For more than 25 years, John Tusa has held senior positions in the worlds of arts and journalism – as Managing Director, BBC World Service from 1986-92 and as Managing Director, Barbican Centre from 1995-2007. Over those years he sat on the boards of the National Portrait Gallery, English National Opera, the Turquoise Mountain Foundation and the British Museum. He chaired the Wigmore Hall Trust, the Advisory Committee to the Government Art Collection and – from 2007-13 – the Court of Governors of University of the Arts London. He was Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme from 2009-14.
Before moving into management, John Tusa was an award winning
TV and radio BBC journalist, presenting BBC Radio’s The World Tonight from 19790-1980, ”24 Hours” on BBC World Service. He interviewed 55 leading figures in the arts for BBC Radio 3 from 1990 onwards and has presented numerous documentary features. He was a founder presenter of BBC 2’s “Newsnight” from 1980-86 and won several tv awards for his work as journalist and presenter. He started BBC2’s “Timewatch” history programme in 1983. He is a regular contributor to Radio 4 ‘s arts review programme.
His previous books include two from his years as head of the BBC World Service – “Conversations with the World” and “A World in Your Ear” – two based on his long running series of BBC Radio Three interviews with leading artists – “On Creativity” and “The Janus Aspect: Artists in the C21”. He has written three books on arts policy, arts administration and arts leadership - “Art Matters” and” Engaged with the Arts”, and most recently “Pain in the Arts”. In 2018, he published his memoirs, “Making a Noise -Getting It Right, Getting it Wrong in Life, the Arts and Broadcasting”. His latest book is “On Board: the Insider's Guide to Surviving Life in the Boardroom”.
John Tusa is married to the historian Ann Tusa; they have two sons, five grandchildren and live in London. He was knighted in 2003.