From Q-Arts to QUAD, arts, experience and joy you just can’t buy

Kevin Malpass of Rolls-Royce Plc shares his story of how being on the board of three arts organisations has had an impact on his working and personal life.

"I joined my first arts board through the Arts & Business East Midlands Board Bank scheme in April 2004 and am now a trustee with a third cultural organisation. I had no particular area of artistic interest but wanted to take part in the scheme to support the community, develop my executive business management skills and to support my future chances for promotion.

The Arts & Business Board Bank programme certainly enabled me to achieve all of these. All three arts organisations have varied in size, the level of support and time required, and the experience gained. 

My journey began with Q-Arts in Derby, which was a leading contemporary visual arts organisation, and it felt like big step in to the unknown.  I was pleased to see from the start how friendly people were, how they cared passionately about what they did, how hard they worked and more than anything how thrilled they were about getting help from someone with a business background. It didn’t take long for me to settle in, and the whole experience instantly became rewarding.

I learnt how to communicate effectively and work as a team with people from diverse backgrounds. My confidence grew working and making decisions at a board level. As a bonus, I made some great friends, and of course learnt a lot about contemporary art.  While my skills set and experience seemed different from the cultural team around me, I soon realised they were transferrable and valuable to them. 

Eventually Q Arts, the Metro Cinema and Derby City Council joined forces to create QUAD, a visual arts and media centre in the heart of Derby – and I was pleased to be one of the founding board members, and I remained there for four years and left after I had helped install a new board.

That was a busy period and I needed to give more of my time to the project - however the personal learning and development I received from creating a new organisation and a new building could not have been gained at Rolls-Royce. It helped me attain with great success many of the Rolls-Royce core competencies including courage, common sense, influence and teamwork and my executive decision making skills.   

Seeing QUAD open and become everything the team imagined it could be - and worked and fought so hard for - was a reward you simply cannot buy." 

Kevin Malpass

Kevin Malpass, Rolls-Royce Plc, has been a trustee with an arts organisations for over a decade and presently sits on the board of Wash Arts.

About Board Bank

Since 1988, Arts & Business has connected more than 5,000 professionals from companies such as Deutsche Bank, BP, National Australia Bank Group, Mixcloud, Accenture, Number 10 Downing St, BAE Systems, Coutts, Rolls-Royce, The Mayor’s Office, PwC, Sky Arts and Investec with organisations such as, Battersea Arts Centre, LUX, Turner Contemporary, War Child, Urban Development, Henri Oguike Dance Company, Philharmonia Orchestra, The Almeida, Whitechapel Gallery, Hackney Empire and Clean Break among many others. 

For details of our Board Bank and Young Professionals on Arts Boards programmes contact or (for South West queries)


Lead image courtesy