Gabrielle Jenks is an artistic director and curator whose major contributions are in the converging areas of cinema, visual arts and creative technology. She currently holds the position of Digital Director at Manchester International Festival, the world’s first festival of original, new work.
She has a keen interest in new cinematic practices and over 15 years has worked with numerous artists and designers in conceptualizing projects including the Yes Men, Pipilotti Rist, Gillian Wearing and Rafael Lozano Hemmer. Previously, Gabrielle was Director of Abandon Normal Devices and sits on advisory boards for the BFI and the Venice Architecture Biennale.
Sarah has worked in digital marketing for 8 years and currently leads on the digital content strategy at HOME, Manchester’s centre for contemporary theatre, film and art.
Managing the HOME website, social media platforms and digital content, Sarah is interested in making playful content that engages audiences.
Louise Hargreaves is a Producer for Abandon Normal Devices (AND), a nomadic commissioner and born-digital producer. AND’s portfolio includes a roaming biennial, which takes place in a new location every two years and an annual commissioning programme, which can take the form of public art, site specific film happenings and cross platform productions. As a freelance producer Louise has worked on projects for Liverpool Biennial, a-n, the BBC, Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art and the National Trust. Louise has worked as a Producer for AND since 2013 including as Festival Producer in 2017.
An executive and board-level advisor, Patrick is Executive Director of Golant Media Ventures, an innovation agency for the creative, cultural, public and third sectors – which has been the enterprise arm of The Audience Agency since 2018, for whom he is Innovation Director.
He is global policy research fellow at the Rio-based thinktank, the Institute of Technology & Society – investigating how innovations can be shared between different sectors and barriers to this.
He is directing Innovate UK funded design foundations projects: on immersive media in co-designing futures of public spaces; and with Central St Martin’s on 3D imaging in fashion, culture and heritage.
He is working on future digital strategies for the Creative People and Places programme; digital maturity models and tools for the UK’s arts, culture and heritage sectors. He co-authored the Nesta/Arts Council Wales evidence review of the successful adoption of digital technologies in the arts.
He co-authored What is resilience, anyway? the largest evidence-based review of this topic in the arts and cultural sector and is leading work for The National Lottery Heritage Fund (HLF) on extending this to heritage. He’s a resilience advisor for Arts Council Wales and the equivalent to Arts Council England.
Luke is the producer for Javaad Alipoor, and also an independent creative producer who works with artists and organisations that challenge and excite their audiences and who aren’t afraid to ask difficult questions. He works on stages, streets and screens, wherever art can happen.
Luke has produced a host of award-winning shows, most recently The Believers Are But Brothers – winner of a Scotsman Fringe First, the Columbia University Digitial Storytelling award and nominated for the 2018 Stage Award for Innovation. The show is in its 3rd year of touring around the world. Javaad and Luke are currently working on the next production for the company, which will premiere at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. Luke is the producer of Connected Futures, a showcase of 5G technology in the West of England.
He has lectured on producing, sustainable working practices and project management for the University of West England, University of Bristol, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Norwich University of the Arts, Derby University. He produced the Arts Council Ambition for Excellence project, Sanctum. It was a 24 hour, 24 days, non-stop musical performance by Situations, MAYK and Theaster Gates. Luke is a resident of the Pervasive Media Studio and a member of the Creative Producers International cohort.
Lesley Taker is a Liverpool-based arts producer, curator and writer. She is interested in the ways in which technology is changing contemporary art practice and discourse, and in artworks which deal with fluid identities, shifting truths, or unstable narratives.
She is Producer / Curator at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), where she works with both emergent and established international artists across major and pop-up exhibitions, Public Programmes and Artist Residencies. Here she has developed new work and presentations with artists such as Shona Illingworth; Cécile B. Evans; LaBeouf, Ronkko & Turner; Ryoichi Kurokawa; Soda_Jerk; and Morehshin Allahyari. Her writing has appeared in several major publications affiliated with FACT, as well as local and national arts press.
Robin Bargar has a creative and research background in computer music, digital media and software development, with a focus on systems integration and interaction design for creative applications. In 2016 Robin joined University of Salford as founding Director of the Studio for International Media and Technology at MediaCityUK, and Professor in Arts and Media and Computing Sciences and Engineering. From 2011 to 2015 Robin was Dean of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago. From 2004 to 2010 Robin was Dean of the School of Technology and Design at the City University of New York.
Trained as a composer and filmmaker, Robin received a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, specializing in computer music with related studies in computer graphics and computer science. He was a lecturer in the School of Music and a researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. From 1992-2000 he led a research group for software development and media prototyping for the CAVE virtual environment, applying simulation and data visualization. Robin holds two US Patents and received an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film (Animated).
Sarah is a freelance distribution consultant with a background in marketing and development for arts and third sector organisations. She is Head of Distribution at The Space, where her projects have featured on the BBC, Channel 4, Sky Arts, The Guardian and Buzzfeed.
Recent projects include Antarctica: The First Dance (Corey Baker Dance), Golem (1927 Company), Unspoken Spoken (Candoco), A Christmas Carol (Assembly), Atomos (Studio Wayne McGregor) and Rumpelstiltskin (balletLORENT).
Sarah is a Senior Producer working across a range of arts, digital, interactive and immersive projects. Sarah specialises in developing projects that lie at the intersection between art, design and technology. Her experience spans over ten years of producing ambitious interactive content, experiences, installations and large-scale public arts content across spaces and platforms. Formerly Executive Producer for The Space, Digital Producer for Southbank Centre and Tate.
She has also worked with a range of Arts & Cultural organisations like Tate, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre FACT, Abandon Normal Devices and Metal. She has also worked across different areas of digital production, starting her career in Photography and working independently as Producer creative studios and a range of different partners including the Google, Open Data Institute and Nissan. She continues to be intrigued by how people engage and interact with arts, media and technologies and loves working on projects that bring different artists, creative disciplines and technologies together.
Lara is a freelance cultural consultant specialising in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration and cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sector. She develops and delivers projects and policy on how cultural and digital technology intersect for a number of national partners as well as programmes around leadership, resilience and business development for the arts and creative industries. She works with STEAMhouse at Birmingham City University and a is currently delivering and developing cross sector projects with private, public, HE and other education partners.
With Helga Henry, she co-produced RE:Present and ASTONish; leadership development programmes which supported the development of cultural leaders from diverse backgrounds so that the cultural ecology of the city better reflects its changing demographic. Funding partners were Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.
She was also Programme Director on Creative Warwickshire a programme for creative and digital freelancers and businesses.
She was also a broker on the AHRC Funded CATH Project (Collaborative Triple Helix) which developed 19 collaborative projects across the East and West Midlands with academics from the both Birmingham and Leicester Universities, cultural organisations and digital SMEs. The research project led to long term collaborative working and investment. She subsequently became Senior Research Facilitator leveraging investment for further knowledge transfer and research collaborations between academics, cultural organisations and artists across the sector.
Lara has also developed, managed and delivered successful ERDF, ESF, ACE and other funded and non-funded programmes and projects cross sectors. Is well respected as a key influencer in the development of sector policy.
She is on the board of Stan’s Cafe.
In August 2013 Chris established Polaroids and Polar Bears, a culture guide for West-Midlands featuring the latest news on dance, theatre, visual arts and music. As part of this role, he has delivered various workshops on audience development and engagement for cultural organisations, artists and startups.
In addition to Polaroids and Polar Bears, Chris is also an account manager at leading technical and technology PR agency, Stone Junction a progressive, Stafford based, PR consultancy providing technical PR services to the engineering technology, technology and B2B sectors.
Over the course of his PR career Chris has worked with clients such as LOCOG, Birmingham Hippodrome, Library of Birmingham, Chinese Cultural Administration, Visit Denmark, Birmingham City Council and Colmore Business District.
Dan works with destinations in the UK and abroad, helping them to plan, measure, and optimise digital engagement with the cultural and visitor offers. His approach centres on basic questions of engagement: How do brands reach people and attract them to websites or other assets? How do they involve users and motivate them to transact? How do they extend engagement by driving retention and referral? Dan helps destinations to measure audience behaviour, then to translate data into insight, action, and strategic development.
James is a technologist, artist, musician, educator, and more, based in Manchester, UK. He likes to think his work comprises of entertainment, accessibility, and whimsy.
James likes to make physical and digital things, for both fun and functionality. In the past he's made sculptures that respond to humans, built tools and toys for my home, and transferred electronic circuits to canvas.
Lucy Dusgate produces the digital art programme for The Lowry, and is a freelance Creative Producer of cultural events and exhibitions. From 2012 until early 2019 she was Producer of the public realm cultural programme Quays Culture at Salford Quays/ MediaCityUK. Her experience includes new commissions and presentations across galleries, theatres, cinema and public spaces in the buildings and outdoor locations. She is experienced in working across performance, dance, digital art, music and visual art for venues, festivals, corporate partners and the public sector. Her work ranges from the intimate to the monumental, acting as a series of interventions and invitations to the public. She produces and curates local to international artistic talent in performance, visual arts and combined arts, as well as commissions that are site specific to unusual locations. Artists using technology in their practice are her specific specialism, as well as a broad knowledge in art programming for theatre, galleries, festivals and events.
Examples of her productions include the exhibition ‘Right Here Right Now’, the exhibition ‘humansbeingdigital’, the Lyric theatre Week53 commission ‘IRIS’ by Marshmallow Laser Feast, outdoor stage performances by Motionhouse, six years as producer of Quays Culture which includes the annual Lightwaves Festival, Week 53 Festival commission ’30 Days of the Smiths’ by international author Jackie Kay, and theatre performance programming of talent such as Dasha Rush, Scanner, Herman Kolgen, Kurt d’Haeseleer and Shiva Feshareki.
Lucy has previously worked across the cultural sector including: Arts Council England, The Royal Court Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art, Battersea Arts Centre, Picturehouse Cinemas, Community Arts Northwest, Lime Arts in Health and Lumen Arts.
Matt Fenton is Artistic Director/Chief Executive at Contact in Manchester, the leading UK arts venue to place young people at the decision-making heart of the organisation. Matt leads on Contact’s innovative public programme of contemporary theatre, dance, spoken word, music and cabaret for young and highly diverse audiences.
Each year Contact delivers a wealth of young people’s creative and leadership activity, including flagship projects The Agency, Re:Con young programmers/producers, and Future Fires, as well as the Queer Contact, Flying Solo and Contacting the World Festivals. Recent Contact co-productions include No Guts No Heart No Glory by CommonWealth, RITES by Yusra Warsama and Cora Bissett, Big Girl’s Blouse by Kate O’Donnell; Dancing Bear by Jamie Fletcher; Not In My Honour by Aisha Zia; Handlooms by Rani Moorthy; and I Told My Mum I Was Going On An RE Trip (Contact and 20 Stories High, for stage and BBC2 broadcast).
As a theatre director, Matt worked most recently with KunstZ (Belgium) and Contact Young Company on Imitation Games; on Contact produced Climate of Fear; Water Seeds Not Stones by Elmi Ali, and with Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) on the chamber opera In May.
The bedrock of Manchester-based Director/Producer Jamie Starboisky’s multimedia work is his training in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Salford, leading him to an awareness of whose stories are not told. He has been working for years to signalboost marginalised stories: he founded the Queer Media Festival (2013), and the MobDoc LGBTQ+ mobile filmmaking workshop (2015). Queer Media Festival in Manchester, has been held five times; for the past three years it has been held at HOME, Manchester's £25 million pound combined arts centre and returned to the venue last November.
As a producer of LGBTQ+ digital projects, Jamie was mentored by Manchester International Festival in 2017 as part of their Creative 50 scheme which had 50 local emerging artists produce two digital responses to the work in their festival. Following Crossover Labs’ VR pitching workshop, he developed the idea for a queer virtual reality experience during an artist residency in January 2017 at the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio with guidance of Head of Digital Toby Coffey. Last summer Jamie toured his MobDoc LGBTQ+ mobile filmmaking workshop to Dublin and Cardiff where he and Deirdre Mulcahy from BBC Academy taught how to make a film on mobile phones to festival delegates funded by the British Council Ireland and Iris Prize.
A skilled leader of groups, event host -Hello Culture regular host - and speaker, Helga Henry is a specialist in bringing strategy to life by building communication skills and confidence.
Previously she was Director of Organisational Development at Birmingham Hippodrome, a role which focused on the organisation’s culture and leadership (especially its investment in staff, board and volunteers). Immediately prior to this role she was Lead Consultant at Creative Shift – a wholly owned subsidiary of the theatre which brought business skills to creatives and creativity to business.
Her perspective – as a former corporate solicitor at Wragge & Co (now Gowling WLG0with over 20 years’ experience in arts organisations nationally and internationally – combines commercial savvy, artistic vision and incisive observation. A former Clore fellow (2008-2010 NESTA supported fellow for Entrepreneurial Organisations), she now develops cultural leaders, most recently in partnership with Lara Ratnaraja on the highly acclaimed RE:Present and ASTONish programmes – Transforming the Diversity of Cultural Leadership (both funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England).
Ian Forrester is a well known and likable character on the digital scene in the UK. Living in Manchester, UK where he works for the BBC's R&D Future Experiences. He specialises in open innovation and new disruptive opportunities; by creating value via open engagement and collaborations with startups, universities, early adopters and hackers.
His current research is into the area of future narrative and storytelling, with a technology he calls Perceptive Media. Its a new approach to broadcasting; which pairs the best of broadcast with the best of internet technology; creating a experiences like sitting around a camp fire telling stories.