Adem Holness appointed head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre

Adem Holness appointed head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre

Adem Holness has been appointed head of contemporary music at London's Southbank Centre.

Currently relationship manager (music) at Arts Council England and programme consultant at the Dugdale Arts Centre in Enfield, Holness will join the Southbank Centre’s artistic programming team in mid-September 2022 and will report to Mark Ball, artistic director.

Leading the contemporary music team, Holness will be responsible for driving innovation and excellence within the contemporary music programme through curating and overseeing the delivery of 150+ music events, including the annual artist-curated Meltdown festival and supporting the interdisciplinary experimentation series Purcell Sessions, which launched in September 2021.

He will also be focussed on building new relationships with artists and labels, nurturing young and diverse talent, developing the family of associate artists and working with creative learning to create music engagement opportunities for young people. He will also contribute to the content strategy for the Southbank Centre’s digital platforms, expanding the reach of contemporary music nationally and internationally.

As an artistic programmer and cultural strategist, Adem has worked with arts and cultural organisations, led talent development programmes and produced live music festivals, tours and gigs. He specialises in supporting artists and creatives, predominantly within UK jazz, Afrobeat, grime, reggae, electronic and R&B music. He is a fellow of Clore Leadership, the Royal Society of Arts and PRS Foundation’s Power Up scheme.

Holness said: “I am beyond thrilled to be joining the team at the Southbank Centre. As a Londoner, the Southbank Centre has always felt like our hub for groundbreaking music and creativity. So I feel deeply honoured to have the opportunity to help it continue to create space for contemporary music that reflects our city, country and international family. I am so excited to collaborate with artists, creatives, colleagues and partners to dream up new ways for people to experience live music. I can’t wait for the gigs!”

Mark Ball, artistic director of the Southbank Centre, added: “Adem will play a pivotal role in not just leading on our incredible contemporary music programme, but also in how it speaks to our other artforms and connects with new audiences to ensure a rich and relevant programme in our venues and across our outdoor and virtual spaces. With such a varied and deep knowledge of the music landscape, a commitment to championing diverse talent and an unwavering commitment to culture in all its forms, Adem will certainly take our world renowned gigs and series to the next level.”

The Southbank Centre recently launched a new free education initiative, Emerging Music Professionals, alongside independent labels Ninja Tune and Big Dada


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