Profile - Jim Shea




Jim has extensive experience in supporting individuals and organisations in the arts and cultural sectors embarking on processes of significant reflection, development or change.


He has worked as a cultural consultant since 2003, first as a lead associate at Shea Debnam Associates and now lead consultant at James Shea Consulting.


Originally from Southampton, Jim’s career has taken him to the north and the midlands as well as the south east of England and northern France. His early career was in development and marketing in the corporate sector, working particularly within the petrochemical, marine and communications industries.



His practice as a visual artist led him to study Fine Art at Staffordshire University and a career in the arts. At the City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent from the mid 1980s he curated national touring exhibitions of contemporary visual art and organised artists’ residencies and commissions, supported by integral formal and informal education programmes. As Senior Assistant Keeper his curatorial practice focussed on issue-based programming as well as site specific work.



Jim moved to Brighton in the 1990s to work as Public Art Officer for Brighton Health Care NHS Trust, commissioning works of visual art, crafts, music and dance within a new-build capital hospital development, and managing programmes of participatory activities within a health care environment across five hospital sites. He was a member of the design team for the new-build Royal Sussex County Hospital and established a successful fundraising trust comprising representatives of public funders, corporate bodies and high-profile individual givers.



Jim joined South East Arts Board as Visual Arts and Crafts Officer in 1996. His role involved the development and overseeing of curatorial practice within a broad spectrum of galleries within East and West Sussex, Surrey and Kent and the development of programming and capacity building within artists’ led organisations, in order to complement high quality programming with organisational resilience.



As Senior Officer and Acting Director, Visual Arts and Media at Arts Council England, South East between 1999 and 2003, he was responsible for the development of the visual arts infrastructure in the south east. Liaising with local authorities, Arts Council Capital Services, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the (then) Regional Development Agency, planners, architects, and designers he worked to initiate the development of a bespoke built infrastructure for the showing of high profile contemporary art exhibitions and activities at venues such as the De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, the Towner, Eastbourne, and the Turner Contemporary, Margate.



Jim brings to his consultancy work a current knowledge of management and organisational structures within the public and private sectors, informed knowledge of the performing as well as the visual arts and a strong conviction that organisations succeed best by investing in their people and embracing their client groups.