Golden Section (Assemble)

Judith Knight – Arts Admin (October 2016)

Co-director and founder of Artsadmin Judith Knight has worked in theatres in Hull, Glasgow and London before setting up Artsadmin in 1979.

Judith has produced numerous projects nationally and internationally, many of which have been site-specific pieces in locations all over the world. She was awarded an MBE in 2007, and in 2009 was made Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.

Artsadmin enables artists to create without boundaries, producing  bold, interdisciplinary work to share with local, national and international audiences.

Matt Peacock – Streetwise Opera (Sept 2016)

Matt Peacock founded Streetwise Opera in 2002, a charity that uses music to help people who have experienced homelessness make positive changes in their lives.

Matt is a former homeless support worker, opera critic and one of 30 social activists profiled in Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s book Britain’s Everyday Heroes and was one of the Evening Standard’s Most Influential Londoners in 2013. He was awarded an MBE for services to music and homelessness in 2011 by the Queen and is a Trustee of the arts and kindness charity, People United.

Mary Clear – Incredible Edible (August 2016)

Incredible Edible Founder Mary Clear will be talking about her inspirational model for sustainable growing and food activism in August. Food and growing are important to her, she believes in the saying “Be the change you want to see” and she thinks nothing can be nicer than feeding a crowd around the kitchen table. Mary has 12 grandchildren, a broach from the Queen and is a fellow of the RSA.

Annabel Turpin – ARC Stockton (July 2016)

Chief Executive of ARC in Stockton on Tees, one of the North East’s largest arts venues, Annabel was previously Director of Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead and Events Manager at Warwick Arts Centre.

She is co-chair of Future Arts Centres, a national network championing arts centres, and manages a number of other venue partnerships.

Tommy Small – Radio 2 Artist in Residence (June 2016)

Tommy Small is Artistic Director of the Shaper Caper Dance Company which tours nationally and internationally, supported by a learning engagement programme. He is currently the first BBC Radio 2 artist in residence, which has seen him make a number of new commissions for the station and perform them at major events throughout the UK.

A Graduate of London Contemporary Dance School (2000), Thomas is an award-winning choreographer based in Dundee and a Creative Scotland Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme 2013-15. He has received four-star reviews and award nominations for acclaimed work Within This Dust, which has been presented internationally in New York City, Sao Paulo and Berlin. Thomas was appointed Choreographer in Residence at Scottish School of Contemporary Dance – The Space in Dundee in 2008, and appointed Artist in Residence at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews in 2006.

A creative Partner for National Theatre Scotland 2012, Thomas was commissioned to choreograph Struileag as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Commission. He developed a year-long, major dance participatory project to get boys and young men dancing in Scotland, featuring a touring production for five professional male dancers.

Lucy Neal – Theatre Maker & Activist (May 2016)

Lucy is a writer and theatre maker and was co-founder director of the influential London International Festival of Theatre (1981-2005). Active in the grassroots Transition movement since 2008, she is interested in how celebratory events act as a catalyst for change. Her recent book Playing for Time – Making Art As If the World Mattered, published in 2015 by Oberon Books, is co-written with over 60 artists and activists and has been described as ‘a hand book for life’, ‘extraordinary and timely’, ‘a manifesto; a work of art’ and ‘a beautiful and invaluable book’.  Joining the dots between the ‘macro’ stories of energy, food, finance and climate change it explores creativity’s role in reimagining new ways of being human on Earth. You can find out more about Lucy at www.lucyneal.co.uk

John McGrath – Manchester International Festival (April 2016)

John is one of the UK’s most transformative cultural leaders. Recently appointed Artistic Director at Manchester International Festival, John started his career as a theatre director in New York before taking on the Artistic Director role at Contact Theatre in Manchester, radically transforming what was to become one of the country’s leading creative organisations for young people.

In 2009 John was appointed the first Artistic Director to shape the vision behind the new National Theatre for Wales, a theatre without a building. Locations for performances were used from forests to beaches, aircraft hangars to post-industrial towns, village halls to nightclubs. Highlights include the staging of the Passion with Michael Sheen and a local cast of 100’s in Port Talbot alongside the Persians at a disused military base. In 2015 John joined Manchester International Festival as Artistic Director of this pioneering international arts festival.

Ronnie Hughes – Granby Community Land Trust (March 2016)

Ronnie is a community activist whose work has recently centered around the neighbourhoods of Anfield and Granby in Liverpool, the latter a winner of the Turner Prize in partnership with Assemble.

Jon Hicks – Artist (February 2016)

Jon Hicks, painter, performer and prop maker. Jon has developed in diverse directions, always with an anchor in visual awareness and the joy of making; interests and skills developed through a Fine Art degree (1980s) and as a scenic artist and prop maker in the 1990s. Also with an increasing interest in deadpan ‘clowning’, heightened through training at Circus Space. He now performs in theatres, at street and arts festivals, in cabarets, on TV and for corporate events. Performing his own shows or creating new works to a client brief.

Ruth McCullough – Abandon Normal Devices (January 2016)

Ruth is the Senior Producer at Abandon Normal Devices (AND), an arts organisation that aims to be a catalyst for new approaches to art-making and digital invention. She joined the organisation in 2009 working on commissioning ground breaking projects which challenge the definitions of new cinema, digital culture and art.

Based in the Northwest AND has a distinct emphasis on creative enquiry and provocations, creating a space where artists can reflect on and play with the impact of new technologies. Inviting artists to hijack the imagination, by developing projects which abandon traditional settings and partnerships. AND brings together an eclectic mix of academics, filmmakers, scientists and anarchists to actively push the boundaries of audience experience and arts production.

Previously working as the Digital Media Manager at the Regional Culture Centre in Ireland and Studio Manager at the Digital Art Studios, Queen Street Studios Belfast. She over 12 years experience commissioning and producing new works with a specific interest in emerging technology, public and online spaces. She has worked with artists and organisations across the UK, Ireland and internationally, including FACT, HOME, Somerset House, Rhizome, LinkArtCentre, The Influencers, Forestry Commission England and Canal & Rivers Trust.

Nils Norman – Artist (December 2015)

Nils Norman is an artist working across the disciplines of public art, architecture and urban planning. His projects
 challenge notions of the function of public art and the efficacy of mainstream urban planning and large-scale regeneration. Informed by local politics and ideas on alternative economic, ecological systems and play,
 Norman’s work merges utopian alternatives with current urban design to create a humorous critique of
the discrete histories and functions of public art and urban planning. He exhibits and generates projects 
and collaborations in museums and galleries internationally.

Joss Arnott – Choreographer (November 2015)

Joss Arnott, one of the UK’s emerging dance choreographers with a specialism in youth dance. Joss is in demand as a choreographer and has been commissioned to create work on professional dance companies including Rambert Dance Company and for dance conservatoires such as Northern School of Contemporary Dance for their 30th Anniversary Graduation Showcase. Joss has additionally taught at dance conservatoires such as Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Laban, The Place and NSCD.

Assemble (October 2015)

Turner Prize winning Assemble, an architectural practice who bring people into the process of creating places. Assemble are a collective based in London who work across the fields of art, architecture and design. They began working together in 2010 and are comprised of 18 members. Assemble’s working practice seeks to address the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made. Assemble champion a working practice that is interdependent and collaborative, seeking to actively involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the on-going realisation of the work

John Robb – Musician & Writer (July 2015)

Musician, writer, spoken word performer and Sandgrown’un Jon Robb.

John Robb grew up in Blackpool till punk rock came along and saved his life. Naively believing that you really could do what you wanted he went on to form the loudest group ever, the Membranes- the highly influential post punk band and were a big influence on the soon to come Sonic Youth and Big Black.

He then went on to write for the rock press with Sounds and was the first person to interview Nirvana and coined the expression Britpop. His music and culture website louderthanwar.com is currently one of the biggest music key sites and he does loads of TV and radio stuff and tours with his punk band Goldblade as well as the reformed Membranes who release their first new critically acclaimed album for 25 years in May- an album that is already being heralded as their best yet.

He also currently writes books and articles, runs a music and books festival called Louderthanwar and is a political campaigner who chairs committees in Parliament and is an in demand speaker with his spoken word show spawned by the success of his talks of TEDx on punk, zen and the universe and also for his talks of veganism and punk rock.

He also tours the world.

Clare Patey – Artist & Curator (November 2014)

Clare Patey is an artist and curator who creates social spaces in the public realm that bring people together to share conversation. Commissions: LIFT, Friends of the Earth, The Countryside Commission, Channel 4 (winner of RTS award), South Bank Centre, Home Live Art, The New Economics Foundation, The National Theatre, Artsadmin and The Art Museum, Phoenix. She was the creator of the Museum Of The Ministry of Trying to Do Something About It and annually curates Feast on the Bridge.

Pete Higgin- Punchdrunk (October 2014)

Pete Higgin, Enrichment Director, from internationally acclaimed immersive theatre company Punchdrunk.Since 2000, Punchdrunk has pioneered a game changing form of theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. Blending classic texts, physical performance, award-winning design installation and unexpected sites, the company’s infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences.

Peter is a founding member of Punchdrunk and has worked with the company throughout their current history and has been involved in all major UK productions. He was a pivotal force in the creation of many early works, taking on many roles, including, set builder, volunteer co-ordinator, site manager, stage management and production management.

Since 2008 he has worked to develop the company’s Enrichment programme and now manages the department creatively and executively; overseeing the creation and delivery of many education and outreach projects, in schools, theatres, colleges and found space. He strongly believes in the potential and transformative power of engagement with the company’s practice and is increasingly interested in exploring and capturing the value and impact of the enrichment department’s work.

Pete Moser – More Music (September 2014)

Peter Moser is a composer, performer, teacher and producer and has been the Artistic Director of More Music (www.moremusic.org.uk) for the past fifteen years.

Kristjan Ingimarsson – BLAM (August 2014)

Kristján Ingimarsson is  an artist based in the field of visual theatre.  His physical language is in constant development in a blend of mime, slapstick, acrobatics, clowning, dance and theatre. Stylistically, his theatre is characterized by high-energy, rhythmic sequences, surreal effects and comic as well as touching moments.

Kevin Finnan – Motionhouse (July 2014)

Kevin is known for his dynamic, highly visual productions integrating dance, circus and digital technology. He is responsible for the distinctive style that Motionhouse is renowned for.

He is passionate about exploring and questioning the traditional use of space in performance, which has led to the creation of an extensive body of work developed over three decades. He is regularly commissioned to develop extraordinary dance spectacles, most notably as Choreographer and Movement Director of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Andy Walsh – FC United Manchester (June 2014)

Andy is a seasoned community activist and a fervent campaigner for fan involvement in football clubs. As the General Manager of mutually-owned FC United of Manchester he is leading the club’s project to build a new 5,000 capacity community football ground and sports complex in Manchester. The project is being part funded by a pioneering Community Shares offer, which has so far raised in excess of £1.8M towards the project build costs. Andy is widely published and is a regular speaker at conferences on mutuality and fan involvement in football.

Previous speakers include Liz Pugh – Walk the Plank, Tristan Sharp – Dream Think Speak and Len Grant, No Fit State.