah specialises in collaborative practice and relational strategy – a curator working with people instead of objects! She is a Mancunian and always has many roles and projects on the go including Asia Triennial Manchester, Turning Point School of Art, and Programme Advisor for BFI London Film Festival. Her research is on ‘restorative futures’; how creative social action and notions of heritage meet the challenges of our technological, environmental and socio-inclusive futures.   

Lucy Duggan is a leadership and management trainer, and a practising psychotherapist with a particular professional interest in the role that arts and nature can play in human health. She lives in Bristol where, since 2010, she has been a Director at Light Box Leadership, a social enterprise that reinvests its profit into promoting mental health in community settings.  In 2015 she received a Clore-Wellcome Trust Fellowship and she enjoys public speaking.

Khalil West is a New Jersey-born cultural activist and oral historian based in the UK and Italy. In 2009 he founded Chew Disco, a queerfeminist DIY party and art project which raised funds for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights organisations and safehouses in DR Congo, Iran, Iraq, Russia and Uganda. His visual oral history work has been exhibited in the UK, Toronto and New York. As a curator and programmer he has worked with Homotopia, Abandon Normal Devices, FACT, Islington Mill, and Sounds From The Other City. He is currently studying a PhD in History at European University Institute in Florence, where his research focuses on queer (il)legibility and desire in Black social spaces.

Allan Melzack is a retired pharmacist from London who has lived in Manchester and Salford since coming to university here in 1965. Having qualified as a pharmacist Allan also undertook an Art Foundation course at MMU and a BA in audio-visual graphic design. Allan spent most of his working life in community pharmacy but also taught science and art in secondary education and was a postgraduate tutor to other pharmacists for many years. Through the Contemporary Art Society in the North, Allan befriended many curators, gallerists and north west artists. With his wife Jo he has been collecting art for many years, including becoming Temporary Custodians of two works by Maurice Carlin for Islington Mill. Allan wanted to actively support the Mill, valuing what we do and what we aim to do in future. He brings with him the experience of someone who has worked in many different fields and is passionate about the arts. He is committed to Islington Mill and its community to develop and expand our work and fulfil our mission.


Statement from IMF Board:

“Islington Mill Foundation is extremely proud to help carry the Mill’s innovative ethos and vision into the future. We are dedicated to working internally, with external partners, and with the communities we serve to develop fundraising initiatives and activities that ensure the continued engagement and success of the Mill’s dynamic community-focused, artist-led programmes and work. We are further dedicated to opening our Board to other members with a wide range of skills, knowledge, and networks, and who share our love for Islington Mill – its past, its present, and its future.”