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- Kitty Wright to leave The Bronte Society

Executive Director to leave on 31 March to resume freelance career
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Executive Director of The Brontë Society, Kitty Wright, is to leave The Brontë Society on 31 March to resume her freelance career.

Kitty joined the Society in May 2016, at the start of five years of commemorations of the bicentenaries of the births of the famous Brontë siblings.

Her brief was to capitalise on the opportunities the bicentenaries presented, modernise the organisation, make it more externally facing, customer-focussed and conscious of its role as a charity for public benefit.  She was also charged with professionalising and aligning the various activities of the Brontë Parsonage Museum; lifting the organisation’s strategic and programming ambitions; and developing new strategic and delivery partnerships to link the organisation to cultural and strategic networks and make it part of “something bigger”.  Additionally, her brief was to improve the organisation’s fundraising prospects and expertise, find new forms of support, and increase the diversity of people we worked with in the museum programme, and the diversity of audiences.

“When I was offered the job, I was thrilled; who wouldn’t want to work for and lead a world-famous organisation with such a rich heritage”, said Kitty Wright.  “I knew the museum had a fabulous team to work with, and the board was committed to developing the organisation’s extraordinary potential.  It was a privilege to be entrusted with it.”

“One of the things that particularly excited me was the complexity of the organisation:  it was a literary society; a world-class museum; a major tourist attraction in glorious Yorkshire, with a retail outlet; it was an arts and cultural organisation with a contemporary art and events programme; and it was a registered charity, with a mandate for public benefit and enormous potential for development.”

“After nearly four years with this fabulous organisation, having achieved many of the things I was asked to do, and wanted to do, I think it is now time for me to make way for someone else to take the Society into its post-bicentennial phase, and build on the work that I, the Board and the amazing Bronte Parsonage Museum team have done over the past few years.”
Kitty Wright’s key achievements include shaping a strategic vision for the Society and museum that enabled the Arts Council to admit it as a National Portfolio Organisation in 2018; developing a fundraising strategy that is now attracting grants from blue-chip funders such as the Foyle Foundation and Garfield Weston to support our learning and outreach programmes, and supporting the board in improving and strengthening our governance. 

She also reached agreement with The Brontë Spirit for the long-term rental of a space in Haworth’s Old School Room, to enable the development of our learning programme, and returning educational activities to the space for which Patrick Brontë had it built.

She has created a more customer-focused culture in the front-of-house museum team, restructured for more robust and sustainable management, and modernised the Society’s HR policies and practices and approach to staff development.
During Kitty’s time at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, she has ensured that the Museum’s programming is more diverse. We are working with more diverse artists, creating space for more diverse works, and we are aiming to reach more diverse audiences and conduct outreach programmes with communities who would not otherwise perhaps think that the Brontës or the museum had much to offer them.

She has also inculcated a more rigorous culture of evaluation and review within the Society and the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and using evaluation to inform programme planning and strategic development. 
Her most recent accomplishment was to lead the successful bid to secure one of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘little books’ at auction last November, and bring it home to Haworth. 

Trish Gurney, Chair of the Brontë Society Board of Trustees said: “We are hugely indebted to Kitty for the professionalism, skill and vision she has brought to the organisation. We are now a more proficient, well connected, diverse and ambitious organisation. The board and staff team have benefited enormously from Kitty’s experience, and the infectious excitement and indefatigable energy she has brought to her role. 

 “As the Society enters its final bicentennial year, having achieved all she was tasked with, and more, and with the little book safely home in Haworth, Kitty feels it is now time for to return to her freelance career, find fresh challenges, and pick up the many personal projects – including writing a book – that have been on hold as she dedicated herself to the growth of The Brontë Society and the Brontë Parsonage Museum. 

“We are sorry she is leaving us.  Kitty has set the bar high for her successor, and we will miss her energy and commitment and wish her all the very best as she applies her considerable talents to her new challenges.”
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