Could you talk a bit about your role at FutureEverything and what your days look like?
My role is incredibly varied. I see my ultimate responsibility as to encourage, support and deliver the ideas and ambitions of the team. I enjoy seeing the team and the freelance artists and producers we work with stretch their imaginations and skills to create truly important experiences. However, I’m a stickler for understanding what impacts we have or can make on society, so embedding evaluation methodologies in our work is super important, and I drive this in our practice.
Day to day I encourage, I scrutinise, I advocate, I create, I celebrate, I push talent, ideas and boundaries, and I support wherever possible. I also love to learn and demonstrate best practice.
Do you have a favourite FutureEverything project?
It isn’t really a project but a programme of work. I was made Programme Manager of Fault Lines, a two year ‘talent development’ programme working with eight incredible artists. It was quite a mission providing mentoring, strategic, curatorial and producing support across multiple commissions, applications and creating space for discussion and reflection. However, being able to provide that level of support for the remaining eight months of the programme and delivering a final event where we shared the artists practice and projects to an audience of eighty industry peers felt like an achievement. The best part is that we are continuing to work with most of the artists on new ideas, commissions and touring projects.
What are you most interested in at the moment when it comes to arts and culture?
I’m most interested in how creativity can genuinely create change for a greater good. How community and conversation can lead to action and therefore lead to change. Let me try to explain.
Art has always played an important role for me – at high school, visiting galleries and biennials, even through my daughter’s paintings or my husband’s photography – it provides me a sense of belief and perspective. A world without art is one I couldn’t exist in, so I make it my mission to advocate the artists’ role (and the wider creative sector) in different sectors and their worth alongside other professions.
We are currently developing new projects and ways of working which cross both sectors and disciplines, demonstrating ways the creative sector can become further embedded and valued, therefore sustaining the role of artists and arts organisations like ours.
We are also learning from other brilliant projects in both the UK and Europe. I get so much joy in exploring the possibilities art can bring or play a role in when considering societal issues, especially those from the non-creative sectors.
What did you do before FutureEverything, and what brought you here?
I was always curious about FutureEverything and had attended the infamous festivals between 2014-2016, building my knowledge and networks in this space. Inspired by what I learned – testing ideas, co-production, city-based challenges, interdisciplinary practices, and digital curation – I would take things back into my work, which at that time was devising creative-led regeneration projects in Blackburn, establishing the first National Festival of Making, and also my own creative practice, Placeshakers.
To now be in the position of co-Director at FutureEverything feels like a path I have been on for a while and I’m so pleased to be here, collaborating not only with my own team but with the community of organisations in Greater Manchester, in Europe and in the digital culture networks we are part of. The curation of action-research methodologies we are currently developing are so vital to the situations we find ourselves in today – climate change, pandemic, segregation, isolation, etc., working with partners and artists to work through these situations makes this job both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
And what do you get up to when you’re not in work?
I have this ability to take on too much, but as the saying goes: if you want something doing, ask a busy person! That tends to be me. My number one love and priority is my two children and the dog, who is fifteen years old and technically older than me! So as a family we spend a lot of time together getting outdoors, camping, cycling and of course, experiencing art and culture. Our favourites are the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Manchester Science and Industry Museum!
I’m also fortunate to live in the Peak District and since 2018 I have been thinking and testing ways to co-design a sustainable model to regenerate my hometown, Glossop. We’ve established an approach called Glossop Creates and my plan is to create opportunities for the local creative community to support the future of the town centre as well as be inspired by the surrounding landscape. This work forms part of my PhD by Practice at Sheffield School of Architecture.
You can keep up with @GlossopCreates on Twitter.