People We Work With

Some of our projects need additional specialist knowledge and we’re very proud to work with a great group of experts across a range of disciplines – from architecture to VAT. 

We’re also happy to work in collaboration with your own team. And if we don’t already know just the right person for your project, we’ll help you to find them.

Here are some of our Associates' biographies:

Michael de Guzman
A development and fundraising professional with ten years’ experience in not-for-profit cultural organisations. Michael was Head of Development and Development Manager at the Whitechapal Gallery during its major £13.5 million expansion: managing a fundraising team across corporate sponsorship, public sector funding, trusts and foundations and international patronage; and undertaking high-level advocacy with stakeholders. He was previously Development Manager at the Benjamin Franklin House, London. With Counterculture, his fundraising clients include St Katherine and Shadwell Trust and READ International. Michael holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, and is a board member at The Showroom gallery.

Sophie Hayles
Sophie is an experienced international arts professional in the public and private sectors – as a project director, relationship manager, strategist and fundraiser. She has held positions in London, Brussels and Aarhus and undertaken freelance work in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Ireland and the UK. Currently based in Belfast, she is Chair of the Board of Creative Exchange Artist Studios, Committee Member of Barnardo’s NI and mentor to a number of leading arts professionals through Arts & Business Northern Ireland.

She was Strategic Development Manager at Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017 where she designed the organisation’s fundraising strategy, Strategic Relations Manager at the Whitechapel Gallery where she managed key relationships including Arts Council England, local businesses, national policy initiatives, and programmes such as the government-led Tech City agenda. Previously she was Global Project Consultant for the British Council’s multi-million pound arts initiative Cultural Leadership International – working with more than 80 cultural-sector partners in 25 countries, as well as successfully fundraising for its pilot year. She began her career as Arts Manager with the British Council in Brussels, and setting up the private visual arts organization ROLLO Contemporary Art. Sophie was a Clore Leadership Programme short course fellow in 2012; she has a MA in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge, an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and is fluent in French and Italian

Johanna Melvin

Jo is an artist and arts professional with many years of experience in sales and customer services having run her own small business over two decades. In 2006 Jo began pioneering a fund-raising limited editions programme at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, working with the Gallery's curatorial team and in liaison with leading international artists, printmakers and fabricators to build a highly successful business for the Gallery.

Jo is a keen advocate for Public Sector Arts and for making art collecting more widely accessible and democratic. Her skills include curating, artist liaison, artwork production and pricing as well as sales, conservation and shipping.

She also has extensive experience of art fairs having project managed the Gallery’s very profitable participation at fairs world-wide, including the London Art Fair, Zoo, Christie's Multiplied, Art 13 & 14, The Armory Show New York, Expo Chicago, Contemporary Istanbul, NADA Miami and Artissima Turin.

Since 2011 Jo has also been key in the project management of an editions consortium: Allied Editions at Frieze London in collaboration with six other non-profit organisations.

Jo gained a BA Fine Art (Hons) at Sir John Cass Faculty of Fine art, specialising in printmaking and painting and has exhibited widely including at The Royal Academy of Arts, Contemporary Art Society and Flowers Gallery.

Sarah Robson

Sarah Robson

Sarah has over 30 years' experience in Human Resources (HR). She worked in HR for Air Products Limited, General Mills, Total Oil Marine, PJB Publications and London Arts before becoming a consultant in 2005.

Sarah specialises in providing practical HR advice and assistance to small to medium sized charities and companies, many of whom are in the arts. Sarah works closely with Boards and senior management on HR strategy and organisational change and advises on all aspects of HR including recruitment, performance management, redundancies, contracts and handbooks and day to day HR queries . 

Sarah is a trustee of ICON Theatre and Akademi South Asian Dance UK. 

A hugely experienced HR Director in the private and not-for-profit sectors. Her work includes: structural reorganisations resulting in changed roles or redundancies, acquisitions and mergers, TUPE transfers, and supporting / coaching HR teams to enable them to rise to a more strategic level. She also advises on employment relations – law, contractual obligations, best practice. And she works with individual clients on coaching and mentoring. Among others, Mary has worked with: The Arts Council, Ensign Pensions Group, Cancer Research UK, Liverpool Guild of Students, the University of Westminster Students’ Union and OMF International. She was a Board Director of the Contemporary Dance Trust Ltd and The Place / London Contemporary School of Dance and is now a Board Director for the Mary How Trust for Cancer Prevention