Associate director for innovation in art and design, Birmingham City University
John is Chief Operating Officer of The Space, a Community Interest Company founded by Arts Council England and the BBC. The Space provides funding and training to enable UK arts and cultural organisations to make great art and reach new audiences using digital media, content and platforms. Since its launch, it has commissioned and supported the delivery of more than 150 digital cultural projects. John is co-author of Arts Council England’s digital policy and planning guidelines and is an advisor on a number of policy initiatives in the DCMS’ Culture is Digital project.
Prior to his role at The Space, John was managing director of Amuzo, a BAFTA-nominated, award-winning games agency. He oversaw the production of games for clients including LEGO, CBBC, Disney, GMTV and Warner Bros, which collectively achieved more than 700 million game plays as well as #1 rankings in the Apple app store in 117 countries.
Linda Spurdle leads on digital strategy, digital engagement and ICT across Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT). She is responsible for the strategic development of BMT's website, social media presence, and other digital experiences. She is also spearheading the digital transformation of the organisation with her combined role leading on Digital Media and ICT.
Linda is particularly interested in digital engagement, partnerships and creativity. This year BMT has released images of its out of copyright collections into the public domain and are running Digital remix events to introduce audiences to the idea of accessing and creatively using our digital assets, whether by community projects, HE/FE, SMEs or for individual use. The Remix events will help to kick start and incubate ideas and increase partnerships and collaboration, and make the concept of accessing BMT’s collections and using their digital assets more widely known.
Katie is an experienced consultant, trainer and digital strategist who has been providing training and consultancy support for over 18 years, now with The Audience Agency and prior to that, as an independent consultant. Katie’s specialisms include digital strategy, online community building, audience development, digital marketing and analytics.
A frequent speaker at events & conferences, mostly recently Katie travelled to Peru and Chile for the British Council to deliver a series of talks and workshops for the museums sector on effective approaches to digital audience development. She is contributor to the 'Manual of Digital Museum Planning' published by Rowman & Littlefield, has written for numerous tech blogs and is a Board Trustee of digital pioneers Abandon Normal Devices. Katie writes a popular fortnightly newsletter, Digital Snapshot, a fortnightly round-up of all the news, innovation and interesting ideas in the world of digital, as relevant to the arts, culture, museums and heritage sectors.
Sarah is co-founder and Managing Partner of Indigo, a leading UK-based consultancy for arts and cultural organisations.
She has twenty-five years of fundraising, marketing and communications experience with arts, heritage and other charitable organisations. Current clients include Shakespeare Schools Foundation, English Folk Dance and Song Society, Talawa, MAC Birmingham, Mercury Theatre Colchester, Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, London Sinfonietta, Open Theatre Company, and Grand Union.
Alongside her consultancy helping charities to create robust income and impact strategies, she has led training across Europe, Japan and the Middle East for organisations such as the BBC, European Broadcasting Union and British Council.
Sarah is a trustee of the Royal Philharmonic Society, National Campaign for the Arts, Flatpack, The Stringcredibles, and Motionhouse Dance Theatre, and a former trustee of Spitalfields Music and the BBC Performing Arts Fund. She is a Fellow of the British-American Project and the Royal Society for the Arts, and a Member of the Institute of Directors.
Chris is the founder of a digital analytics and user research consultancy called One Further. He works with cultural organisations that want to gain a better understanding of their online audiences and how best to serve them.
Current clients include the Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Academy of Arts, and Shakespeare’s Globe. Chris also sits on the board of the Hackney Empire.
Robert Sharl is Associate Director for Innovation in Art & Design at Birmingham
City University, lecturing on design thinking, UX, and technology in the UK, Hong
Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia.
Since the 1990s he has worked at the
intersection of computing, design, and human interface, and helped develop
some of Birmingham’s earliest online communities of artists, entrepreneurs, and
citizens. Robert is currently working around notions of design as a science, and
developing transdisciplinary models for design innovation.
Birmingham-based music and media professional Lyle Bignon has been working in international, national and regional creative industries PR specialising in music, as well as music journalism, music industry academia and creative industries consultancy, for over a decade.
His current and previous clients include Barbican Centre, BBC Music, Birmingham City University, Birmingham School of Media, British and Irish Modern Music Institute, Celebrating Sanctuary, Eventbrite, Home of Metal, Juice Aleem, Leftfoot Venues, Lunar Festival, Metro, Metropolis Studios, Moseley Folk Festival, Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival Surge in Spring Festival, Pivotal Music Conference, The Rainbow Venues, The 405, Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham, and Tunecore.
A keen connector and supporter of all things creative in Birmingham and the Midlands, Lyle is the lead for a new industry body championing independent music in the city, Birmingham Music Coalition, and is always keen to hear about new and exciting developments bringing together music, technology and media in the region.
Larry oversees operations at Holosphere VR, a virtual reality studio based in Birmingham that crafts world-class immersive experiences that make a positive impact. Larry has worked on an array of award-winning projects for a variety of digital agencies and big tech businesses. With 10 years of background in User Experience (UX), digital marketing and online creative media, he guides teams to ensure consistently high quality, engaging solutions.
Sarah Farmer is a West Midlands based artist and musician mostly working with sound and violins. A poor woman's scientist and crafts person, taking an interest in questions of science and and technology and exploring them through hands on endeavours of making and sharing, through a medium of sound, D.I.Y, found materials, wood and strings and the odd bit of electronics.
Interested in site specific work, relational work, work that involves a lot of learning and researching - both receiving and sharing information, working in a way that facilitates learning about this stuff of life, our environments, our histories and possible futures, our materials and how we've gone about navigating these constant questions.
Annie Mahtani is an electroacoustic composer, sound artist and performer working and living in Birmingham, UK. After completing her doctoral studies in composition in 2008 she has worked as a freelance composer, performer, curator and educator.
Her work encompasses electronic music composition from acousmatic music to free improvisation. As a collaborator, Annie has worked extensively with dance, theatre and on site-specific installations. With a strong interest in field recording, Annie’s work often explores the inherent sonic nature and identity of environmental sound, amplifying sonic characteristics that are not normally audible to the naked ear. Her music explores abstract and recognisable sound worlds and all the spaces in between. With a preoccupation with space, Annie works extensively with multichannel audio both in concert pieces and in live performance.
Annie is a Lecturer in Music at The University of Birmingham. She is co-director of SOUNDkitchen, a Birmingham based collective of curators, producers and performers of live electronic music and sound art.
Tim founded backface on the back of his passion for digital innovation back in 2015, developing one of the UK’s largest photogrammetry rigs specialising in 3D scanning to 3D print. Backface and Tim have worked on projects with Viacom, Paramount Pictures, the National Trust along with many independent artists, game developers and businesses across the UK.
Sam Underwood is a musician and musical instrument designer. His work in musical instrument design focusses on the development of new musical instruments, creating fresh interfaces with sound for both performer and audience. His installation work has appeared as part of major exhibitions throughout the UK and his instruments are played across the world by musicians and composers who have commissioned designs. He also performs live electronic music – mainly on acoustic instruments – and drone, doom music on tuba.
Craig Hamilton is a Research Fellow in Birmingham City University’s School of Media. His research is built around Harkive (www.harkive.org), and comprises experimental methodological approaches derived from the use of data collection and machine-learning algorithms. Craig is also the co-Managing Editor of Riffs: Experimental Writing on Popular Music (www.riffsjournal.org). He has over 20 years experience in various areas of the music industries and continues to this day as a musician with Independent Country and in record label operations with Static Caravan Recordings.
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).
Siddharth Khajuria is a senior producer at the Barbican Centre, where he jointly manages the Barbican Incubator — a small policy, strategy, and programming team formed by the arts centre in 2016. His current responsibilities include the new ‘Level G’ Programme of installations, residencies and events for the Barbican’s public spaces; commissioning and producing digital arts + tech projects; digital strategy; and development of new models for cross-disciplinary programming. Prior to his current role, he was the Centre’s digital producer and before joining the Barbican, he was a producer at the BBC.
Hardeep is a much respected and award winning broadcaster, comedian, writer and chef. He sits on the Board of the National Theatre of Scotland and can be heard on BBC Radio 4, hosting shows such as Sketchtopia, Hardeep's Sunday Lunch and Pick Of The Week.
Hardeep has also regularly fronted programmes for BBC Radio 2, BBC World Service and BBC Asian Network. He was a presenter for TalkRadio in the UK and was an interviewer on BBC1's Sunday Morning Live conducting interviews with Maureen Lipman, Nigel Benn and Lord Putnam amongst others. He is a regular on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff as both a panelist and guest host. Hardeep is also an experienced comedian who tours the country and sells out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Catherine led the creation of two of the BBC's first VR experiences and now curates VR for the UK's leading arts venues with her company, Limina Immersive. Limina provide cultural venues with curated VR content and the software to exhibit it to the public. The company’s goal is to make immersive media more accessible by widening participation in the emerging sector.
As a VR industry leader, her work is known for bringing VR to broader audiences who wouldn't describe themselves as early adopters. She was part of the BAFTA’s VR advisory team, has judged VR for a range of international film festivals and has authored industry reports for public sector funding bodies. Catherine produced the BBC’s first commissioned VR documentary, the award-winning Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, which has toured festivals globally, showed for six weeks at the National Theatre in London and was described by Broadcast Magazine as 'genre-defining'. Before VR, Catherine worked at the educational app publisher, Touch Press; winning a BAFTA on the Disney Animated app, with Disney Interactive.
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.