Board of Directors:

Paul Brolly (Chair), Head of Creative, BBC Northern Ireland

David Croft (Treasurer), Business Bank Manager for Danske Bank

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.

Katey Dixon, Director in award-winning tech law firm FORDE CAMPBELL LLC

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.

Catherine McLaughlin, Communications & Marketing Officer with Parenting NI, visual artist and visual arts representative of the Go Girls.


All staff can be contacted at

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 ten years’ experience in the arts facilitating, devising, curating, fundraising and managing projects. Her role includes fundraising, strategic development, management, stakeholder engagement and mentoring. She is a member of the Belfast Visual Arts Forum, Steering Committee and the Audiences Sub Group. Recently she secured substantial funding from the Ampersand Foundation to develop the Gallery’s collection of 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: Foyle Foundation Fundraising Officer

Liz joined the GTG as fundraising officer in August 2019, seeking new funding 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 and outreach ideas drawing from its archive Collection. Liz worked at the BBC in TV Current Affairs for 12 years, working around the world producing films for Panorama, Spotlight NI and BBC Three. Liz is also an AHRC Northern Bridge funded PhD student in Creative Writing at Queen’s University. Originally from Dublin, she is proud to call Belfast home.


Current Volunteer Team

Paul Mulgrew – Front of House Volunteer

Sophie Daly – Front of House Volunteer

Katharine Paisley – Front of House Volunteer

Sarah Cathers – Front of House Volunteer

Yasmin Hunter – Front of House Volunteer

Chris Downey – Retail Adviser