About the contributors

Holly Ball

Holly is the Head of Careers & Employability at Curious Minds, Arts Council England’s Bridge Organisation for the North West.  As a qualified Careers Advisor, Holly enjoys working with young people, employers and education providers to improve knowledge and understanding of careers across the creative and cultural sector.  Holly is also a Trustee for Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, a charitable trust and social enterprise dedicated to helping people and organisations to create better neighbourhoods, to build their skills and job prospects, and to live and work in a greener way.

Miranda Ballin

Miranda Lives in Rhondda Cynon Taff; she is the Artistic Director of Sparc, an exemplar youth arts project which is part of Valleys Kids. Sparc recently collaborated with Tate, Wales Millennium Centre, National Theatre Wales, Artes Mundi and Trivallis Social Housing. Her international work includes collaborations in Botswana, South Africa, New Zealand and Poland. Miranda is a writer, theatre director and previously a performer. She is a lecturer in applied drama at the University of South Wales. Miranda was the Arts Council of Wales, Clore Fellow 2014/15. She is the Chair of Youth Arts Network Cymru (YANC).

Jennifer Barrett

Jennifer Barrett, managing director of TICE will present an overview of TICE and its work within the regions’ secondary schools. It will showcase the opportunities, the experiences and the industry led projects young people have a chance to participate in. The presentation will showcase the TICE programme, it’s different levels and stages, the destinations young people have moved onto after completing this programme. It will focus on a recent project in collaboration with The Bowes Museum and Northumbria University Fashion department working with young people interested in future roles in fashion communication, fashion history and installation.

Alison Bowyer

Alison has been Executive Director of Kids in Museums since 2016 and led the organisation to become a Sector Support Organisation funded by Arts Council England last year. She has worked in the cultural sector for over 10 years with previous roles at LAMDA, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Southbank Centre and the Academy of Ancient Music.

Alison has a longstanding interest in museums and how people engage with heritage, having been a volunteer at Handel and Hendrix in London and completing degrees in Cultural Memory at the University of London and History at the University of Cambridge.

Jack Brown

Jack Brown is a multidisciplinary artist who has worked in education for over 15 years. During a breakout session Jack will share pertinent examples or his work including Units of Power for Children and the Arts, Encounters for Salford University and Problem Solver or Deptford X London. Brown works with other people, collaborates, teaches, leads public realm projects and facilitates artist’s networks. Interventions in the wider world, collaborations and manipulations; his practice can be seen as an investigation into ways of making and how those made objects or moments interact with the world around them.

Melanie Burgess

Area Manager (North of Tyne), Mel is Area Manager (North of Tyne) at Culture Bridge North East, where she co-ordinates the Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle Local Cultural Education Partnerships, and also leads the Artsmark programme across the North East. Mel began her career in museum education, before training and working as a primary teacher for four years. Now back in the cultural sector, she keeps one foot firmly in the education world by being lead arts governor at a primary school in North Tyneside. She was part of Engage’s Extend Leadership Programme 2018–19, and is a passionate advocate for arts opportunities for all.

Susan Coles

Susan Coles is a champion for arts education through her roles and work in schools, colleges, universities, in the north east, across the UK and abroad. She is a past president of NSEAD and current member of NSEAD Council, and represents Europe on the World Council of the International Society of Education through Art (UNESCO). She is an Associate of the Big Draw, Trustee of AccessArt, school governor, founder of the North East Art Teacher Educator Network, secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Art Craft Design Education. Primarily she is an art activist and is always an artist.

Ben Dickenson

Ben has been passionate about culture and social change since a taste of theatre transformed his life as a teenager. He trained at Rose Bruford College and received a Master’s in Film & Television from Westminster University. His career has taken in community arts, writing for stage and screen, filmmaking, teaching, and managing supported housing, youth citizenship and children and young people’s programmes. He has written two critically acclaimed books and produced a popular regional breakfast radio show. Since 2014 he has led literary development for Alphabetti Theatre and became Executive Producer for City of Dreams in 2017.

Rachel Dunlop

Rachel joined the Peak staff team as Participation Manager in March 2017 and is responsible for all participatory activity, including the studio programme at Peak and our Children and Young People’s programme both at the Peak venue and in the community. 

She has a BA and MA in Fine Art specialising in Painting from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and has managed various visual arts and socially-engaged projects throughout Mid-Wales. Rachel is the current Mid Wales Area rep. for Engage and one of four lead invigilators for Wales in Venice/Cymru yn Fenis at the Venice Biennale in 2019.

Jo Esposti

Jo started her career as a freelance Stage Manager before becoming the Senior Stage Management Tutor at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. After several years Jo moved back to her home country of Wales and started working for Wales Millennium Centre as Production Co-ordinator. Part of this job included working with the Technical Theatre apprentices. This passion for working with and training young people, and helping to start their careers, resulted in Jo taking up the role of Cultural Ambition Project Co-ordinator with Creative & Cultural Skills in April 2018. This is her proudest work to date.

Cheryl Gavin

Cheryl is a Senior Project Manager and Arts Award adviser at Helix Arts. Working in participatory arts over the last 15 years has led to wide-ranging experiences across many young people’s settings. Including YOIs, prisons, youth centres, CAMHS, SEN/D, schools and even army barracks. Previously she worked as a Development Officer at Arts Council England, then as Programme and Communications Director at an arts education agency. This followed into managing an arts on prescription service in County Durham, before her current role. Now co-producing with children, young people and their families is central to her Make it Happen programme.

Nicole Heidtke

TALC is a Creative Arts, Technology and Education organisation, bringing artists, equipment and skills to partners and schools, delivering regular workshops in the rural West of Scotland. The programme is led by professional digital & analogue artists with local young people. TALC offers paid opportunities for young people such as young artist schemes, work tasters and traineeships. TALC’s collaboration partners include BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Engage Scotland, SAMS (Scottish Association for Marine Science) and Scotland+Venice. Nicole Heidtke is the Senior Arts Programmer at TALC. Her background is in Youth Arts Education, she previously taught Media Arts and Design, Bauhaus University Germany.

Sharna Jackson

Sharna Jackson is the Artistic Director at Site Gallery, Sheffield’s leading international contemporary art space, specialising in moving image, new media and performance. She is also a children’s author, her debut novel High Rise Mystery was released in April 2019. The sequel is due Spring 2020. She has also created two art activity books with Tate Publishing. Sharna is on the board of Sheffield Doc/Fest and a member of BAFTA’s Children’s and Learning and New Talent committees and the Children’s Media Conference advisory board. She is Southbank Centre’s Imagine A Story author for 2019/20.

David Jones

David Jones is the Community Liaison Manager for the International Centre for Life.

He has been in post for nearly two years and is leading on three main projects, one of which is working with a group of young autistic people. Prior to that, David had a long career in housing management; managing homeless teams, anti-social behaviour teams, managing housing estates and over the past 10–12 years working in tenant participation and community development.

Gweni Llywd

Gweni Llwyd graduated from Cardiff School of Art and Design in 2017. She works as a Freelance Creative Practitioner, balancing a visual art practice with jobs in the arts. Recently, she was Visual Arts Intern with RawFfest, a youth-led arts festival in Wales. She has exhibited artwork across Europe with recent exhibitions including V&A Late: Art Schools, V&A Museum, London (2019), Gripping Wrists, LUX Scotland & Tendency Towards, Aberdeen (2018), and Sightseers, g39, Cardiff (2018). In 2018, she was the recipient of the Arts Council of Wales’s Brian Ross Memorial Award and the National Eisteddfod of Wales’s Young Artist Scholarship.

Andrew Miller

Andrew is an arts consultant and broadcaster. He is a National Council member of Arts Council England and The Arts Council of Wales, a Trustee of Welsh National Opera and digital arts agency The Space; he chairs the BFI Disability Advisory Forum and is Disability Advisor to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Andrew is the UK Government’s first Disability Champion for Arts & Culture, establishing the role as a powerful campaigning platform for greater inclusion across the arts, museum and film sectors. His work was recognised at the 2019 National Diversity Awards where he was shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stewart Parsons

Stewart Parsons has worked in public libraries for 33 years: on the front line as a library assistant; as a music librarian; a Cultural Youth Offer project manager; and as Creative Director of the new Arts Council England NPO Loud In Libraries. Passionately committed to connecting young people to public libraries for music, career development, social integration, he has staged over 400 live music gigs in libraries across the UK. Determined to support libraries to spearhead popular culture, Stewart has introduced household names like Adele and The Vaccines to young audiences in libraries at the outset of their careers.

Dhikshana Turakhia Pering

Dhikshana is the Young People’s Producer for London Borough of Culture – Brent 2020. Working with the innovative Brent Blueprint Collective, who are making sure that the young voices of the borough are front and centre of the whole programme. Previously she managed the ACE funded Young People’s Skills Programme at the London Transport Museum, including their award-winning Apprenticeship programme. At the Science Museum, she led the Explainer and national and international Outreach team. An elected Trustee for the Museums Association, Dhikshana is currently focusing on their review of cultural education across the nations.

Will Sadler, Development Director, Beacon Films CIC and Andrew Coats, Creative Director, Beacon Films CIC

Beacon Films is a production company of filmmakers with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs. Their diverse portfolio ranges from interactive museum displays to a fulldome film for a planetarium; delivery of filmmaking workshops using only a smartphone to documentaries using the latest equipment.

With over 100 film festival selections across four continents (and counting), their filmmakers are dismantling misconceptions of disability by reaching global audiences with their incredible work and unique perspective of the world.

The filmmakers should feel justifiably proud of their achievements … The amazing results are there for all to see.

Colin Wratten, Producer: ‘Killing Eve’

Dr Judy Thomas

Dr Judy Thomas is an Early Career Researcher at Northumbria University; working with creative practitioners, teachers, professionals from the cultural sector and students from schools and universities, her research explores collaborative practice within the context of artist-led learning programmes. Current activities focus on the Create Aspire Transform programme with Berwick Visual Arts.

As Senior Lecturer, Judy teaches across the Foundation and BA Fine Art undergraduate programmes. Her previous roles include Learning Manager at Creativity, Culture and Education and Programme Manager (Learning and Inclusion) for Liverpool Biennial. She has also worked at Tyneside Cinema, Waygood and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

Val Tobiass

Val has been Learning & Engagement Coordinator for Berwick Visual Arts since 2014. Passionate about rurally-based children enjoying quality arts opportunities, she has worked with teachers and Dr Judy Thomas, Northumbria University to develop the Create Aspire Transform programme; increasing artist-led activity in four North Northumberland schools and supporting teachers and pupils to work with artists and galleries, for some, for the first time. With a background in graphic design, training and cultural management, she has also worked for Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, an environmental social enterprise and delivered graphic design training in community, further and higher education.

Iain Wheeldon

Iain Wheeldon is a Lecturer in the School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University, teaching on Postgraduate Programmes in Museums, Galleries and Heritage Studies. Iain launched the Cultural Peeps Podcast in 2019 as part of an ongoing project which explores different Career Pathways across the Museum, Gallery, Heritage and wider Cultural Sectors. The aim of the podcast is to help early-career professionals understand the huge range of ever-changing job profiles that now exist across these complex and interconnected sectors as well as showing the human side of career decision-making.

Briana Pegado

Briana Pegado is the Executive Director of Creative Edinburgh, a network organisation that helps creative people connect and thrive. She is a social entrepreneur that was named one of Scotland’s 30 Under 30 Inspiring Young Women by YWCA Scotland the Young Women’s Movement at the end of last year. She is co-founder of Povo and founder and director of the Edinburgh Student Arts Festival. Her work centres around financial sustainability for creative organisations, barriers young people face to the arts, festivals, and human-centered design processes.