The Rt Hon Shaun Woodward

Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Shaun Woodward was a Member of Parliament for 18 years and a Cabinet Minister in the previous Labour government (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Minister for Creative Industries & Tourism). He has served on numerous Boards and been closely involved with the arts since his time at Cambridge.

Shaun was the longest serving Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the previous Labour government and he led the negotiations on behalf of the British government to complete the last part of the political and peace process, which resulted in the devolution of policing and justice powers in 2010. He was also a member of the Shadow Cabinet in 2011.

Shaun began his career in television journalism. He was a producer and documentary filmmaker for the BBC (Newsnight and Panorama) and the editor of That’s Life! He has taught at the University of London (Queen Mary and Westfield College) and at Harvard University (Institute of Politics). 

He was Director of Communications for Prime Minister John Major for the 1992 General Election. Elected as a Conservative MP in 1997, he crossed the floor of the House of Commons in 1999; in 2001 he was re-elected as Labour MP for St Helens South. In Parliament, Shaun has served on the Foreign Affairs, EU Scrutiny and the Human Rights Select Committees.

He has been a Trustee of numerous charities, including Deputy Chairman of ChildLine, Chairman of Understanding Industry and the English National Opera (ENO), and Chairman of the ENO’s Redevelopment Campaign. He is a Trustee and Chair of the Human Dignity Trust, working to promote equality by the application of international human rights law in those countries which still criminalize homosexuality. He is also a Board member of the Hamptons International Film Festival 

He was educated at Bristol Grammar School and the University of Cambridge, graduating with a First in English Literature. He is the co-author of three books.