One week on from the contentious vote to leave the European Union, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has appointed a deputy to take charge of the culture and creative industries – two sectors that have become increasingly worried about what the future holds for them if, and when, Britain leaves the EU.
Justine Simons has taken on the role of reassuring them. She has spent more than 14 years at City Hall, founded the World Cities Cultural Forum and has received an OBE for contributions to culture in the capital.
"In the fallout from the EU referendum, our city's cultural wellbeing has never been so important, especially through its power to bring communities together, and to ensure our ongoing status as a globally attractive destination for business," said Khan.
The Mayor described Simons as a “tour-de-force in London’s cultural scene” and was confident in her ability to deliver against his “ambitious programme at such a critical time.”
Agencies within the creative sector, which have long relied on talent from overseas, have been particularly concerned with what the vote to leave the EU will mean for businesses.
In an apparent attempt to ease those concerns Simons said it was vital to “maintain the flow of ideas and creative talent and shore up our cultural economy.”
“It is now more urgent than ever to unlock the potential of culture to build bridges and bring people and communities together,” she added.
“I’m thrilled to be given the chance to deliver Sadiq’s ambitious cultural vision and secure London’s future as a global role model.”