Davina Mallinckrodt appointed Chair of Cockpit


Cockpit is thrilled to announce the appointment of Davina Mallinckrodt as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Davina has been confirmed in the role on 8th April 2021, following her appointment as Chair-Elect in December 2020. She succeeds Cornelius Medvei, who has held the post for the past nine years.

Davina joins Cockpit following a year in which our award-winning social enterprise and the UK’s leading craft incubator, has successfully supported its 150 strong maker community through the pandemic. In addition to the 40 young creative businesses receiving awards and bursary support, in 2020/21 Cockpit has provided substantially reduced rents to our makers at our two hubs in Deptford and Holborn, and successfully pivoted to digital delivery in promoting and supporting the makers and their work. On 2 April, Cockpit received government recognition for the importance of its essential work, with an award from the Culture Recovery Fund. The Cockpit Summer Festival in June/July will herald the reopening of the studios to public visitors.

Davina is a long-standing supporter of craft and makers through both her professional and philanthropic activities. She has built a notable collection of maker work, related to her interest in the significance of cultural intersectionality between design and craft and in supporting emerging creative talent. A professional interlocutor at the highest levels of the design world for many years, Davina works as a senior advisor and retained brand strategist and has collaborated with many of the most successful international design companies, designers and architects. She is the founder and CEO of marketing communications and public relations agency Cultural Agenda (formerly Weir Willats Associates) and holds a number of non-executive and trustee roles. She currently sits on the board of The Design Museum (where she Chairs the External Affairs Committee), is a founder Trustee and Vice Chair of the London School of Architecture and is an advisory board member of The Pitt River’s Museum in Oxford and long-standing supporter of social mobility charity, InTo University.

Davina Mallinckrodt: “It is hard to quantify the relevance and impact of Cockpit to the nurturing of craft makers and artists, and to the building of creative craft businesses in the UK. I am delighted to have been selected as the Chair of this innovative and visionary organisation. 

This past year has seen the cultural sector facing a crisis unlike any in a generation. Now, more than ever, there is a need to approach the future of craft with ambition, optimism and to provide much needed expertise, studio space and practical support to makers. In widening access to craft, supporting the creative community and enabling innovation Cockpit are not only developing a pool of creative talent, but also generating an ever-growing community of sustainable small businesses. These are essential as both a cultural heart and a key economic contributor to the country.

I relish this opportunity to be able to contribute to building on the great success that Cockpit has already forged and to working with the Board and with Annie (Warburton) and her team to enhance the impact of Cockpit, to support wider opportunities and to nurture an ever broader and inclusive community of creative talent.”

Annie Warburton, CEO at Cockpit: “Cockpit exists to launch and empower creative careers, to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity. This year that work has never felt more vital.  At this pivotal moment, we are fortunate to be welcoming Davina Mallinckrodt to Cockpit as our new Chair.  With a dynamic programme in the making, I am looking forward to working with Davina and our Board of twelve Trustees to shape an ambitious, thriving future for Cockpit.”

Cornelius Medvei: “It is with great pride that I’m handing over the Cockpit baton to Davina Mallinckrodt at such a pivotal point in its life. Davina has a long professional experience of design, craft and the culture sector. She brings to Cockpit a combination of business acumen, depth of experience of charity board governance, commitment to supporting new talent, and a rich understanding of the intersection of making, design, art and craft. Cockpit’s dedicated Board of Trustees are delighted to welcome her to the Cockpit family.” 


Photo: Davina Mallinckrodt by Bibi Basch