Blog Post

Tom Barnes to leave Lyth Arts Centre

Posted 31/03/22 by Calvin Wilson

After four and a half years, Tom Barnes will leave Lyth Arts Centre at the end of April 2022 to take up a new fundraising post with a human rights charity.

Charlotte Mountford will continue as Director on a full-time basis. Together, since November 2017, Tom and Charlotte have raised over £1m towards the operations of Lyth Arts Centre, including delivering public programmes, educational programmes, festivals, new artist opportunities and creating new jobs.


Tom Barnes, said:

“When Charlotte and I interviewed for this job together in Summer 2017, we set out our vision to make Lyth Arts Centre “an internationally recognised, and industry-leading, small arts centre for Caithness.” We have made enormous progress in meeting this aim, and I’m very proud of how LAC is now perceived, and the impact of our work, both locally and nationally.

In the last few years we have faced enormous challenges as an organisation, including the Covid-19 pandemic, and delays to core funding opportunities, which have stalled LAC from reaching the next level. We have always tried to use these challenges as radical opportunities to evolve and better fulfil our charitable aims. My departure will be no different, and will hopefully lead to new opportunities for others to take.  

Charlotte and the team are the best people I have ever had the privilege to work with. As a team, we have innovated, adapted and worked in ways that would only work here in Caithness. I have every faith that they will continue to do so, and I look forward to being their biggest supporter.”


Lyth Arts Centre will shortly be taking The Unexpected Garden – a mobile garden on a lorry – on tour across the county. This will be followed by Northern Stories Festival in October 2022, and LAC’s first co-commissioned Christmas Show – Ginger – in December 2022. 


Susan Dingle, Trustee of the Board, said: 

As a former Chair of the Board of LAC I had the privilege of being one of the team that interviewed Tom and Charlotte in 2017 and selected them to take on the job of Director of Lyth Arts Centre as a job share.  I think we knew in the interview that in Tom and Charlotte we had two candidates who together were an unbeatable team as well as being outstanding candidates, each in their own right. We were right in our assessment as LAC has gone from strength to strength over the past 4 and a half years, including two of the most challenging years to be faced by any arts organisation in the UK in recent history. 

As a Board we wish Tom every success in his exciting new venture and we are happy to be able look forward to the future of LAC with Charlotte taking on the leadership of the organisation.”