ABOUT LEEDS 2023
A YEAR OF CULTURE
2023 is going to be a year that changes our extraordinary city forever and for the better. We’re embarking on a year-long celebration of culture, happening all over the city and everybody can be a part of it.
For one whole year (all 365 days, 12 months, and 500,000 minutes of it), this city is letting culture loose. We’re gonna create, make, perform, run, bake, eat, share, sing, speak, play and more besides.
Because culture is everywhere in this city.
So now is the time to shout about creativity, in all its forms, in all our communities, and be part of it, and use it to bring us all together again, on every street, in every part of the city. Because when this city speaks, we have a proper story to tell.
This is LEEDS 2023 and we need you. So get involved, be part of it and help us… Let. Culture. Loose.
A Year of Culture
2023 will be a transformational year like no other. 12 signature events and a multitude of creative experiences are happening all over our city. From dance to design, art to architecture, poetry to pop, sculpture to sport, grassroots community theatre to performances on our world-class stages, there’s something for everyone, no matter where you live or what you like.
We think culture is everywhere in this city and this is our time to shout about it. We’re working with local, national and international artists and communities to create a celebration that’s for Leeds, with Leeds and inspired by Leeds.
LEEDS 2023 will be an explosion of colour, noise and brilliance that will show the world in our city and our city to the world.
Why it’s happening
Our journey began in 2015 when the city originally decided to bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023. After a lot of hard work across the city, hopes were dashed at the last minute when UK cities were banned from entering following the country’s vote to leave the EU. But that wasn’t going to stop us. With cross-party support, the backing of more than 20 local businesses and a public poll in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the city collectively said, “Let’s do it anyway!”
With the commitment of Leeds City Council, our mission is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences that will bring us together and change Leeds forever and for the better.
Who it’s for
LEEDS 2023 is for everyone. Creative events are going to take place all over the city, in every district, for everybody. Culture is everywhere in this city and it can actually change people’s lives so we want to celebrate it, in all its forms, in all our communities. And you’re all invited to be a part of it.
What it means for Leeds
We hope that 2023 will be a year that changes Leeds forever and for the better. Not only do we want this year to put Leeds firmly on the cultural map of the world, we want to drive a creative recovery – both economically and socially – for our communities.
It’s going to be the city’s greatest cultural celebration in a generation and we hope people will feel the benefits now and in the many years to come.
The Team/The Board
The people behind the scenes
Kully has spent her 30+ year career changing systems and structures in the arts world that are barriers to inclusion including pioneering the ways that theatres involve young people and taking performances to spaces that could be more easily accessible by the public.
The former artistic director of National Theatre Wales and the first artistic director of Cast at Doncaster knows Leeds well, she was artistic director of Leeds theatre company Red Ladder and launched the Transform festival at Leeds Playhouse.
In 2020, Kully won the inaugural Cultural Icon category of the Northern Asian Power List.
Abigail Scott Paul
Abigail Scott Paul
Abigail is a strategic communications expert. Prior to joining LEEDS 2023, she spent over a decade at the social change organisation the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) leading its public engagement, grassroots and digital transformation strategy.
Abigail’s work there was focused on telling a new story about people and places trapped in poverty, in order to shift public attitudes and build support for change. She commissioned and led JRF’s award winning Talking about Poverty programme and also designed JRF’s approach to storytelling: moving beyond the traditional ‘case-study’ approach to collaborate and co-produce alongside poverty campaigners and grassroots activists.
Raised in Yorkshire, Abigail recently commissioned the photography exhibition Picture Britain with JRF and Comic Relief, and she has also worked with the Leeds Poverty Truth Commission on Fighting Shame, a documentary commissioned by Guardian Films. She was co-producer on Sean McAllister’s critically acclaimed BBC2 documentary ‘A Northern Soul’ which was filmed in Hull during its year of culture in 2017.
Prior to JRF, Abigail worked in the field of architecture, first as Head of Press at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) where she helped to launch the Stirling Prize on Channel 4, and then in Melbourne, Australia working for Denton Corker Marshall, the architects of the Stonehenge Visitor Centre and the Manchester Civil Justice Centre.
In 2020 she was recognised for her contribution to charity campaigning in the Outstanding Leadership Category of the Sheila McKechnie National Campaigner Awards.
Emma is a Producer and Programmer who has made and presented award-winning artworks in a range of contexts, including the Royal Court Theatre and British Council Showcase, pubs, clubs, cafes and derelict storage units.
Emma was part of the team who developed the original programme for what was set to be Leeds’ bid for European Capital of Culture 2023, before UK based bids were discontinued in light of Brexit. As our Executive Producer, Emma will lead the delivery of an exciting range of new artistic commissions, co-productions, collaborations and events in the lead up to and during LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture.
Prior to joining LEEDS 2023, Emma was Co-Director at East Street Arts focusing on public programming, international strategy and business development. Before her work at ESA, Emma was the founding producer for Selina Thompson Ltd and Executive Producer for Eclipse Theatre Company. An alumnus of Generate with British Council USA, the IETM Campus and the National Theatre’s Step Change programme, Emma is also part of the Advisory Board for Theatre in the Mill and a Trustee at Hull Truck Theatre.
Martha Rose Wilson
Martha Rose Wilson
Martha is an award-winning Producer from Huddersfield. She has produced work at The Old Vic, in living rooms and community venues in every postcode in Leeds, on Welsh mountainsides, on the West End and in the 74,000 seat Principality Stadium.
Before joining LEEDS 2023 Martha was Producer at National Theatre Wales where she produced large scale site-specific theatre, audio and video installations, digital theatre/film work and projects for radio. Prior to that she was Associate Producer at Leeds Playhouse where she produced commercial UK premieres, community shows and a 7-week award-winning festival. Previously Martha was an independent producer in London for several years co-producing with, amongst others, Soho Theatre, The Yard, Arcola Theatre, The Old Vic and touring work across the UK and internationally.
Martha was the co-founder of the Sky Arts Academy award-winning The Coterie, a producing and development company for womxn artists. Martha was the recipient of a Stage One Bursary for Producers and one of the inaugural Old Vic 12.
Kate is a Creative Producer with a passion for artistically ambitious projects which bring communities together and reach new audiences who don’t regularly experience the arts. She works across a variety of art forms – from theatre and dance to visual arts and music, with a particular focus on work which takes place in non-traditional spaces and in the public realm.
Kate worked for the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for 12 years between 2004 and 2016, delivering a range of participatory projects with young people, adults and community members. On leaving the Exchange she worked as a freelance producer for a number of organisations including Walk the Plank, Common Wealth Theatre, the National Trust and Mr Wilson’s Second Liners. Kate also has a long-standing relationship with Manchester International Festival (where she is currently a core member of the Producing team) and has produced 8 new commissions for the Festival since 2015.
Andy is an experienced programmer, promoter, curator and booker who has worked across multiple genres of music as well as comedy, podcasts, film and television. He has a wealth of commercial experience across entertainment and corporate events alongside his extensive work in delivering outreach projects. He is inspired to give people the opportunity to follow his own path from a non-musical background and to enrich the lives of others through culture.
A classically-trained musician with a top-40 CD single under his belt, Andy began his career in orchestra management at RNCM, before managing the college’s festivals programme. Latterly, he led the programming team at The Bridgewater Hall for five years, working with the UK’s best orchestras and promoters, as well as collaborating with programmers and concert halls as part of Music Beyond Mainstream.
Kathryn Welford joined LEEDS 2023 as our Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager, a role that is part of a partnership that we have formed with Leeds Cultural Education Partnership to ensure that children and young people are at the heart of our landmark year of culture.
With more than 20 years’ experience in delivering learning programmes for arts and heritage organisations, Kathryn is an expert in the field of cultural and creative learning. An artist-turned-educator, Kathryn combines creativity with her knowledge of pedagogy to create inspired, creative learning opportunities, driven by a commitment to social mobility, equality of opportunity and access to culture.
Kathryn Joins LEEDS 2023 following two years at Harewood House Trust where she worked as Learning Manager, developing an Early Years programme as well as working with specialist artists around play and outdoor learning. She has also worked as Formal Learning Coordinator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and was part of the original team at The Tetley.
Lee has worked extensively across both cultural education and community engagement for over 25 years, placing co-creation at the heart of the work at both strategic and delivery level. Leading on a number of National Pilot Programmes for Children, Young People & Communities, Lee has a wealth of knowledge and understanding around impact culture and creativity has when communities and meaningfully engaged .
Working for theatres around the North West, most recently The Lowry as The Programme Manager for the Youth Performance Partnership – Lee has led a national forum of artists to develop and shape a number guiding principles around Co-Creation when working alongside children and young people when making theatre. Supporting new and emerging artists Lee acts as a mentor for those wishing to work within Cultural Education and Community Engagement. Lee worked closely with Curious Minds to develop local CEP’s at a strategic level and sat on the board for Salford CEP.
Working collaboratively with the communities of Leeds, Lee is excited to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate, engage and learn through LEEDS 2023 ensuring that children, young people and communities are front and centre of the journey.
Taneesha joined LEEDS 2023 as Producer for Community, Collaborations and Partnerships, bringing with her a wide range of experience in community engagement and participation.
Taneesha graduated with a First-Class Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the University of Leeds before going on to complete a Masters in Curating from Chelsea College of Art and Design.
With over twelve years’ experience in the visual arts sector, she has a proven track record of collaborating with communities. Previously she has worked as the Head of Participation at The Tetley and has extensive experience in programming and supporting the region’s cultural sector and creative community. Prior to her work at The Tetley, she was the Education Officer at Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool Council’s Arts Service where she planned a participation strategy that was central to the successful Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation bid in 2018.
Lee has managed volunteering programmes in cities, fields, museums, building sites, community centres, theatres, and parks – occasionally across borders, sometimes in real and virtual space. Lee is passionate about bringing people and communities together to do extraordinary things; and is committed to creating opportunities for stronger wellbeing and resilience, enhanced skills and confidence, and routes into training and employment.
Lee is excited to be building the most fantastic volunteering community alongside the citizens of Leeds.
Before joining LEEDS 2023, Lee worked as Volunteer Manager at Manchester International Festival, supporting a volunteer team of more than 1000 people across three editions. Lee has also led volunteering and learning programmes at a range of cultural venues including HOME, Manchester Museum, and IWM North; as well as contributing to events with Manchester Pride, the Whitworth, and others.
Anna is an independent producer based in Leeds. Her work spans art forms and she specialises in site-based and socially-engaged work. Dedicated to bringing work to non-traditional spaces and audiences, Anna has been the Senior Producer at Compass Live Art and produced for the acclaimed Grief Series in recent years. Her focus is on maintaining strong links with community partners and bringing projects to fruition using a rigorous approach to care and inclusivity. She has produced work for Leeds Playhouse, Unlimited Theatre and Riptide, as well as large-scale work for local authorities such as Light Night Leeds.
Anna sits on the board at Red Ladder Theatre Company and lectures regularly on careers in the creative industries, as well as mentoring young female producers in Yorkshire.
Anna is excited to work on this landmark Year of Culture and can’t wait to work with artists, chefs, athletes and musicians to create something spectacular that brings everyone together.
Hannah is a Producer from Manchester. For the past 7 years, Hannah has worked at Manchester International Festival – most recently as an Associate Producer working on new, large-scale commissions across a variety of different art forms. Hannah has worked on everything from comedy and visual arts to music and dance, with a particular focus on work that is socially engaged and has a positive impact on the community it’s surrounded by.
Hannah has also previously worked for Rufus Wainwright, Welsh-based comedy production company Little Wander and London’s award winning comedy venue, The 99 Club.
Hannah is really excited be a part of LEEDS 2023 and to have the opportunity to work on ambitious and transformative projects across the city.
Kat is a producer from the Midlands, passionate about bold artistic ideas and creating transformational arts experiences with those who don’t usually have access to the arts.
Before joining LEEDS 2023 Kat was a Producer at Appetite, the Creative People and Places programme for Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, which saw her collaborate with community members from all backgrounds and work closely with a huge range of artists across multiple artforms to create ambitious arts events in public spaces across the area, from outdoor festivals in city centres, art installations in chapels to pop up performance in parks.
Kat is also a writer and theatre maker and creates site-responsive performance across Staffordshire through theatre company Potboiler.
Kat is excited to throw herself into Yorkshire life and to help make some unforgettable things happen across Leeds in 2023!
Matt is embedded in the Leeds cultural ecology and has worked on numerous projects across the city. These have included programming at Centre for Live Yorkshire and Live Art Bistro, managing the project space at an independent artist studio and being artist in residence at stage@leeds. He has also hosted and collaborated with festivals, produced at East Street Arts, performed at The Tetley, The Playhouse, The Carriageworks and Seven Arts Centre and presented digital art at Compass Festival. Over the last 14 years he has programmed in independent and pop up art spaces, curating art exhibitions and hosted showcase events.
He is keen to share his experiences with others and his connections with the sector are across art forms and with organisations of all sizes. Most recently Matt worked as a Producer at East Street Arts on their national Guild programme supporting artist led organisations. Prior to joining East Street Arts he was a director at Centre for Live Art Yorkshire and Live Art Bistro, supporting local artists and bringing significant artists to Leeds. In 2016 Matt set up Closed Forum, a collective that creates digital projects that focus on mental health and local stories.
Matt is thrilled to be able to work with an amazing team and can’t wait to get started on this unique and exciting opportunity.”
Adam has been working as a performance maker and theatre technician for over 8 years and has been a key part of the Leeds Beckett University technical team for the past 6 years. He has collaborated with local, national and international artists as a technician and digital artist. Much of Adam’s work has involved working with students and the academic team on countless projects. Adam has focused his skills on the digital side of theatre tech and ar production, working with interactive apps, multi screen experiences, and hybrid events.
Recently graduating from a Master Degree in Performance, Adam has spent the last few years making digital art as part of the collective Closed Forum, with artist Matt Allen. The projects have utilised numerous digital platforms and the work has included live streaming, developing apps and creating new video games.
Having moved to the UK and Leeds in 2010, Adam has adopted the city as his home and has fallen in love with Leeds and its fascinating history, culture, and people. He is eager to give back to the city that has welcomed him, to bring a year of culture that everyone can be proud of.
Hannah, Fundraising Officer for LEEDS 2023 has over ten years of arts fundraising experience, which began at Northern Ballet in Leeds. As Individual Giving Manager, she worked on both the capital campaign to relocate the company to its new purpose-built city centre location as well as revenue fundraising towards the creation of new ballets and their national tour.
In 2012 she became part of a new team at The Hepworth Wakefield, responsible for devising and implementing the gallery’s fundraising strategy to generate significant income, across all funding streams, towards the gallery’s ambitious contemporary exhibitions programme and community engagement.
Hannah is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University where she studied Events Management, Sponsorship and Fundraising.
Sarah Jane Mace
Sarah Jane Mace
Sarah is a strategic designer with a background in communications, marketing, and digital transformation. She works alongside people to understand problems and design solutions. Whether that be enhancing an experience for colleagues, designing and end to end service with the people we’re here for or finding insight to shape our strategy and approach. Sarah is passionate about social change and designing services and experiences that will improve each of our lives. Prior to joining us at LEEDS 2023 she led digital and design teams at Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Leeds University Union. Sarah has also worked within central government and childcare charities.
Sarah will lead the design and development of LEEDS 2023’s website and the various opportunities for interaction that will surround that. She is keen to share our work in progress so follow her @SJMace to see our plans unfold.
Claire’s background is in brand development and marketing, and she worked as Head of Marketing at Eurostar before joining London 2012 as Head of Marketing- Culture where she oversaw all the marketing and brand activity for the London 2012 Festival as part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
More recently Claire worked as Head of Communications and Learning for The Space, a digital capacity building agency founded by the BBC and Arts Council England for UK based cultural organisations and artists, supporting them in finding new audiences through digital experiences and online platforms. Brought up in Huddersfield with spells in France, Germany and then London, Claire moved back to Leeds in 2017 and oversees our brand and marketing work and is passionate about culture in its widest sense, from live music to food festivals and football.
Niv has joined LEEDS 2023 as our Communications and Engagement Officer, bringing her experience in engagement and her passion for the culture sector with her. She has recently graduated from the University of Leeds and has since worked as a Development and Engagement Coordinator for Leeds University Union helping clubs and societies thrive as student-led communities.
Niv has worked in the sector since 2017 through her involvement in creative spaces at University. She has been involved in spaces for creative People of Colour and has experience in organising events for the community to showcase their talent.
Niv has also worked as a Spoken Word poet since 2017 and has performed at various events including The Tetley’s first Print, Perform, Present weekend and most recently Leeds Poetry Festival. She is also involved in Leeds community radio and has a show on Narr Radio about Indian cinema. Other than that, Niv works as an amateur chef as started her own delivery service during the pandemic, hosted cooking classes and has done a restaurant takeover at Eat Your Greens. She is excited to bring her passion and experience in various Leeds communities to LEEDS 2023.
Alex Monk, Social Media and Content Officer for LEEDS 2023, has worked in Yorkshire since graduating from University of Leeds in 2012.
Alex joins us from Harrogate Theatre where he was Marketing and Development Officer for two years. Prior to that he was Co-Founder and General Manager for Manic Chord Theatre, a touring company based at Slung Low’s HUB and Temple Works. During this time Alex Produced a number of national tours, Edinburgh Fringe runs and Yorkshire wide education initiatives.
Alex has a love for independent food and drink in Leeds, having worked across the industry for North Brew Co, Gron Kafe, Rabbit Hole Coffee and at The Tetley Bar & Kitchen.
Alex is thrilled to join the team at LEEDS 2023.
Leigh is an experienced finance officer with an interest in organisations which make a tangible positive impact on communities
Previously working as Finance Officer for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for 15 years, Leigh worked in Leeds at their first residential site outside York providing the Finance and Housing functions.
Leigh joins the LEEDS 2023 team from Co-op Academies Trust where I provided Finance support for a large site in Bradford covering 2 schools.
Moving to Leeds in 2017 to pursue his passion for music, Oliver has a deep interest in the transformative power of cultural experiences. Having been awarded the Diana Champion Fundraiser Award for his exceptional leadership whilst fundraising for the Christie, he developed his talent for event management and administration by taking on the role of Assistant Festival Manager of Oxjam Leeds Festival. In this position, Oliver orchestrated and delivered a multi-venue weekend-long festival as part of a team of five, managing the day-to-day administration and handling venue arrangements and artist liaison. He has also volunteered for the Manchester Jazz Festival, as a key member of the Artist Liaison Team, and for the Manchester International Festival, welcoming and aiding guests from all over the world.
Oliver graduated with a First-Class Bachelor’s Degree in Music (Jazz) from Leeds Conservatoire and performs regularly in the region. He is enthusiastic about making the power that culture holds accessible to all, particularly in digital spaces.
Gabby Logan MBE
Gabby Logan MBE
Gabby was born in Leeds and spent most of her formative and schooling years there. Her working life has taken her away from the area but as all of her family are still in the city she is regularly home. Gabby was also the Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University for five years until two years ago. Dedicated and professional with a fantastic sense of humour, Gabby is one of the UK’s leading broadcasters and has recently been recognised with an MBE. The honour is for services to sports broadcast and promoting women in sport. A former international gymnast, Gabby began her broadcasting career in radio in 1992 and joined Sky Sports in 1996 where she quickly established herself as one of their key presenters. In 2004 Gabby hosted Sport Relief for the BBC before joining the corporation in 2007.
While at the BBC Gabby has presented the Final Score, Inside Sport, Invictus Games, MOTD Six Nations, The Olympic Journey, The One Show, Inspire: The Premier League Show, The World Swimming Championships and Women’s Football, making her one of the network’s most integral faces. She was also a key member of the BBC’s presenting team for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, 2014 Brazil World Cup, 2018 Russia World Cup and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
She has hosted a number of TV shows including ‘Back of the Net’ the weekly premiere league show on Amazon Prime alongside Peter Crouch and John Bishop and ‘Live with Gabby’ on Channel 5. In 2013 Gabby presented the celebrity diving show Splash! on ITV with Vernon Kay and Tom Daley. That year also saw her presenting Sport Relief from the Olympic Park as well as hosting the BBC’s first ever Sports Prom. Gabby now also a regular presenter for Amazon prime video’s sport fixtures.
A prolific writer, she’s been a columnist for The Times and has previously written for The Independent, The Guardian, Glamour and Stylist Magazine and more recently has entered the ever growing podcast world, launching her chart topping series ‘The Mid point’.
Currently the President of MDUK and a patron of the Disabilities Trust, Prince’s Trust and Great Ormond Street.
Gabby was announced as Chair of Leeds Culture Trust in November 2021 saying, “I am thrilled to be taking this role at LEEDS 2023. It’s a really exciting time to be getting involved as we start to see how the full year of events will take shape. I’m passionate about the city and its people so am particularly looking forward to seeing how we can work with all the communities of Leeds. There is such a rich and diverse population in the city which I’ve seen change over the years and bringing them all together for 2023, and beyond, will be an incredible experience.”
Frank Finlay has been Professor of German at the University of Leeds since 1999 and is Acting Chair of LEEDS 2023. He is recognised as a distinguished scholar in his field, with teaching and research interests in German literature and culture.
He is Director of the University’s Cultural Institute which he set up to promote collaborations between academics, students, and the arts and culture and creative industries sectors.
He takes up a new University role as Dean of Cultural Engagement in January 2020. Frank is Chair of the Board of Trustees for a number of arts organisations and is a keen amateur musician.
Sharon Watson MBE DL
Sharon Watson MBE DL
May 2020 appointed CEO and Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Prior to, Sharon Watson was the 7th and longest-standing Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre. Trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, she was one of the first female Principal Dancers invited to join the all-male award winning Phoenix Dance Company, touring with the company from 1989 to 1997 where she choreographed Never Still and Shaded Limits. Having left Phoenix to pursue a number of other ventures including setting up her own company ABCD, Sharon returned in 2009 as the new Artistic Director. Since then Sharon has choreographed Fast Lane, Melt, Never 2 Still, Repetition of Change, TearFall and Windrush: Movement of the People.
During her tenure at Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sharon has received a number of awards and accolades: In 2010, she was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s ‘Women to Watch’, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK. She was awarded The Sue Ryder ‘Yorkshire Women of Achievement in Business Award’ and named ‘Yorkshire Woman of the Year’ in 2016. She recently received the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts’ Companionship Award from Sir Paul McCartney and was recognised as one of ‘100 faces of a vibrant economy 2017’ by Grant Thornton. Acknowledged at the 2017 Northern Power Women Awards as part of the very first ‘Top 50 Power List’ and in 2018 Sharon won the First English Woman’s Award for Arts and Culture and was presented with an Honorary Fellowship by Northern School of Contemporary Dance. In July of 2019 Sharon received an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University for her contribution to the arts. Sharon’s recognitions are testament to her continued passion and drive to contribute to the local and national creative industries through the medium of dance.
November 2020, Appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.
Sharon is a trustee of Leeds Playhouse and Leeds 2023. She is committed to improving diversity within the arts by supporting the creative voices of women and Black, Asian and ethnic minority artists.
As owner and Creative Director of Thompson Brand Partners for 35 years, Ian worked for organisations like Morrisons, Confused.com, Paul Smith, London 2012 and The Tour de France.
He moved on from his business in late 2018 to develop his interest in film making and is currently working on a documentary series about male dancing and his love of Northern Soul.
Barbara Woroncow OBE
Barbara Woroncow OBE
Barbara was Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Museums Council for 16 years. A Past President of the UK Museums Association, she was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to museums.
Consultancy work followed for UNESCO and others in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus, especially in change management and governance.
Born and raised in Chapeltown, Sanchez has represented Leeds in many capacities.
A former professional football player, Sanchez has played for both Leeds City Boys and Leeds United. Recently, Sanchez has moved on to work in the media and hosts his own show “Backstage” on Wednesdays on BBC Radio Leeds.
Sanchez has been involved in Leeds 2023 since the beginning as a member of the young people’s group Think Leeds 2023.
Jamie Jones Buchanan MBE
Jamie Jones Buchanan MBE
Born and raised in Bramley, Jamie is an ex professional rugby league player who has represented the city through the Leeds Rhinos for over 20 years. Jamie played his entire professional career with the Rhinos winning six Super League Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges, three League Leaders’ Shields and one Challenge Cup Final.
Jamie is dedicated to inspiring more Leeds communities, he a trustee of Leeds Rhino’s Foundation and Red Ladder Theatre Company.
Sharon is a chartered accountant who has lived, studied and worked in Leeds for 27 years.
She was a member of the Community Engagement Group for Leeds 2023 before becoming a trustee. In her spare time, Sharon is a viola player, performing with orchestras and chamber groups.
Councillor Dan Cohen
Councillor Dan Cohen
Councillor Dan Cohen, born in Alwoodley and elected to represent the Alwoodley ward in May 2011, is a Conservative city councillor. As Shadow Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture & Skills, Councillor Cohen plays an active role in supporting the city’s cultural ambitions.
With a long-term interest in education, he is keen see young people involved in ideas for the city’s cultural development. He is a school governor for several schools within Alwoodley, including the Jewish Free School. Being part of the Jewish community himself, he frequently delivers talks to classes about celebrating difference and what it means to be both part of the Jewish community and the councillor community. Councillor Cohen was a member of the former Leeds 2023 Independent Steering Group.
Sue Hoyle OBE
Sue Hoyle OBE
Sue Hoyle OBE is a consultant and adviser, specialising in arts and leadership. She is a Cultural Fellow of King’s College London and Lay Commissioner for the Judicial Appointments Commission.
Previous roles have included Director of Clore Leadership, Executive Director of The Place and Deputy Secretary General of Arts Council England
Councillor Jonathan Pryor
Councillor Jonathan Pryor
Councillor Jonathan Pryor is Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education.
Jonathan represents the ward of Hyde Park and Woodhouse and was first elected to Council in 2014 and has served on numerous committees including Environment and Housing Scrutiny Board and the Adult Social Care and Public Health Scrutiny Board as well as holding the position of Executive Member for Learning, Skills and Employment previously.
Jonathan is committed to improving educational outcomes for all children and has been at the forefront of pushing for additional support for schools and families during the Covid-19 pandemic. He has a keen interest in culture and the arts as well as driving forward economic development and partnerships with the aim of producing results that whole cities and wider areas can benefit from thereby reducing inequalities.
Keith Arrowsmith is a solicitor providing charity law and governance advice. He qualified in 1995, and has since then been helping not for profit organisations and individuals who are active in the cultural, creative, heritage, educational and media sectors.
He is the Head of Legal for Counterculture Partnership. He provides guidance and assistance on governance, intellectual property, business law, contracts, website regulations and charity law.
Keith is a Governance Associate for the Clore Leadership Programme. Has been an Independent Advisory Board member for Screen Yorkshire, Company Secretary for the Children’s Media Conference, and a board member of Creative and Cultural Industries.
Keith was recommended in the independent publication Legal 500 in 2019 and 2020.
Corinne Bailey Rae
Baroness Judith Blake
Baroness Judith Blake
Baroness Blake of Leeds has been a supporter of LEEDS 2023 since the original thwarted bid to become a European Capital of Culture. The first ever female leader of Leeds City Council, she held the portfolio for the Economy and Culture and was deputy chair of the former LEEDS 2023 steering group. Baroness Blake was leader from 2015 until February 2021, when she stepped down after she was awarded a Life Peerage. She is now Frontbench Spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the House of Lords and was awarded a CBE in 2017 in recognition of her service to local government.
Dave is a pioneering artist, creative director, inventor and researcher working internationally at the intersection of art, science, storytelling and the environment.
His work seeks to inspire strategic and personal discoveries to meaningfully address the issues facing our natural and social worlds. He creates large-scale artworks, cultural strategies, multi-sensory experiences and performances using cutting edge technologies developed through diverse collaboration.
Nominated for the inaugural STARTS Prize, he followed in the footsteps of Leeds cinematic pioneers and co-created the world’s first moving image projections onto clouds from aircraft. His work is showcased across moving image, installation, live events and volcanoes and has featured widely across the international channels including the Discovery Channel, BBC, New Scientist, New York Times and has even inspired conspiracy theories.
Gaylene Gould designs interactive art projects and spaces that generously connect us with ourselves, each other and the world. She explores the healing and growth potential of sharing space, stories, ideas and knowledge through her artistic, writing and consultancy practice. She believes the transcendent moments that art and culture creates can change how we are in the world. Her projects have been commissioned by and performed at the Tate, V&A, Arts Catalyst, Vivid Projects, Selfridges, h club, Moderna Museet Sweden and BAM, New York. Her projects are produced by her creative company The Space to Come.
She is an arts broadcaster for the BBC, a published fiction writer, a facilitator, cultural reviewer and a Cultural Ambassador for London appointed by Mayor Sadiq Khan. She has been a cultural leader for 25 years heading up major cultural institutions and projects including Head of Cinemas at BFI Southbank and producing, programming and consulting for the Arts Council, Toronto International Film Festival, National Theatre, Young Vic and Bernie Grant Art Centre amongst others. She is on the Artistic Advisory Board for Brixton House, the Advisory Board for the Decolonising Arts Institute, University Arts London and a Trustee for ANU Productions.
Judith Knight is the founder and ex-Artistic Director of Artsadmin, an organisation she began in 1979, producing the work of contemporary artists of all disciplines, working locally, nationally and internationally. Over forty years she developed Artsadmin into a unique national producing resource for artists and its base Toynbee Studios London became a centre for the creation, development and presentation of ambitious new work, with its theatre, five rehearsal spaces, and many initiatives to support artists including a bursary scheme, free advisory service, an education programme, showcases, workshops and performances.
Over her time at Artsadmin Judith produced numerous artists’ projects including many site specific works in locations all over the world, as well as projects on the issues of the environment and the climate emergency. She worked closely with the Imagine 2020 European Network including Artsadmin’s Two Degrees festival and – with Julie’s Bicycle – initiated the Season for Change 2021. She was awarded an MBE in 2007, made Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2009 and given an Honorary Doctorate from Brunel University in 2012.
She now works as a freelance arts consultant.
Madani is the Chief Executive Producer of The Shed and has been in post since 2020.
Previously he was the Creative Director of the Southbank Centre, (London) the largest multidisciplinary arts centre in Europe.
Between 2012-2018 he was the Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, a leading London new writing house, In achieving this role, Madani became the first Artistic Director of colour to lead a London theatre.
Madani has been a Cultural Ambassador on the London Mayoral Cultural Leadership Board since 2017 and in recent years has been a Groucho Club Committee Member, Trustee of the Directors Charitable Foundation, and a special advisor to Artistic Directors of the Future, amongst a number of other advisory roles.
Ruth Mackenzie CBE
Ruth Mackenzie CBE
In 2021, Ruth Mackenzie was appointed by the Mayor of London’s office to co-curate a cultural programme for the Re-Opening of London, and by Comme des Garcons to develop a cultural programme for 3537.org, a new cultural centre in Paris, alongside her Creative Consultant roles for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manchester International Festival and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
She was Director of the London 2012 Festival (the official cultural programme for the London 2012 Olympic Games), widely regarded as the most successful cultural programme of any modern Olympics & Paralympic Games, and the largest festival in the UK.
From 2017- 2020 Ruth Mackenzie was the first woman Artistic Director of the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, for which she developed innovative programming , commissions and partnerships in the Greater Paris during the building works, for the re-opening season and future seasons. Her first season saw over 65% of first time ticket buyers and the launch of a 10 year plan developed with over 8000 Paris citizens.
She was appointed Artistic Director of Holland Festival in 2013, on a five year contract delivering four festivals 2015-2018 in Amsterdam. The Holland Festival was created in 1947 (the same time as its sister festivals Avignon, Edinburgh) with the mission to invite innovative international artists to help the citizens of Amsterdam build a future after World War 2 and it is the largest itnternational festival in the Netherlands.
She was invited by the BBC and Arts Council to launch their digital commissioning body, The Space from 2013-2015, and commissioned over 50 international artists
She has also been General Director of Scottish Opera and the Manchester International Festival, Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, consultant dramaturg of the Vienna Festwochen, special adviser to 5 Secretaries of State for Culture, Media & Sport and consultant to the Barbican Centre, the LSO, Google, the BBC and the Tate, amongst others.
Selina is an artist and writer whose work has been shown and praised internationally. Her practice is intimate, political and participatory with a strong emphasis on public engagement, which leads to provocative and highly visual work that seeks to connect with those historically excluded by the arts.
Selina’s work is currently focused on the politics of marginalisation, and how this comes to define our bodies, relationships and environments. She has made work for pubs, hairdressers, toilets, and sometimes even galleries and theatres, including BBC Radio, the National Theatre Studio and The National Theatre of Scotland as well as theatres across the UK, Europe, Brazil, North America and Australia.
Selina has been described as ‘a force of nature’ (The Stage) and ‘an inspiration’ (The Independent). She was featured in The Stage 100 Most Influential Leaders 2018, awarded the Forced Entertainment Award in 2019, and her work Salt was named one of the riskiest of the century by BBC Front Row in 2020.