Dr Serena Trowbridge
Senior Vice President

Serena is Reader in Victorian Literature and Associate Director for Research at the School of English at Birmingham City University. She became an Elected Trustee in 2018, and has held the posts of Chair of the Library Committee and Honorary Secretary before being elected as Senior Vice-President in 2020.

Serena has set up and organised the BMI Poetry Centre, which brings in a range of both well-known and obscure poets who attract a diverse range of attendees, many of whom have not visited the Institute before.

A regular speaker for the Monday lecture series, Serena tries to arrange meetings at the Institute and bring her students to visit, which has spread the word among the students she teaches.

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Samina Ansari
Junior Vice President

Samina has been an Elected Trustee since January 2019. She is also the Honorary Librarian and was elected Junior Vice President in January 2020.
Samina has acted as liaison between members, trustees, staff and volunteers and has built a team of volunteers over the past three years who are trained and willing to help in any way they can.

Samina also sits on the Governance committee and chairs the Library committee, as Honorary Librarian.

James Fletcher
Honorary Treasurer

James is originally from Evesham in Worcestershire, and is Senior Finance Business Partner for Firstport Limited, the UK’s largest property management company.

He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1995, and a Chartered Tax Adviser in 1997, and has a proven track record of good financial governance.

James became an Elected Trustee and Honorary Treasurer for the Institute in January 2020, and sits on the Governance Committee. He has also held the role of Honorary Treasurer for the Victorian Society in the West Midlands since 2004, and was formerly also Treasurer for the Birmingham Civic Society between 2003 and 2009. James sits on the Governance & Roadmap Steering committees of the Institute.

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Stephen Hartland
Honorary Secretary

Stephen became an Elected Trustee in September 2019 has almost 40 years’ experience working in IT and Finance for multi-national companies, including RSA & IBM and has been involved as project manager for a number of high-profile commercial customers.

Stephen has been the Regional Chairman of The Victorian Society in the West Midlands since 2009, and is Deputy Chairman of the Birmingham Civic Society, for which he also chairs the Public Art Committee. He has also been the 99th Churchwarden of St Augustine’s Church in Edgbaston since 2009.

Stephen has a proven track record of delivering on time and within budget and is acknowledged for his enthusiasm to get things done. Stephen also chairs the Governance and Roadmap Steering committees of the Institute.

Mark Blake
Elected Trustee

Mark was Chairman of Lea Marston and the Abbey Hotel Golf and Country Club Ltd until 2017. He is the former MD of the family business, consisting of two hotels. His personal philosophy is to make sure that the business is well led, and that the people employed are valued as the greatest asset, and therefore need treating properly i.e. training, development and remuneration.

Mark is currently non-executive chairman of Mooch Creative and chairs the Marketing & Media committee of the Institute and also sits on the Roadmap Steering committee.

His areas of speciality are Strategic Planning, Leadership development, Marketing, Product Development, and Project Assessment.

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John Blewitt
Elected Trustee

John has an extensive experience of adult, further and higher education as a tutor, administrator course leader, curriculum developer and departmental head. He has taught all age groups and levels from adult basic education to supervising doctoral research.

John has worked at Leeds Metropolitan, Bradford, Huddersfield, Exeter and Aston universities. He has been heavily involved in the development of online distance learning, community based voluntary work particularly in the field of environmental education and activism and, in his capacity and as an Adult Education Professional, in community based regeneration projects (in Bradford) and public library development (in Birmingham) with the Royal Society of Arts.

Since retiring in 2017 John has run courses in Philosophy and William Morris for the U3A, maintained his commitment to a greener world through his Fellowship work with the Schumacher Institute and has been active in the William Morris Society for whom Ihe has produced two books – one on Ruskin and one on Morris.

John sits on the Roadmap Steering committee of the Institute.

Paul Borrow-Longain
Elected Trustee

Paul was educated in the field of science at Cardiff University and the University of Exeter, which means that he is well equipped to advise on start-up and growth plans in the areas of information and communication technology within emerging technology sector businesses.

Since 2006 he has been a leading figure in corporate finance teams which have secured in-excess of £10 million of financing for businesses via governmental grants/loans, financial institutions, private investors and business financing houses.

Paul sits on the Roadmap Steering committee and the Marketing & Media committee of the Institute.

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George Davies
Elected Trustee

George achieved a First Class Honours in BA English literature with drama, having also done extra-curricular research with an academic at the University of Birmingham, as part of the university’s selective Undergraduate Research Scholarship.

At university George wrote for numerous online and print publications including The National Student and UoB’s Redbrick, and was President of the University of Birmingham Shakespeare Society. He is now in training for a PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education and Training at Birmingham City University.

George is part of the Institute’s Digital Content Team and a Library volunteer, and sits on the Marketing & Media committee and the Library committee.

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Councillor Peter Fowler
Council Trustee

Peter has been a City Councillor since 2018, representing the Harborne Ward. He is the Shadow Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities. Peter is a member of the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee and the joint Birmingham & Solihull Health O&SC. He is also a member of the council’s Route to Zero Advisory Committee & Taskforce.

In addition to the BMI, Peter sits on the West Midlands Combined Authority Overview & Scrutiny Committee and is its Environment Champion. He is a member of the Friends of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Peter is one of four Council Trustees who sit on the Board of Trustees.      

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Councillor Mary Locke
Council Trustee

Mary has been a City Councillor since 2016, representing the Stirchley Ward, and is Cabinet Adviser on Carers.

Mary sits on a number of Council Committees: Housing and Neighbourhoods Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Licensing and Public Protection Committee, Licensing Sub Committee A, Transport Delivery Committee, and Personnel Appeals (Dismissals) Sub Committee.

Mary is one of the four Council Trustees who sit on the Board of Trustees and also sits on the Roadmap Steering committee of the Institute.

Peter Miles
Elected Trustee

Peter is a Trustee of the Friends of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Chairman of the Midland’s Antiques Society. He has previously been a trustee of The Birmingham Civic Society, serving as Chairman of the Society’s Events Committee, which organised the cultural programme of that organisation.

Peter has latterly been involved in property management and before that he was Managing Director of Morton Bentzien for 15 years, which is an international arts development company and this followed his proprietorship of The Corkscrew Gallery, a private art gallery promoting local artists.

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Kenneth Morris
Elected Trustee

Kenneth runs his own businesses, chiefly centring upon Property and Finance. This has given him a great exposure to the local market, as well as a large network of like-minded professionals and businessmen in the area. He has experience in procuring finance on complex and unorthodox projects. In his line of work, great emphasis is placed upon thorough administration, costing, and regulatory compliance.

In addition to his primary line of work, Kenneth operates Commercial Mediation for a number of large firms. Accordingly, he deals with local and national authorities regularly, and has acquired an excellent insight into all manner of businesses.

Kenneth sits on the Marketing & Media committee of the Institute.

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Councillor Rob Pocock
Council Trustee

Rob has been a City Councillor since 2012, representing the Sutton Vesey Ward, and is Chair of the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Joint Chair of the Joint Health (Birmingham & Sandwell) Overview & Scrutiny Committee and Joint Chair of the Joint Health (Birmingham & Solihull) Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

Rob also sits on a number of other Council Committees, including Co-ordinating Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee, and the Pensions Committee (Substitute Co-opted Member).

Rob is one of the four Council Trustees who sit on the Board of Trustees.

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Alexander Pritchard-Jones
Elected Trustee

Alex was elected trustee in February 2021 and sits on the Institute’s Governance committee. 

He is a barrister practising in criminal and civil law, based in Birmingham, but working in courts across the country. 

As well as being a trustee, he is the Team Leader for Birmingham Centra Read Easy, a group which helps adults learn to read, and runs a pop up art gallery, Flat 8. 

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Alex Round
Elected Trustee

Alex read English Literature and Language at Birmingham City University. She is currently an MRes humanities student at Newman University and an aspiring PhD candidate in Pre-Raphaelite Studies. Alex wishes to pursue a lecturing career on both a national and International scale. Her research concerns applying psychoanalytical theory to her analysis of Pre-Raphaelite art and literature, as well as Gothic literature and prose and poetry of the nineteenth century.

She also teaches A Level and GCSE Literature at Sandwell Academy and is the CI for the ACF Cadets Sandwell detachment, as well as DofE Coordinator.

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Matthew Vaughan
Elected Trustee

Matthew is a RIBA Chartered Architect, and AABC accredited in the conservation of historic buildings; he leads the Birmingham office of Donald Insall Associates, a specialist in this field. Matthew is able to advise on all stages of the maintenance, repair, refurbishment and extension of buildings, and has experience in both new building construction, and work to historic buildings including Grade I listed and Scheduled Monuments.

Matthew’s main interests are in ensuring that the BMI building is appropriately maintained, and work carried out in accordance with statutory requirements and of suitable quality.

Matthew is a member of the Ecclesiastical Architects & Surveyor’s Association (EASA) and architectural advisor to Worcester Diocesan Advisory Committee; he is a member of the SPAB, Victorian Society and Twentieth Century Society, and volunteers for the Victorian Society’s West Midlands Case Work Sub Committee. Matthew is a trustee and Deputy Chairman of The Birmingham Civic Society and chairs the Planning Committee for the Society also.

Matthew sits on the Roadmap Steering Committee of the Institute.

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Councillor Mike Ward
Council Trustee

Mike has been a City Councillor since 1991, representing Sheldon Ward.

Mike is also a member of the Council Business Management Committee, Planning Committee, Personnel Appeals (Dismissals) Sub Committee, School Governor Nomination Committee and he is Secretary of the Liberal Democrat Group of Councillors.

In addition to the BMI, Mike also represents the City Council on the Birmingham City Football Club Safety Advisory Group, the Birmingham Airport Consultative Committee and the Birmingham Airport Community Trust (Chair).

In happier times, Mike likes to travel and play badminton.

Mike is one of the four Council Trustees who sit on the Board of Trustees.

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