The board of directors oversees all our work, monitors our performance and helps us to set our yearly plans and budgets. There are seven directors at any one time. Directors commit to attend quarterly meetings and may also chair an advisory group. Each member of the board has a duty and responsibility to protect the interests of Explore and ensure the organisation is well run. Members of the board are not to represent their own interests or that of any other organisation they have a role in.

Chris Edwards – Chair

Chris trained as a physics and mathematics teacher andwas part of the education team that established the new City of York Council. He subsequently became Director of Learning and Leisure before moving to Leeds as Chief Executive of Education Leeds. Since leaving Leeds, Chris has continued to work on leadership and culture in organisations,curriculum development and school improvement. Chris reads a lot, sings a little and is passionate about teaching and learning, culture and the arts and hopes we can further develop the libraries as community spaces and a vibrant, inclusive and exciting part of the rich artistic and cultural landscape in this great city of ours.

Fiona Williams – Chief Executive

Fiona says, “I am proud of our amazing staff who have worked so hard to set up a new organisation that will not only maintain the services currently available in the city, but also be able to improve and expand them. We now have the freedom to make our own decisions about our future. This is a real opportunity to secure the longer term future of the greatly valued libraries and archives in York.”

Beth Cairns Staff DirectorBeth Cairns – Staff Director

Beth is a Reading and Learning Advisor based at Acomb Explore and chairs the Staff Advisory Group (STAG). She says, “I love my job! I enjoy seeing the positive impact that our work has on the communities that we work in. I feel I have a good understanding of staff concerns following my experience with STAG, and particularly through my involvement in the Staff Wellbeing Survey. I believe that happy, healthy staff will help Explore to grow and thrive. My greatest skill is communication; I am multi-lingual and have lived abroad, have taught English as a foreign language and I have a background in theatre and music.”

John Carlill Non Executive DirectorJohn Carlill  – Non-executive Director

John brings extensive business and commercial experience. Now retired, he carries out a number of local volunteer roles including at St Leonard’s Hospice and the Yorkshire Regiment archives. With a keen interest in family and local history John is particularly interested to help broaden the interest and access to the York archives. The archive and local history collections hold some fantastic treasures that show how York has developed over the centuries. These records trace the history of our local communities, and provide some fascinating insights to our past and to the events which have created today’s York.

Natasha Guest Community DirectorNatasha Guest – Community Director

Natasha is a local solicitor who has lived in York for over 17 years.  When not at work she likes to spend time exploring the cultural highlights of this super city with her family. Over the past few years she has become increasingly aware of the fantastic job that Fiona and her team are doing in a time when libraries throughout the country are facing closure. She  joined the board to help push York Explore further forward, creating a cultural hub whilst at the same time maintaining its all-important ‘space for all’ ethos.

Ian Money – Non-executive Director

Ian is a lecturer in Accounting and Finance at the University of York. He brings a unique mix of experience from senior roles in both business and education. Among his key skills are corporate governance, leadership and business acumen. He is passionate about people learning and believes that libraries should be the hub of any community and a safe environment for people to visit and socialise. The five things he can’t live without are family, football, golf, holidays and his iphone.

Robert Powell Community DirectorRobert Powell – Community Director

Robert is a well known figure on York’s cultural scene – a writer, curator, and cultural manager with over 40 years experience in the arts, built environment, education, and media in England, Canada and Scotland.  From 1997-2015 he was Director of Beam an arts and education company based in Wakefield.  In 2017 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). As a creative writer he has published four books of poetry and his latest collection is Riverain (2018)