Amanda Berry
This month's guest editor is a real treat: chief executive of BAFTA Amanda Berry on what she loves about the area she's worked in for two decades.

Amanda Berry, OBE

Commuting into the heart of St James’s has always been a pleasure for me.  The streets were much quieter when I started working here two decades ago, but over the years St James’s has become a vibrant, bustling area in and around my regular stomping ground. With an eclectic mix of pedestrians, tourists, creatives and business people, and with the arrival of the shops and restaurants of St James’s Market, the area feels as though it is fulfilling its potential.  It’s a part of London I’ve come to know and love.

195 Piccadilly is the international home of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a stone’s throw from other great British institutions such as the Royal Academy and Fortnum & Mason. While a core team runs BAFTA’s corporate events and our members’ club at 195 Piccadilly, our administrative offices are a short, five-minute walk away, along a side street off historic Haymarket. Here I am lucky enough to have an office with a view of Nelson’s Column, the Shard and the London Eye, peeking out above the rooftops.

Connecting Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly is one of London’s most well-known streets, housing some of my favourite London landmarks. Towards Green Park is one of my favourite restaurants, The Wolseley. I love its grand, European style and incredibly welcoming environment. Each and every visit is a real pleasure. By contrast, the Royal Academy is a place to escape, to learn and be inspired, whilst Fortnum & Mason is somewhere that feels so very special every time I walk through its doors.

We are very proud to call 195 Piccadilly our home. This unique building was originally the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and we benefit enormously from its stunning gallery-style architecture. It was a donation from Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh that first allowed BAFTA to make 195 Piccadilly its home.

On a daily basis, we welcome the public to inspiring events and masterclasses, while our members’ bar bustles with people sharing insights and expertise, mentoring promising new talent, striking deals and discussing their peers’ work as part of our awards voting process.

As a British organisation with a global outlook, BAFTA feels very much at home in St James’s and, as the scope of the charity continues to grow, we have ambitious plans to redevelop our headquarters into an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for film, television and games.  These changes will allow us to continue to nurture and develop the next generation of talent, both in front of and behind the camera, in ways only BAFTA can, as well as making our building and activity accessible to the public in ever greater numbers.

We look forward to being here, in St James’s, making a great impact on the artforms of the moving image, for many years to come.