Keisha Thompson – Chair

Keisha Thompson is a Manchester based writer, performance artist and producer. She is currently touring award-winning solo show, Man on the Moon. Her debut book, Lunar, features her poetry in addition to the show script. 

She is also the Young People’s Producer at Contact, chair of radical arts funding body, Future Ventures’ Fund, is a member of Greater Manchester Cultural and Heritage Group and is on the Leaders of Tomorrow scheme led by ITC and RTYDS. She has supported artists such as Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish, The Last Poets, Saul Williams, Amiri Baraka and has performed in Brave New Voices festivals 2008 & 2009.

Dave Carter

Dave is Honorary Knowledge Exchange Fellow in Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Manchester and co-leads the smart cities research strand of the Manchester Urban Institute. Previously Head of the Manchester Digital Development Agency, Manchester City Council, from 2004 to 2014 and prior to that Head of Economic Development for the city. Founder member of the Telecities network set up in 1993 and the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) set up in 2006. Involved in European Future Internet and Smart Cities projects over the past 25 years, a lifelong member of the Transport & General Workers Union/UNITE and a big science fiction fan. Currently Chair of the Manchester Digital Lab (MadLab) and the Manchester Digital Music Archive.

Rebecca Hillman

Rebecca is a writer, theatre maker and activist. Her teaching and research at the University of Exeter, where she works as a Drama lecturer, is informed by her involvement in trade union and community campaigns. She is fascinated by the history of political art and its role in social and industrial movements, and driven by the belief that it still has a vital role in leveraging political change. Rebecca has written about collective action and rioting, funding contemporary political theatre in the UK, and on the history and revision of agitprop. She is currently working with Banner Theatre, Reel News, Townsend Productions and the General Federation of Trade Unions to create a network of political artists, trade unionists and activist movements more broadly. She has a PhD from the University of Reading, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Mike Benson

After spending 28 years working in the steelworks on Teesside Mike has led 4 museums – Ryedale Folk Museum, Bede’s World, National Coal Mining Museum For England and currently The Scottish Crannog Centre- Mike completed a Clore Fellowship in 2007 and was the first winner of the Elle Maxwell Bursary in 2009.

Phil Sams

Phil's background is industrial chemistry, with a long career as research scientist and "research entrepreneur" at Unilever. Now research consultant, his reputation is as catalyst for and champion of new collaboration between art, design and science with a mission to help society make inspirational use of research by working across and pushing beyond discipline boundaries. Honorary Doctor of University of the Arts London, he has a remit to advise on research for the “Better Lives” theme at London College of Fashion; also Director of the Whitefield Academy (Special Needs) Trust and Visiting Professor at Northumbria University.