Join us in bidding a fond farewell and thanks to our longstanding Chair Julia McBryde

After more than 20 years leading Arc as its founding Chair, Julia finally felt ready to retire and hand over leadership to a new Chair.

Julia gave both her time and heart to Arc during her leadership as Chair of the Board of Directors and to many participants, volunteers, supporters, visitor, partners and others Julia’s warm smile, calmness and steadying presence was a reassuring constant over the years. She believed in always remaining grounded in what the organisation did day-to-day and understood how important it was to be both seen and known by those that support, work for and benefit from the organisation’s work.

Julia was always generous with her time, spending hours and sometimes days at Arc going through documentation or arriving ahead of an event to help prepare, attending the regular gallery open days showcasing the work of the many participants and artists that have come through Arc’s doors, and easily talking to both new visitors and the familiar faces of councillors. 

Julia said:

“Now felt like the time to let go and retire from the Board. With Arc’s move to the Hat Works building, having a strong and highly skilled Board of Directors, came excitement about this new chapter in Arc’s long journey. Excitement but also a realisation that Arc could now get there without me. I was also delighted to be handing over the reins to a highly competent young lady Safi, the new Chair and to such a diverse, experienced Board of Directors.  There has been a gradual and in depth handover of the Chair position to Safi in her role as Vice-Chair and latterly as Acting Chair over the past year and she has risen to the challenge both gracefully and with integrity. It has been my privilege to serve as Chair and oversee the organisation. Seeing it grow from a MIND project to an independent arts for wellbeing organisation has been my joy. It is with some sadness that I leave now but I know I will always remain connected to Arc in some way and it won’t be too long before I see you again.”

Arc’s new serving Chair, Safia Griffin said,

“I am delighted to be leading the organisation into these new chapter on its journey as Chair. I have had the privilege to work alongside Julia for almost 4 years now and have got to know her well.  What I valued most from Julia as a Chair was her thoughtful and steady approach to everything, her willingness to listen and strong sense of responsibility for both successes and failures and ability to learn from both. Looking back, I now see her steady hand in my journey to Chair. As a thoughtful person I can see how she kept stepping back to create space and a choice for me to step into that space and steadily take more responsibility and oversight for the organisation. My progress from leading and Chairing one of the 3 sub-committees of Arc, to stepping into the role of Vice-Chair, then Acting Chair and line-management of our Lead Officer and finally officially becoming Chair at our A.G.M on the 10th of September felt very natural and that, in a large part, was down to Julia. I thank her for both her friendship and quiet confidence in me. I am deeply grateful for her support over the years and look forward to leading Arc going forward. Thank you.”

Farewells are always hard, so it is with both sadness and deep gratitude that we say goodbye and thank you to Julia. We plan to recognise Julia’s contribution and legacy with an event once we can safely gather together again.

Meanwhile we are developing a page on our website dedicated to the history of the organisation and Julia’s legacy. We are in the process of pulling together quotes, stories and photos from the people she has worked with, touched and supported over the years. If you would like to say or submit something please get in touch at
We expect to receive quite a lot of submissions for this page, so please keep in mind that we will have to be selective and possibly edit submissions.