Best Selling Children's Author
Melvin Burgess is a British writer of children’s fiction. He became famous in 1998 with the publication of Junk, about heroin-addicted teenagers on the streets of Bristol. In Britain, Junk became one of the best-known young adult books of the decade. Burgess won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British author. For the 10th anniversary in 2007 it was named one of the top ten Medal-winning works, selected by a panel to compose the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite. His latest book, The Lost Witch, came out in 2018.
Award Winning Screenwriter
Rob is an award-winning writer, artist and former BAFTA judge. He has written for the UK’s top TV, film & theatre companies including the BBC, Channel 4, Filmfour, Sony, Aardman, Working Title Films & National Theatre. His feature film, Miranda, starred Christina Ricci and won the main prize at London’s Raindance Film Festival. Rob wrote the first online play for the RSC & Google. Midsummer Nights’ Dreaming appeared on 25 million Tweets, trended 4th in the world and won two Lovie Awards (Internet Oscars). Rob is a Faculty Associate of NHS Research & Development North West and was the first Patron of the inaugural arts festival in England to be run by an NHS Trust. In previous roles, Rob worked as an expedition photographer in Chile, Tanzania and Pakistan and was a researcher at Corbis, then a small company privately owned by Bill Gates.
Poet Journalist and Broadcaster
Ian McMillan is a poet, journalist, playwright, and broadcaster. He is known for his strong and distinctive Barnsley-area accent and his incisive, friendly interview style on programmes such as BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. Ian is poet-in-residence for The Academy of Urbanism and Barnsley FC. He’s been resident poet at English National Opera and UK Trade & Investment Poet, Yorkshire TV’s Investigative Poet and Humberside Police’s Beat Poet. He has worked extensively for Radios 1,2,3,4 and Five Live as well as for Yorkshire Television and BBC2’s Newsnight Review.
He has been described by Carol Ann Duffy as 'world-class – one of today’s greatest poetry performers'
Senior Researcher at LEGO Foundation
Elisabeth McClure is a Research Specialist in Creativity and Learning at The LEGO Foundation. She received her PhD from Georgetown University, where she was trained in developmental psychology with a focus on public policy. Her research on how babies and toddlers use video chat (like Skype) to interact with their remote relatives has been featured in The Atlantic, Science News, EdWeek, and on NPR, and has been used to inform policies for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Department of Education. She is a former research fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, where she was the lead author on the 2017 report STEM Starts Early: Grounding science, technology, engineering, and math education in early childhood, which has resulted in new proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress.
Leader in Disability Arts
Ruth Gould MBE, DL, FRSA is Artistic Director of DaDaFest, a disability and D/deaf arts organisation based in Liverpool. Ruth is a leader and pioneer in creating opportunities to empower disabled and Deaf artists, using the arts to change social attitudes to reposition disabled/Deaf people in society. Ruth is a Patron for Graeae Theatre Company and Life Now; a board member for USA based DisArt: Chair of Unlimited’s Main Commissions Panel since 2014 and an advisory member for the Granada Foundation and Liverpool City Council Tourism and Culture Select Committee. She became a Winston Churchill Travel Fellow researching disability arts in India, Malawi and South Africa. Ruth is also an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moore’s University. This year, the Women’s Organisation included Ruth in their publication ‘Twenty One’, celebrating the lives of 21 influential women who have helped shape the Liverpool city region, and beyond.
Global Design & Advertising Expert
An Awards expert, Donal has spent much of his career at D&AD (Design and Art Direction), having first started in 2007 Donal has worked his way through the Awards Team, where he now operates as Awards Director of D&AD’s Global awards programme, rewarding the very best in global design, advertising and creative communications. Donal has overseen many developments in the expansion of the Awards programme, through the additions of public relations and media awards and the development and running of D&AD’s latest initiative the D&AD Impact Awards in 2016. In 2013 new projects meant Donal also acted as a consultant managing the development and operational launch of the Kyoorius Awards in India, a now well-established regional Awards rewarding the best in Indian Design and Advertising.
Prior to D&AD, Donal graduated with a first class bachelor degree in Fine Art and a degree in Art and Design from Cluain Mhuire Art Campus – Galway Institute of Technology, Ireland
Olivier Award Winning Theatre Producer
Brian is co-founder of Hartshorn-Hook Productions and an Executive Director and Producer at the Arts Theatre in the West End. His work includes over 120 productions across ﬁve continents, including the Olivier and multi LADCC Award-winning Rotterdam (Arts, 59E59 New York, Skylight L.A), Dolly Parton’s 9to5 at the Savoy Theatre, Dreamworks’ Madagascar the Musical (UK Tour), Urinetown (Apollo), American Idiot (Arts and UK Tour) and Woody Sez (Arts). Hartshorn-Hook Productions specialise in non-traditional theatre including the phenomenally popular immersive The Great Gatsby, now the UK’s longest-ever-running immersive production. On 23rd April 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, H+H produced Richard II as the ﬁrst ever theatrical production in the Palace of Westminster.
Brian is from Bury in Lancashire and began his career working backstage at the Palace Theatre in Manchester immediately after studying performing arts at his local college. He is 27 years old.
Director and Celebrity Voice Coach
Barbara Houseman has worked in theatre for over 35 years as a voice, text and acting coach and a director. She spent six years in the Voice Department at the Royal Shakespeare Company and then became Associate Director at the Young Vic, in London. She now works freelance. Among other clients she coaches Daniel Radcliffe and Jude Law. She has been Voice and Text Coach at Regent's Park, since 2009 and Season Associate Director since 2014. She has worked on numerous shows in the West End including Macbeth, Richard III and Dr Faustus for the Jamie Lloyd company; the All Female Trilogy, Coriolanus, Les Liaisons Dangerous and St Joan for the Donmar; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time and The Ferryman at the Gielgud. She is the author of Finding Your Voice and Tackling Text [and Subtext]. She is Artistic Director of Dangerous Space Theatre Company.
Managing Editor of Leading Education Magazine
Jonathan is the Managing Editor of respected education magazine Education Today. In his time at the magazine he has improved its coverage of day to day life in the classroom through the popular “View from the classroom” feature, added dedicated sections covering SEND, STEM and Early Years, and increased the amount of comment and opinion to reflect the many and diverse voices in UK education. He also chairs Education Today’s popular webinars and through his work with BESA, the UK education suppliers’ trade association, has helped raised the profile of many UK businesses working in the sector.