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Flora Nedelcu Smith

Flora Nedelcu Smith

UK, 2003

Graduated in Politics & Modern History from Manchester, lived in Russia (still can't speak the language) and then, moving back to the UK in 1997, joined a small opera company as Executive Producer. Together with the Artistic Director and Music Director eventually moved the company to Wilton's Music Hall, saving it from destruction in the process. Major productions included building a 50 strong South African cast and touring with Mysteries, and Carmen. After 6 years with the theatre, joined the fundraising arm of the V&A museum for a couple of years at the invitation of BAP Fellow John McCaffrey before finally leaving London for Kent/Sussex and joining the family enterprise, one of the great independent photograph libraries, TopFoto, which I took over fully in September 2016. To take on our 45 year old family business and rebuild it is thrilling and scary and rewarding in turns and usually all at the same time. My mantra is mostly "don't panic, give credit, the staff know more than I do" and that seems to work. Greatest tasks and treasures include that we hold the 1950s photography of film director Ken Russell, plus Punch magazine, and many of the great news and "every day life" negative archives from the 1920s onwards - the digitisation of which will probably last my entire lifetime. To balance things out, I founded and lead a tiny folk music band (Edgelanders) and occasionally co-produce or appear in my theatre director husband's plays, time allowing. Really delighted to be working with Bela and the rest of the Executive Committee, and organising London Salon Dinners and the new annual Creative Retreat in Kent.