Born and raised in Blackpool I’m a through and through Sandgrown’un. Starting off with stints in the youth and voluntary sectors I’ve grown an interest in arts and not-for-profit projects. I like to think the work I do makes a difference.
Along with a dedicated band of colleagues I am a director of Aunty Social, a community interest company dedicated to providing arts and technology activities and events in Blackpool. In 2011 I was shortlisted for a TalkTalk Digital Heroes award for my work providing social media surgeries for community and voluntary sector organisations in the Blackpool area, and in the same year organised So!VolTech an unconference dedicated to sharing knowledge about technology with the sector.
In 2012 I founded altBlackpool, an online magazine which promotes the blossoming arts scene in the town and has to date published over 1300 articles and has a team of over 30 volunteer contributors. The site has twice been shortlisted for Best Website in the Radio Wave Culture & Lifestyle Awards and in October 2016 won the Talk About Local Website of the Year Award.
In 2014 I made the move into arts marketing, taking on the role of Marketing and Audience Development Manager at LeftCoast (the largest Arts Council Creative People and Places in the UK). During my time at LeftCoast I was responsible for brand development and marketing strategy design and delivery. The scale and ambition of the events I’ve worked on ranges from Blackpool’s annual festival of circus and performance Showzam! and SpareParts transport themed arts festival through to community based projects such as Crocus Field and Mereside at Play, plus more besides. I also honed my skills in partnership, community and arts development, working with everyone from Blackpool’s Grand Theatre to Fleetwood Festival of Transport’s committee (of which I am still a volunteer member).
Also in 2014 I started what is now a two year journey with the International Youth Work Trainers Guild. A group of youth work trainers from across Europe, they had set out on the development of a guild who could be a representative body for their sector. They invited me to join their first development meeting in Ireland to document the process and develop a blog. Since then I have joined them on three meetings (two in Ireland and one in Budapest) and continue to support their marketing efforts. I also recently digitally documented the three week Pathways to Youth Work course in the Netherlands, working with the UK partner Think Forward and Dutch partner Breakthrough, producing a blog and video. I am more and more interested in working in Europe on digital documentation projects.
In 2015 with my mentor and colleague Marge Ainsley I took part in the Arts Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Academy 2.0 and graduated as a fellow. Our experiments as part of the DMA process centred on gamification and game design within Blackpool Illuminations, something I have a particular interest in. The DMA provided a valuable opportunity for professional development, reflection and learning which has been invaluable as my work.
Boards and groups memberships:
Aunty Social Director, Fleetwood Festival of Transport Committee Member, Wordpool Steering Group Member, Streetlife Marketing, PR and Fundraising Advisory Group Member and The Electric Sunshine Project Advisory Group Member.