A FORMER arts correspondent has been appointed as the new chairwoman of Firstsite’s board of trustees.

Rosie Millard, who is also chairwoman of BBC Children in Need and Children and the Arts, will take over from interim chair Professor Atul K Shah.

Prof Shah was appointed after former chair Dr Noorzaman Rashid left the Lewis Gardens gallery’s leadership team amid ongoing questions about his links to a firm which the gallery paid for work.

Ms Millard, a former BBC arts correspondent for ten years, will begin her new role on Friday.

She said: “I am thrilled to become chair of Firstsite - such an inspiring and exciting art gallery and cultural centre.

“I have spent my entire career working across the arts world, but the visual arts is my passion.

“To work in an organisation which embraces both Grayson Perry and Roman mosaics, as well as inhabiting the country’s most beautiful gallery, is beyond exciting.

“I have always championed the power of top-flight art for everyone and Firstsite’s determined sense of inclusion and unmistakably high standards make it a cultural centre to be reckoned with, on a national and international level.”

Firstsite director Sally Shaw thanked Prof Shah for his work.

She said: “Professor Shah has guided the board with an expert and inclusive hand and has brought new energy and insight to the gallery during his time as interim chair.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Rosie as our new chair – Rosie’s contribution to the arts sector is inspirational and we are privileged to work under her leadership.

“Her appointment brings huge opportunities not only for Firstsite but the entire East of England, showcasing the world class art and culture which emanates from the region.”

In 2017/18, Firstsite attracted 156,000 visitors, the highest annual visitor figures since the gallery opened in 2011.

Firstsite, is part of the Arts Council England’s national portfolio, and also receives funding from Colchester Council and Essex County Council.

For more information visit firstsite.uk.