Press Story

13 Apr 2023

The Place, the UK’s leading organisation for dance training, creation and performance, today announces the appointment of David Blackburn and Helen Bailey to its Board of Governors. The Place is grateful for the support and expertise they bring to the organisation in the areas of human resources, higher education and academic leadership.

Governors are responsible for setting the overall strategy and for enabling The Place to fulfil its artistic and educational objectives in the context of a sustainable business model, ensuring the growth and future of the organisation.

David Blackburn is one of the most awarded HR professionals working in the UK today. He is the 3rd Most Influential in the HR Magazine Most Influential List 2022 and listed as one of the top 100 HR Directors in the World 2021 and 2022. David is both a Chartered Companion of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). With 25 years’ experience in leading all aspects of Human Resources, David is the Chief People Officer of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Prior to his current role he worked across both the private and not-for-profit sectors. David is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and the London Business School. David has a lifelong passion for performance having been a performer himself before his professional HR career. He recognises the vital role dance plays in unlocking human potential, understanding, energy, and excitement.

Helen Bailey, Deputy Vice President (Global Business Development) of King’s College London, is a senior academic with an over twenty-five-year career in international higher education, research and academic leadership. She initially trained in contemporary dance and received a professorship in 2010 in recognition of her research in the area of performance, choreography and immersive technologies. She has worked at a number of UK universities and is experienced in executive leadership and management, international higher education, partnership development, research leadership and curriculum innovation. At King’s College London she is a member of the Principal’s Office and has responsibility for the leadership of global business development and the establishment of multi-faculty strategic international partnerships. Her current research activity focuses on the development of models for preservation and widening access to practice-led research in the arts. She is passionate about dance education and participation from both a professional and personal perspective.

Clare Connor, Chief Executive of The Place says about the appointments,

“The Place has vision for “a world with more dance” and it is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to work with these two world-leaders from their respective fields of HR and global business development in Higher Education. Skills aside, David and Helen are exceptional people whose love and understanding of dance and the arts combined with their commitment to diversity and inclusion will ensure they bring a holistic and enriching “lived” experience to The Place. Together with a formidable group of committed governors, I believe they will continue to help shape the pioneering world-leading spirit of The Place for years to come.

Helen Bailey says “The Place is so special to me personally, as it played such a central role in my development as a dance artist. It provided me with access to cutting edge work and opportunities for continuing professional, creative and aesthetic growth. I am privileged to be able to give back to the organisation by joining the board and I hope that my skills and experience in international higher education, global business development and practice-led research in the arts can contribute to its sustainability and capacity to thrive.”

David Blackburn says “I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed to the Board of Governors and to marry my passions: performance and a lifelong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, in support of a world with more dance. The Place is a global leader in its work with diverse artists, ages, communities, creators, and students. I cannot wait to get started. "