MMAC Management Committee

Ann SumnerAnn Sumner

Ann took over as Chair of the Management Committee from John Gibbs at the end of July 2018.  Ann is a senior museum professional with 30 years' experience. She is a former Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (2007-12) and Barber Professor of Fine Art and Curatorial Practice. Prior to that, she was Head of Fine Art at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (2000 - 2007). She has held curatorial positions at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Holburne Museum, Bath and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

She was educated at Kingswood School, Bath, the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London and studied for her PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Ann is currently Historic Collections Adviser at Harewood House Trust in Yorkshire, where she is leading the Chippendale 300 programming for 2018 and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds, where she specialises in public art research . She sits on the Curatorial Advisory Committee for the Ironbridge Museums Trust and the Advisory Committee for the School of Art Gallery & Museum, Aberystwyth University. She is a Trustee of Leeds Art Fund and of the Museum of Bath at Work.



John Newton Gibbs   

John's career has been in science - as a researcher on tree diseases - but his interest in modern art goes back to the family home in Penarth where he grew up surrounded by 20th century paintings acquired by his parents.

It was his father, John Morel Gibbs, who took the lead in creating the Methodist Modern Art Collection in the 1960s. When the Managing Committee was appointed in 1998 to maintain and promote the Collection, he took on the role of Chairman, a position he has only recently relinquished.  He says: 'It has been a most interesting and rewarding experience.'' 

John has published scientific papers on many tree problems including Dutch Elm Disease and was awarded the OBE for services to forestry. At present he is Chairman of the Brecknock Society and Museum Friends.




Graham Kent

Graham has been involved with the management and tours of the Collection for many years. He has worked in London, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester in urban, rural and ecumenical settings.

He studied Theology at Kings College London and later took a Masters' Degree in Art History at Leeds.

Graham is currently Superintendent of the Shaw & Rawton Circuit of the Methodist Manchester & Stockport District. He is a member of the Methodist-Anglican Panel for Unity in Mission.





Bob Williams

Bob initially worked for a Commercial Art Studio in Holborn, servicing the needs of London's top Advertising Agencies. A career re-think prompted him to explore teaching as a more fulfilling option.

He undertook professional training at Westminster College of Education (now the Westminster Campus of Oxford Brookes University) currently home to the Collection. A former Deputy Headmaster and Head of an Art Department, with a special interest in ceramics, he is now retired but keeping a 'finger on the pulse' on happenings across a wide spectrum of the art world.

His appointment as a committee member coincided with the launch of the Friends of the Methodist Modern Art Collection and in November 2008 he became Secretary to the Friends and editor of the twice yearly Newsletter.




Sarah MiddletonSarah Middleton

Sarah is a freelance Arts Manager and a Methodist Local Preacher. As part of her MA Arts & Cultural Management degree at Sussex University she evaluated the Methodist Modern Art Collection's impact in British churches and galleries from 1962-2007.

She developed these studies as Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University in 2011-12. More recently she has conducted a consultation for the Collection's committee members called 'Shaping A Future Together', centred on strategic planning.

Among Sarah's publications is the 2014 booklet The Methodist Modern Art Collection in Wales, and Praying with Art - an article for the Methodist Church website based on the popular Creative Spirit DVD/CD worship resource which she co-authored with ecumenical partners. Sarah has led a number of retreats and study days using the Collection. She currently lives in South Wales.




Meryl DoneyMeryl Doney 

Meryl is a freelance fine art curator, specialising in presenting exhibitions in cathedrals, churches, festivals and other challenging spaces.

She has curated over forty exhibitions and performance pieces, including 'Moon Mirror' by Rebecca Horne in St Paul's Cathedral and 'Presence: Images of Christ for the Third Millennium', a series of thirteen different exhibitions involving 50 contemporary artists.

Between 2006 and 2011 she was Director of Wallspace, a 'spiritual home for visual art' in All Hallows on the Wall church in the City of London. 

Meryl is a member of St Paul's Cathedral Visual Arts Policy and Planning Committee, former leader of the Visual Arts Group of the Greenbelt Festival, an Editorial consultant for Third Way Magazine and 'Art in Focus' Editor for Reform Magazine. 




Ruth Gee

Ruth has been Chair of the Darlington District of the Methodist Church since 2008. Formerly she served in the West Yorkshire District as a circuit minister and also as Ecumenical Officer and Synod Secretary. Before entering ordained ministry, Ruth had a career in teaching and still enjoys opportunities to follow this aspect of her calling.

Ruth is enthusiastic about the collection and has used it often in worship and in leading retreats and quiet days. She has experienced and is excited by the significant missional opportunities offered by exhibiting the collection both within the Darlington District and further afield.

Ruth served as President of the Methodist Conference (2013-2014), and among other responsibilities is currently Chair of the Methodist Council, a member of the Faith and Order Committee and Moderator of the Forum of Churches Together in England.




Ian Baker

Ian has been a Friend of the Collection for several years and is offering his skills to develop the Friends network. Now retired, his corporate administration career spanned both the corporate and not for profit sectors. His events management has included an annual major festival service at St Paul’s Cathedral for the benevolent fund for Anglican clergy and their families. Currently a PCC member at St James the Great, Colwall, Ian is keen to sustain the witness of the Collection, being struck by its impact on exhibition visitors.






Lucy Newman Cleeve

Lucy is a freelance curator, consultant and producer who has 20 years’ experience across the cultural sector. After single contracts with Tate, British Council and the Arts Council, she worked for the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, and for ten years as the founding director of Man&Eve gallery. She has a Masters degree from the Royal College of Art and is working towards a PhD thesis examining a post-secular theology of art. She would bring extensive expertise to the planning of the tour programme of the Collection, and is offering experience of fundraising, advocacy and commissioning of new works.




Simon Sorokos

Simon was a lead organiser of the 2017 MMAC exhibition in Canterbury at the city’s Beaney Art Gallery in partnership with Kent College Canterbury (part of the MIST group of schools) where he is employed as a teacher and Special Projects Manager. He brings vision and expertise for engaging educational institutions more fully with the work of the Collection. He holds a diploma in Art History from the University of Cambridge and is studying for an MSc in Charity Marketing and Fundraising at City University's Cass Business School. His network of contacts for work at Kent College include Sotheby’s and various universities.

Rebecca Gibbs

Rebecca is a trustee of the Gibbs Trust and a grand-daughter of John Morel Gibbs, who was the inspiration behind the Collection. She obtained a BA Honours: "Art in a Community Context" from the University of Surrey in 1997 and has had much involvement in the organisation of artistic and cultural events, like the St Paul's Carnival in Bristol.


Peter Forsaith is Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, within which role he acts as the Collection's Custodian.  Further details at


Jo Hibbard, Director of Engagement in the Mission & Advocacy Cluster, liaises with the Management Committee for the Connexional Team. She aims to ensure appropriate management support and resources available, and to share opportunities for collaboration on the promotion and use of the Collection.


Liz Millard is the Collection's part-time Administrator, in addition to her role as Senior Administrator for the Mission & Advocacy Team of the Connexional Team.

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