Jim Ainslie, Trustee
Former Councillor, Hartlepool Borough Council
What interests and excites you about Tees Valley Arts?
I get excited and am intrigued by how the arts are used to involve the whole of our community – local residents and newcomers alike.
What do you love about Teesside?
It is home, a haven that each day offers me sea, sand and wonderful sunrises (occasionally!), alongside magnificent countryside offering so many places to wander and inspire.
When you were a child what did you want to be?
All I ever did as a child was kick a football about, be it on the Town Moor, the beach, the back garden or just in the street – always dreaming of playing for Sunderland one day. However, I spent my adult life chasing an oval shaped ball about a very different field.
What is your earliest memory?
Drinking ‘saucered and blowed’ tea on granda Pop’s knee – just thinking about it I can taste the sweetness of the condensed milk.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t treasure possessions; I’m too busy treasuring the people I care about.
What is the worst job you’ve ever done?
I was briefly a ‘dipper lad’, a role which entailed taking the temperature of molten metal in furnaces on the steel plant at South Durham Steel and Iron Company, Hartlepool.
What has been your biggest disappointment in life?
Looking back I wish I had taken more advantage of the education my school years afforded me.
Who is your favourite artist (any artform)?
Alan Bennett – the funniest and most evocative playwright. He is a compassionate and humane man with an incredible ability to show us ordinary events in a very extraordinary way.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never make promises you cannot keep.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
Aung San Suu Kyi – One of the bravest people who ever lived. She has gone through her ordeals with the kind of humanity and care for her fellow human beings that could teach us all how to live in harmony in this troubled world.
If resources were no object, what project or activity would you most like to see Tees Valley Arts undertake?
I would love to see TVA at the forefront, using the Arts to promote equality and unity throughout the newly formed Tees Valley Combined Authority.