Suffolk County Council – Jayne Knight

Suffolk County Council's Jayne Knight shortlisted for Best Arts Champion - Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker in the 2020 Hearts for the Arts Awards


Jayne Knight is Arts Development Manager at Suffolk County Council, leading the Suffolk Arts Service. 

Jayne was the driving force behind Making Art Work an ambitious and widely regarded professional development programme for Suffolk-based artists that ran from 1999 until 2006 and Start East a hugely successful programme for creative people to develop and grow their businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk which ran from 2017 to 2019.

Jayne is a natural partnership worker, and is incredibly skilled at bringing disparate organisations, influencers, agencies and politicians together to make things happen. A recent and impressive example of this is the unique First Light festival, a 24-hour arts and music festival which took place in the UK ‘s most easterly point – Lowestoft – on the Summer Solstice for the first time this year. Another notable project is The StartEast programme, which provided support to cultural enterprises in Norfolk and Suffolk. 

At a time when local authority money for arts and culture has been increasingly under threat, one of Jayne’s key successes is that there is still such a thriving, arts ecology in Suffolk which is supported by the local authority. For all portfolio members she is continuously convincing politicians and Local Authority leadership of the power, potential and importance of the creative scene. 

Jayne’s passion, enthusiasm and ability ensures there is a wide-ranging cultural offer across the whole county. Those working in culture across the county have, and continue to, benefit from her loyalty, her wise counsel and her endless enthusiasm and positivity. 

What the judges said:

‘Jayne occupies a seldom seen role with one eye on wider local authority agenda, and another on the local creative talent to deliver it. A vital, critical friend to the Suffolk arts practitioners.’

‘She has shown excellent advocacy as a brilliant individual, passionate about their involvement in arts in many ways. Also excellent impact in their team, as they are a vital member and leader. Very strong partnership skills.’

Photo credit: Joel Chester Fildes