Board of Directors
Paul Brolly (Chair), Head of Creative, BBC Northern Ireland
Joe McVey (Secretary), a founding partner of Blueprint Development, has worked extensively in regeneration and development, in local government and the private and community sectors.
Amanda Croft, art historian and former Teaching Fellow and Head of the History of Art department at Queen’s University Belfast.
Tony Hill, Artist & former Director of the Master of Fine Art Course at University of Ulster
John FitzGerald, Dickson FitzGerald Architects, & Specialist Architectural Advisor to the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the built environment.
Naomi Sheehan, Architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Catherine McLaughlin, Communications & Marketing Officer with Parenting NI, visual artist and visual arts representative of the Go Girls.
All staff can be contacted at [email protected]
Peter Richards, Gallery Director
Peter Richards has over twenty years’ experience in the arts, both as a curator and as an artist. He has led the Golden Thread Gallery since 2001 and is the current Chair of the Belfast Visual Arts Forum. Peter has developed and managed projects across Northern Ireland, nationally and internationally. Peter’s role includes devising the gallery’s’ exhibition programmes, curation, engaging with key stakeholders, budgetary control, strategic development, and lobbying for the arts.
He currently serves as the secretary of IACA (International Association of Art Critics, Ireland) and on the Board of Directors of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, Belfast. In the past Richards has served on the Board of Directors of Bbeyond, Catalyst Arts and Flax Art Studios.
Sarah McAvera, Deputy Director
Sarah McAvera has over fifteen years of professional experience in the arts as a project manager, curator, facilitator and fundraiser, and has been with the GTG since 2005. Her role at the gallery encompasses strategic development, fundraising, management, stakeholder engagement, curating and mentoring. Over the years she has mentored hundreds of artists and young arts professionals in developing their careers.
Sarah was editor of the Golden Thread Gallery Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art book series, and her arts writing has appeared in Circa, Irish Arts Review and CURA Magazines. She is a core member of the Belfast Visual Arts Forum Steering Committee and Audiences Sub Group. Recently she secured substantial funding from the Art Fund and from the Ampersand Foundation to develop the Gallery’s collection of contemporary Northern Irish art.
Mary Stevens: Exhibitions Officer
Mary has worked at Golden Thread Gallery since May 2018 and was made the Exhibitions and Fundraising Officer in August 2019. Having gained a Masters in ’Modern and Contemporary Art, History, Curating and Criticism’ from Edinburgh University in 2013, she moved to Belfast to complete a two year directorship at Catalyst Arts. She has since worked in The Mac Belfast, The Arts and Disability Forum, the Golden Thread Gallery and The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Mary has published articles in Paper Visual Art, VAN Newsletter, The Thin Air, and the Herald, Scotland. Mary has extensive training in fundraising for arts organisations through Arts and Business NI and is experienced in marketing and PR, branding, events planning, arts administration, art writing and critique, programming and curating.
Liz Byrne: Development & Fundraising Officer
Liz joined the GTG as fundraising officer in August 2019, seeking new funding and partnerships for the Gallery to support its strategic development and vision for the future. Her previous experience includes a six-month role at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, developing new programming, learning and outreach ideas drawing from its archive Collection. Liz worked at the BBC in TV Current Affairs for 12 years, producing films for Panorama, Spotlight NI and BBC Three. Liz holds an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University, and is currently an AHRC Northern Bridge funded PhD candidate. Originally from Dublin, she is proud to call Belfast home.
Katharine Paisley: Gallery Assistant
Katharine joined the GTG team as a Gallery Assistant in September 2020. Her role includes assisting the GTG team, liaising with artists, organisations and visitors, developing outreach activities, exhibition assistance and enhancing visitor experience across the Gallery’s programme. Since joining the GTG team, Katharine has increased engagement with our junior audience through the launch of our Junior Gallery Newsletter. Katharine graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in 2018 with a BA Hons in Fine Art. She is a studio member of Flax Art Studio Belfast, where she was awarded an Emerging Artist Residency in 2019. Katharine is currently a British Council Venice Research Fellow 2021.
Jennifer Alexander: Audience Development Assistant
Jennifer joins the GTG team in the new role of Audience Development Assistant, thanks to funding support from the Department for Communities via the Art Work Scheme administered by Future Screens NI. Hailing from Scotland, Jennifer moved to Northern Ireland six years ago. A graduate of the RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in Technical & Production Theatre Arts, she previously worked in theatre productions across Scotland, focusing on lighting and sound. In Belfast she decided to follow her life-long love and passion for art, and joined the MFA Fine Arts Program at Ulster University, graduating with distinction in 2020. Jennifer is Co-Director of the Re-Vision Arts Festival, now in its fourth year. She is a studio member at Flax Art Studio and a former Catalyst Arts Co-Director.
Current Volunteer Team
Paul Mulgrew – Front of House Volunteer
Gemma Kirkpatrick – Front of House Volunteer
Zoe Meeks – Front of House Volunteer
Chris Downey – Retail Adviser