Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp

Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, FRSA
Director, The Africa Centre
Kenneth is a key figure in the UK arts and culture scene with over 35 years professional experience. He began his career as a dancer, performing with the internationally-acclaimed London Contemporary Dance Theatre and other leading companies during a 25-year career as a performer, choreographer, teacher and director.
From 2007 to 2016, he was Chief Executive of The Place, the UK’s leading centre for contemporary dance development. From May 2018 to September 2020 he was Director of The Africa Centre in its new home in Southwark, London.
He is a devoted champion of the arts, cultural learning, creativity and inclusivity, and a frequent keynote speaker. He is a regular contributor to Speakers for Schools.
His service on Boards has included the Royal Opera House and Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund. He is a Patron of Akademi, The Place; a Trustee of New Adventures, Chineke! Orchestra, and a School Governor. In 2018 joined the British Council’s Arts and Creative Enterprise Advisory Group.
In 2003 Kenneth was made an OBE in recognition of his services to dance, and in June 2017 was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, also in recognition of his services to dance.

How the Fellowship impacted me

The Clore Leadership programme played a key role in my transition from being an artist to an arts manager. It has also played a valuable role in linking me to broader networks within the creative and cultural sector.

How I am using my skills for change

The long-lasting value of the Clore Leadership Programme exoerience, has been a constant reminder that there is no one style of leadership, and that a good leader empowers others. Being true to your values and adopting an authentic leadership style remain paramount.