Speaker Information

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Speaker Information

This page contains mini biographies of the keynote speakers at the Light, Arts, Cities International Symposium event.​

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​​Stella Hall – Symposium Faciliatator

Stella is a Festival and Events consultant with a passion for bringing people and place together through shared creative experiences.

Her early work included co – founding the innovative arts centre, Green Room in Manchester and she has since worked in a number of high profile roles including Festival Director, Belfast Festival at Queens and Creative Director, culture 10 pioneering programme of Festivals and events across NE England.

She was the first professional Festival Director for Preston’s Guild celebrations in 2012, an event occurring every twenty years since 1179. She was made an Honorary Fellow of University of Central Lancashire for her work in engaging young people, community and academics. She is also a Board member of ArtsAdmin, London and an industry member of the REF (Research Excellence Framework) 2014 panel for Drama, Dance, Music and Performing Arts.

​​Alison Clark

Director North and National director of Combined Arts for Arts Council England, Alison is responsible for arts council’s work across the north west of England and for the support and development of festivals, events, participatory arts, outdoor arts and cross artform venues nationally.

She designed and now leads the £35.2 million Ambition for Excellence funding programme, aimed at supporting ambitious and impactful arts programmes.

Alison is a 2016-18 fellow of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management in Washington DC. She has previously worked as a regional director for arts council in the north east, and held posts in arts and festivals development, arts policy and arts education in Liverpool, Nottingham and Teesside.

In her spare time she is an irregular blogger, rower and runner.

​​Oliver Mantell

As The Audience Agency’s Consultancy Director, Manchester, Oliver delivers bespoke marketing consultancy and research projects, using audience data to advise on marketing and strategic planning. He has previously worked in a variety of capacities within arts consultancy (for Audiences Yorkshire, &Co and as a freelancer), as well as in marketing roles for Sheffield Galleries and Museums.

For The Audience Agency, Oliver has worked with clients include Opera North, Northern Stage, Berwick Maltings, Queen’s Hall Hexham and Arts Council England (for research to inform their opera and ballet review), led on development of quantitative research for the Audience Finder benchmarking programme and facilitated benchmarking clusters in Newcastle, Yorkshire and nationally (for opera). He has delivered the Arts Marketing module at the University of Leeds and presents at Theatre UK’s Essential of Arts Marketing course.

With degrees in English Language and Literature (Oxford) and Cultural Policy and Management (Sheffield Hallam), his particular areas of specialism are audience research, segmentation, marketing strategy, opera and poetry.

View Oliver's presentation

​​Tim Edensor

Tim Edensor teaches cultural geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is the author of Tourists at the Taj (198), National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life (2002) and Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality (2005), as well as the editor of Geographies of Rhythm (2010) and co-editor of Spaces of Vernacular Creativity (2009).

Tim has written extensively on national identity, tourism, industrial ruins, walking, driving, football cultures, rhythms, and urban materiality. Most recently, he has focused on spaces of daylight, illumination and darkness. Minnesota University Press will publish his forthcoming book, From Light to Dark, in 2017.

​​Dave Lynch

Dave is a pioneering artist, director and inventor working internationally at the intersection of art, science, business & technology across large scale interactive installation and performance.

His work has represented the UK alongside Nam June Paik, broadcast on BBC 2, Radio 4 & the World Service. Selected press include New Scientist, The Guardian, The Smithsonian Mag, we-make-moneynot- art.com, VICE & the New York Times. His commercial practice features clients such as BBC, Jimmy Choo, Vauxhall, Siemens, Phillips and the NHS.

His large scale light installations also include: the world’s largest indoor climbing wall, a 20 storey cylindrical building and 360 car projections. Inventions include: the laser zoopraxiscope & virtual graffiti system - Friispray.

Dave Lynch

Dave has been researching & applying models of collaboration since 2009, between business, art, science & technology & has presented work at conferences such as Thinking Digital, Shift Happens & more.

He is a founding member of collectives including: The Superposition art science network, Frozen Music Collective (Creative application of EEG) & digitalmedialabs.org - residential research labs. Dave has recently produced a permanent artwork for the Centre for Life, Newcastle, as part of their new Brain Zone exhibition opened in April 2016 Notably, Project Nimbus [2015] achieved the inaugural projection of moving images onto clouds from aircraft using redesigned Muybridge projection technology from 1878. The image [Horse in Motion - Muybridge 1878], is a shared cultural reference between art & science. It has been nominated for the STARTS prize by ARS Electronica 2016.​


Shirley Lundstram

Strategic Development Manager for Culture and Leisure at Salford City Council This role supports and develops the strategic direction for the provision of culture and leisure services for Salford. This involves developing new and existing partnerships in the area of culture and leisure services and attracting inward investment.

Shirley is currently working with Arts Council England, Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, various housing providers, private sector partners, Quays Culture and the BBC Philharmonic.

Lucy Dusgate

Lucy Dusgate is Creative Producer leading the Quays Culture programme, and Digital Programmer at The Lowry arts centre. Both of these roles aim to bring digital artistic commissions and presentations to the public realm, galleries and theatre spaces at the MediaCityUK / Salford Quays location.

She works in collaboration with artists and cultural partners to bring international digital art into a rich programme of experimentation, aimed at mainstreaming digital art for audiences. Previous to this post, she was the digital relationship manager for three years at Arts Council England, having worked also at ICA, Lumen Arts, Royal Court Theatre, Lime Arts, Community Arts Northwest, Picture House and Curzon cinemas.

Squid Soup

Squidsoup is an internationally based group of artists, researchers and designers (UK/AUS/NZ) working with digital and interactive media experiences. Their work combines physical and dynamic virtual spaces with novel and intuitive forms of interaction to produce immersive, responsive and beguiling experiences.


Squidsoup’s work is regularly shown at festivals, galleries and events around the world. Recent events include solo shows in Bristol (UK), Oslo (NO) and Wellington (NZ), and participation in Christmas at Kew (UK), the Magna Carta celebrations at Salisbury Cathedral (UK), Adelaide Festival (AUS), Visual Art Week (MEX), Mapping Festival (CH), Cinekid (NL), Sundance (USA), TIFF (CA), Siggraph (USA), Scopitone (F), Ars Electronica Festival and Museum (AU), Glastonbury and Kinetica Arts Fair (UK). They performed live with Four Tet at the ICA and Roundhouse (both in London, UK) and Sydney Opera House (AUS). Their work is on permanent exhibition in the UK, Norway and New Zealand.

The Brick Box

The Brick Box is a Bradford-based arts organisation and social enterprise founded in 2010. The company works in unusual urban spaces, using creative activity to invite people to see things differently and transform environments. They believe in the power of creative expression to improve lives and environments and specialise in producing exciting participatory, popular events that have a strong social element.

The company has a diverse portfolio of projects having worked in high streets, markets, loading bays, parks, housing estates, pubs, squares, service lifts, vault spaces, motorway underpasses, community gardens, urban beaches and temporary structures. To date they have produced over 400 combined arts events for audiences of just one to hundreds of thousands.

Eleanor Barrett and Rosie Freeman are the Directors of The Brick Box. Together they bring over forty years of experience in producing, devising and creating arts events, delivering social inclusion projects and project managing a range of diverse and exciting ventures.

View the Brick Box presentation

Jo Fairfax

"I trained in holography at the Royal College of Art, London and the Holocentre, New York. I have received ten Arts Council Awards, The Wingate Scholarship and the new Oxford Film and Video Award, twice. I was made a NESTA Fellow with a Dream Time Award to develop virtual reality as an artform.

My practice is varied and I work with different specialists in flexible clusters to enable me to respond sensitively to the character of any site. I light buildings, make sculptural lighting interventions, lighting for dance, design architectural glass, create permanent interactive film projections, design public spaces, make interactive walls and approach projects with a viewto their own sustainability.

Since 2012 I have been a Board Director for OPUN whose aim is to ‘Promote the creation of better quality neighbourhoods, buildings and public spaces’.

I was the artist on the ‘Think Tank’ to advise Silverstone on creating a more cultural package for their Formula 1 customers. My practice profile has been featured in Blueprint and Total Lighting magazines."


Antoine Manier

Director of Rencontres Audiovisuelles, Lille, France

After his degree in Film Studies and producing several short films, Antoine Manier created Rencontres Audiovisuelles in 1998.

The company is now one of the leading organisations in Northern France for promoting independent film and education in the visual image. Historically, the organisation specialised in short films and animation, but video-mapping has recently been added to the list of specialisms. The company organises the International Festival of Short Films, the Festival of Animation, Cinésoupe (a touring short-film programme), light projections and workshops and in 2007 opened a cinema called L’Hybride. Rencontres Audio-visuelles runs workshops and artistic residences both regionally and internationally.

As a result of the Leeds-Lille partnership, students from Leeds College of Art and Leeds Beckett University participated in one of these international workshops last year, which resulted in a video-mapping installation at the Tetley for Light Night 2015.

Tom Dekyver

Tom Dekyvere explores the deeper layers of reality and mind. Just as the alchemists of former times probing for unexpected connections, in search of the boundaries between nature and technology, between man and robot, between dead and living matter.

"It's a project that keeps on moving, while constantly evolving and transforming according to stochastic principles in unknown codes with seemingly impenetrable formulae from redundant data. Invisible reality, the equivalent of our collective subconsciousness, is equally explored, made transparent in a quest for the subtle, always changing properties of the rhizome or the underground communication networks of plants and microbes and what else that hides and disguises itself in the immeasurable nano-dimensions.

Running parallel herewith synchronized telescopes and hypersensitive antennae in abandoned deserts and darkened metro-poles scan the farthest nebulae looking for recognizable patterns in the vague signals coming in our direction. Sounds and thought experiments. Electronic circuitry and brain cells. Digital extensions. Light. A lot of light. Photosynthesis. Synergy. Intangible touches. Phantoms and senses. Meaning and metaphysics. The play of the dancing Wu Li masters, the spinning dervishes. Insects and reptiles. I’m also thinking about Inca roads and a Mexican bordello. Dusty streets. Peyote and tequila. The coming of strange gods on their horses.

We must construct a home for the visitors from the future. But maybe they are already here. Maybe it is like in that old saying of the Hopi Indians: “We are the ones we have always been waiting for.” Welcome in this fascinating world..."

Text by Frank Despriet, Author of From Reptile to Robot 2.0

Stephanie Grant - Culture Manager, Creative Europe Desk UK

Stephanie Grant is Culture Manager for England at Creative Europe Desk UK and is based between the British Council and the Arts Council England offices in Manchester. Stephanie arranges information seminars and events throughout England, supports programme applicants and shares her experience of project development and international collaboration.

Stephanie has diverse experience in the arts and culture sector, starting out in the music industry over 15 years ago. She has previously worked as a Relationship Manager at Arts Council England and most recently as a freelance development consultant for arts organisations. Stephanie is a singer songwriter and has taken part in a number of international collaboration projects both as a musical collaborator and project manager.


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