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Greater Manchester Mayor assembles steering group to guide regions' vision for culture & heritage


The great and good of the local and national cultural sector are being brought together to form the Greater Manchester Culture Steering Group.

The steering group, formed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, chaired by Culture Portfolio leads Linda Thomas, Leader of Bolton Council and Donna Hall, Chief Executive, Wigan Council and Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group, will guide work being done to help support and help the culture, arts and heritage sectors across Greater Manchester. 

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham who will also sit on the Greater Manchester Cultural Steering Group, has explained why he worked with Portfolio leads to set it up:

“From music and art to theatre, dance and literature, Greater Manchester‘s contribution to culture has been significant. We are known around the world for our music, artists and our art. We want to build on our amazing reputation as a culturally rich city-region, ensuring this reputation continues and grows and that all our residents have the chance to make, watch and take part.

“People often see the arts as a secondary sector that when money’s tight is the first to be cut. The cultural sector is incredibly valuable and not something to be underestimated. We know the economic benefit of culture, in attracting visitors and investors to our city region, but also in improving people’s health and wellbeing and sense of pride in our wonderful place. I want Greater Manchester to lead the way by recognising the importance of our cultural sector, investing in and celebrating our distinct and diverse cultural offer. Making Greater Manchester the best place in the world for artists to create and live and for residents to participate in and enjoy internationally significant work.

The Cultural Steering Group is made up of members representing national cultural organisations as well as home grown artists and organisations.

Steering Group member, Keisha Thompson is a Manchester based Writer, Performer and Young People’s Producer at the Contact Theatre. Keisha has been passionate about the arts throughout her youth, previously being a part of the Contact’s Youth Theatre, she released her first EP, Abecedarian, in 2014 and in 2015 she commissioned to write a poem for the UN’s International Day of Girl. She has gone onto manage the Youth Theatre she was once a part of at the Contact Theatre in her role as Young People’s Producer.

Talking about her hopes for the Steering Group, Keisha said:

“Greater Manchester is a cultural champion. As a proud Mancunian and homegrown artist and producer, I’m really excited to be a part of this group. The city-region is changing which is undoubtedly exciting and also sets us the challenge of maintaining the unique cultural identity of Greater Manchester.”

Members of the steering group also include newly appointed Night Time Advisor Sacha Lord who will advise in both his role as Advisor and his experience as business owner of the Warehouse Project and Parklife.

Speaking about the Steering Group Sacha said:

“Greater Manchester is known internationally for its commitment to Culture.

“It plays such an important role in making us what we are; our Culture, past, present and future, helps form the foundation and tapestry of our great city.

“It clearly plays such an integral role in creating a healthy Night Time Economy and I look forward to work with key stakeholders in maintaining and improving this strong relationship.”

Co-Chair Linda Thomas, Leader of Bolton Council said:

“We want culture to be relevant for, representative of, and accessible to, all of our residents, across their life and will work to ensure that people living in Greater Manchester are supported to explore their own creativity and have access to a high quality culture and leisure offer. There is a wealth of evidence that engagement with culture improves people’s physical and mental health and can help develop personal resilience. The steering group will play a key role in this work, exploring opportunities for development and making sure that all our residents benefit from our exciting cultural offer. ”

Donna Hall, Wigan Council and Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Executive:

“While we absolutely recognise the social importance of culture, in supporting our residents to live fulfilling lives, we are equally keen to recognise the importance of creative education and the vital role culture plays in Greater Manchester’s economy, both in preparing our young people for employment in the creative industries and beyond, and in making GM a great place to visit and invest in. We have included representatives from the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and visitor and night-time economy on this steering group to support and promote our work nationally and internationally and to ensure our residents have opportunity to drive and contribute to growth.”


Members of the Cultural Steering Group 

  • Abid Hussain – Director of Diversity, Arts Council England
  • Adrian Mills, General Manager, BBC North
  • Abigail Ward – Manchester Digital Music Archive (Co-Founder), Drake Music (Project Manager), Musician/DJ
  • Anthony Missen – Artistic Director, Company Chameleon
  • Dave Moutrey, CEO, HOME, Director of Culture, Manchester
  • Fiona Gibson, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, Bolton Octagon
  • Helen Williams / Kate McGavin, Deputy Directors, Arts, Libraries and Digital Culture, Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Julia Fawcett, CEO, The Lowry, Director of Culture, Salford
  • Keisha Thompson, Writer, Performer, Young Peoples’ Producer Contact 
  • Kwong Lee – Producer and Curator
  • Linda Merrick, Principal, RNCM
  • Nathan Lee – Head of Region, North West, Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Rob Sanderson – Chair, Greater Manchester Arts
  • Sacha Lord – MD Warehouse Project/Parklife, Greater Manchester Night time Economy Adviser
  • Sally Macdonald – Director, Museum of Science and Industry
  • Sarah Maxfield, Area Director, North, Arts Council England
  • Sheona Southern – Managing Director, Marketing Manchester
  • Shirley May, Poet, Director Young Identity

Article Published: 14/12/2018 13:04 PM