Liberty welcomes Akiko Hart as new Interim Director

Posted on 03 Apr 2023

Liberty is proud to announce Akiko Hart as its new Interim Director.

Akiko is currently CEO at the National Survivor User Network (NSUN), a mental health charity led by and for people with lived experience, which aims to shift power and resource in mental health.

Over the past three years as CEO of NSUN, Akiko has led the organisation through a period of growth and change. Her focus at NSUN has been on connecting, uplifting, and resourcing grassroots groups, and centring racial justice across all strands of the work.

Akiko has previously worked as the Director of Mental Health Europe, where she led on a human rights-based policy agenda and has managed a service for people who hear voices at Mind in Camden. She is a trustee and former Chair of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS) UK, and a Professor in Practice at the University of Durham, working alongside the Institute for Medical Humanities.

Akiko joins Liberty from 5 June as current Director, Martha Spurrier, takes parental leave. The interim role is scheduled to last up to twelve months.

Akiko Hart, incoming Interim Director, Liberty said: “I’m honoured to be joining Liberty at a critical time. We are facing a crisis of rights. We are also seeing people come together to campaign, dismantle oppressive structures, and build alternatives. Change is not only possible, it’s happening now. I am excited to play a part in this change through Liberty, and to connect with others doing this work.”

Tara Lai Quinlan, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Liberty said: “After a thorough recruitment process involving a record number of applicants, an extremely diverse pool, and a large number of very high calibre people, we are delighted to appoint Akiko Hart as Interim Director of Liberty.

“Akiko impressed everyone involved in the process with her commitment to Liberty’s values, her wisdom and kindness, her long history of centring grassroots groups and people with lived experience in her work, and her thoughtful vision for Liberty’s work across all its teams and functions.”

Martha Spurrier, Director, Liberty said: “Akiko brings a brilliant skill set, a wealth of experience, and an inspiring commitment to Liberty’s strategy and values. I know Liberty is going to benefit from her leadership and it’s brilliant to have such confidence in the person who will be taking over the helm as Interim Director, not just in Liberty’s campaigning and collaboration, but also when working with and supporting our wonderful staff team.

“I’ll be cheering both Akiko and Liberty on from the side lines and can’t wait to see the organisation’s progress under her excellent leadership.”

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