Tom Holley is a creative director, producer and curator with over twenty years’ professional experience in the cultural and creative industries. His previous executive and creative leadership roles have specialised 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 an 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 technologies on the visual arts and creative industries, art in the public realm, socially engaged visual arts; diversity; urban regeneration and and society.
Tom has worked in both public and private sectors, including: Arts Council England; The Culture Capital Exchange; BBC Online; Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA); Eyestorm (London/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 (TCCE) and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).
Tom currently works for Arts Council England as a Relationship Manager with responsibility for a dynamic range of visual arts National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) in London and has specialist responsibilities for art in the public realm, architecture and design. His current NPO clients are: Design Museum; Artangel; Stanley Picker Gallery; Create London: iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts); UP Projects; Rosetta Art Centre and Forma. Previously, he looked after: Arts Catalyst; Resonance FM; Furtherfield; Live Art Development Agency (LADA); 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, model-making, art directing pop videos and films and creating bespoke furniture and interiors 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 was 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 conceived and delivered complex strategic and creative visions for organisations seeking 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 New Media 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 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 notable 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 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, 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.