Director of The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation
Living in Colchester, Stephen had been previously aware of the Foundation (or Trust as it was then) and its work at the Minories and offered financial sponsorship when he was a sole practising solicitor. He initially became a trustee on the invitation of the then Chair John Woods, before more recently becoming a Director.
After a career in the performing arts, ballet choreography and direction, Stephen qualified as a Solicitor in 1984 and ran his own practice for 10 years before joining Ellisons Solicitors to head the Property department. He is also the secretary of Colchester Arts Centre and a Director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust.
Stephen’s role at The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation includes general support with business and creative input.
When Stephen joined The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation, it was essentially the a landlord of an important listed building, The Minories. It did not have, and still does not have, any resources apart from the input of the Directors. Stephen therefore enjoys refocusing attention onto the Collection and the creative input required to achieve a greater awareness of it and to create more resources for The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation.
Included in the challenges that he faces through his work at The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation are: raising awareness of the VBLF Collection and finding the means to achieve a firm financial base. Also, gathering works from contemporary local artists to complement the works already in the Collection at minimum expense.
Stephen finds it hard to choose a favourite piece from the collection, saying “It seems to be whichever work I am looking at the time!”
The aspect of The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation that he considers to be special is that there are very few collections in the country that focus on local and regional artists in the way The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation does. Additionally, there even fewer that own such a magnificent building as The Minories.