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 Industry Leading 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.
- University of the Arts London
Cultural leader, social entrepreneur and educator. Senior lecturer and researcher at the University of the Arts London.
Maureen has over 30 years experience as a cultural leader, social entrepreneur and educator. She is the founder director of Freshwaters – a multi-disciplinary practice she created in 2000 to help individuals, organisations and communities create sustainable futures. She works across different industry sectors in an international arena.
She is a pioneer of creative learning through previous roles as director of cultural strategies for Talent & Skills 2000 and as co-founder and executive director of Black MBA Association (UK).
Alongside her industry practice, Maureen is a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of the Arts London.
Maureen’s work has been recognised through ‘Women of the Year’ in 2000 at the ‘Millennium Festival of Women’s Work’ and ‘European Federation of Black Women Business Owners’ Professional Award’. She was a finalist in the ‘European Union Women of Achievement Awards 2001’contributions to pan-European understanding and progress, as well as providing inspiration to others’.
From January 2019, Maureen will be a visiting professor of transformational leadership at the ISM Group, Senegal
- World Pencil
Creative learning specialist and founder of World Pencil.
Ben Sandbrook is a creative learning specialist and founder of World Pencil. He has worked for 20 years across the UK in arts education and creative learning. He has supported many organisations with developing their creative learning strategies, and has run influential leadership roundtables around progression, early years and sustainable development. He led music education development at the National Foundation for Youth Music, and the award-winning SoundJunction online music learning experience at ABRSM. At World Pencil, Ben is developing Creative Impact, a programme to help children and young people build their own experiences of using the arts to make measurable social and environmental impact, and working with schools and young people around creativity, careers and the future of work. He is a multi-instrumentalist and improviser, and also works in film, infographics, 3D, code, sustainable development, education strategy and research.
- Tales Toolkit
Founder of Tales Toolkit
Kate is founder and boss of all things Tales Toolkit, a super powerful storytelling learning gizmo delivering creativity worldwide.
Previously teacher, trainer, advisor and inspirer of little people working in Primary schools, Nursery schools and Children’s Centres in London boroughs with some of the highest rates of child poverty.
Winner of Teach First Innovation Award 2015/16, Teach First Community Choice Award and UnLtd Do It and Grow It Award.
Believer in play and child led learning, Kate’s experience as an Early Years educator led her to found Tales Toolkit as a method of integrating social and emotional learning, while developing language and creative writing skills, right at the start of a child’s educational journey. Tales Toolkit, encourages teachers to use children’s ideas and interests to inspire imagination and creativity.
- The Creation Station
Best Selling Author, Multi-Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Speaker, Founder and Managing Director of The Creation Station
Sarah Cressall is the Founder, Managing Director and Mumma of The Creation Station.
Sarah's drive and passion is to make a difference, inspire imaginations and nurture creativity. Sarah's vision and resilience has earned her many awards including:
Winner Entrepreneur of the Year, Finalist Business Woman Of The Year, Winner Best Woman Franchisor UK and Finalist ‘Extraordinary Woman of the Year’.
Writer and Founder of MakeBelieve Arts
Trisha Lee founded theatre in education company MakeBelieve Arts in 2002. Passionate about the power of story, Trisha has delivered creative programmes with children and teachers across the world including the USA, New Zealand, Vietnam, Cape Town and Japan. Widely known for her work with Helicopter Stories, she is in demand to speak at conferences and to deliver training on creative learning in Primary and Early Years settings.
From 2007-2010 Trisha was a cabinet-office appointed Social Enterprise Ambassador. She has published several educational publications. Her most recent book, Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories is a detailed 'how to' manual on Helicopter Stories. It was shortlisted in 2016 for Academic Book of The Year, by the UKLA.
Having completed an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, Trisha Lee now writes for 9 to 12-year-olds. She is represented by Literary Agent Chloe Seager from Northbank Talent.
Director of Manchester Museum
Esme Ward is the Director of Manchester Museum and is the first woman to hold the role in its 125-year history. Alongside her work at the museum, Esme is Strategic Culture Lead for Age Friendly Manchester and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and is co-curator of the Arts for Health and Social Change Programme at the forthcoming World Health Congress 2019/20. Prior to this Esme was Head of Learning and Engagement at Manchester Museum and The Whitworth where she set up and led award-winning early years, health and culture and age-friendly work. She previously worked as a freelance museum and gallery educator and creative practitioner for organisations including the V&A and the National Trust and Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Learning and Courses Manager, Clore Leadership Programme
Fiona Cameron joined the Clore Leadership Programme in 2006 as Short Courses Administrator, before becoming Learning and Courses Manager in 2008. Prior to this she was Membership Manager at the Independent Theatre Council for five years, having held administrative roles for a wide range of organisations including Ticketmaster, Unison, Dance Theatre Red, The Millennium Dome and London Arts.
Fiona was Chair of the Board at Candoco Dance Company from 2013 – 2014. She is a qualified career coach and sports massage therapist, but currently spends her free-time being a mum to a very active three-year old!