Tom Holley is a creative director, producer and curator with over twenty years’ professional experience in the cultural and creative industries. He has considerable experience in executive and creative leadership roles specialising in digital culture, contemporary visual arts, research, urban regeneration and design. He has excellent strategic and creative programming vision, underpinned by a keen entrepreneurial spirit and a proven ability to build partnerships and nurture collaboration across diverse sectors and multiple stakeholders.
His work engages with social, economic and critical debates around the impact of rapidly evolving technologies on the cultural and creative industries, urban regeneration and and society.
Tom has worked in the public and private sectors for businesses including: Arts Council England; The Culture Capital Exchange; BBC Online; Institute of Contemporary Arts; Eyestorm (London and New York); The Media Centre (Huddersfield) and Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media (Leicester).
He has been an adviser and consultant to Arts Council England, The Culture Capital Exchange and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
Tom currently works for Arts Council England as a Relationship Manager with responsibility for a dynamic range of creative media, live and visual arts National Portfolio Organisations in London. His clients are: UP Projects; Arts Catalyst; Resonance FM; Furtherfield; Live Art Development Agency; PEER and Auto Italia.
Tom studied at Chelsea (Foundation, Fine Art), Byam Shaw (BA, Fine Art), The Slade (MA, Sculpture) and Middlesex University (MA, Design for Interactive Media). During his studies he worked as an exhibition producer and studio assistant to artists including Richard Wilson and Susan Hiller.
After leaving college he established a studio in London creating installations, models, art directing and bespoke furniture for clients in the arts and media worlds.
He maintained a personal studio practice as an artist and exhibited at galleries including: Matt’s Gallery; London Film-Makers Co-op and The Economist Building.
Using computers and software as production tools in his studio led to an ongoing engagement with the creative potential of new and emerging technologies.
In the following years he has been immersed in driving R&D, disruptive innovation, the production and presentation of pioneering digital arts programmes in gallery, online, mobile, locative and live performance contexts.
He has conceived and delivered complex strategic and creative visions for businesses that seek to operate at the forefront of digital and visual culture in an international context.
As Lead Designer at BBC Online he designed the first BBC Football website and collaborated with broadcast colleagues on groundbreaking work on websites supporting television and radio programming including: Radio One; East Enders and Walking with Dinosaurs.
He left the BBC to take up the position of Head of Digital Art at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) where his curatorial work, including Cybersalon talks, conferences exploring gaming culture, festivals and exhibitions by artists and designers such as Mongrel, Danny Brown, John Maeda and Tomato engaged the new wave of thinkers and artists who were shaping the then emerging digital scene.
Tom brokered the first tranche of digital entrepreneurs to join the Cultural Entrepreneurs Club at the ICA, which supported 500 of London’s most innovative young creative businesses.
He joined the ‘dot-com boom’ when he was appointed as Head of Digital Projects at the e-commerce art sales website and ‘clicks-to-bricks’ gallery Eyestorm, who represented Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Magnum Photos and the Saatchi Gallery. He helped launch Eyestorm’s London and New York commercial galleries – producing events showcasing British artists Greyworld and VJs The Light Surgeons for audiences in New York for the first time.
Tom has been the Creative Director of two important urban regeneration projects that established innovative mixed use, multi-stakeholder business models; the influential Media Centre in Huddersfield – a cluster of 120 arts and creative SMEs, a bespoke digital art gallery (Medialounge), cafe and live-work apartments and the landmark £26 million Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media in Leicester – a complex of three digital cinemas, digital art gallery, restaurant, creative business spaces, production studios, retail units and private apartments.
He established and directed the Ultrasound Festival (2002-2007) of electronic music and digital culture, international artist in residency programmes, co-founded the Digital Research Unit (a research collaboration with Huddersfield University), curated multiple exhibitions and events, developed websites and commissioned work by hundreds of artists, designers, technologists, engineers, architects and musicians.