Malath Abbas, Edinburgh

Сo-founder and director, co-working space Biome Collective

Malath is a co-founder and director of Scotland's first game collective and co-working space Biome Collective, a diverse, inclusive melting pot of technology, art and culture for people who want to create, collaborate and explore games, digital art and technology.

Malath is a V&A Design Champion and a BAFTA Scotland nominee and recent projects include Killbox, a game and interactive installation that critically explores the nature of drone warfare, and Shpeel, an immersive installation that starts a conversation about mental health, created to represent UNESCO City of Design Dundee at the London Design Biennale 2018.

Martin Green OBE, London

Chief Executive and Director of Hull’s Culture Company

Prior to taking up his latest post as Chief Executive and Director of Hull’s Culture Company, Martin masterminded some of Britain’s significant artistic events including the opening of The O2 in London; the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds. Such success has earned Martin an international reputation. 

As Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Martin delivered 365 days of transformative culture for the city to huge acclaim. 

Martin is an inaugural member of the Circle of Cultural Fellows at King’s College London and sits on the Board of The Space, the digital commissioning and development organisation, founded by the BBC and Arts Council England. In 2018 He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Hull and made a CBE in The Queen's New Year Honours List.

Mary Dejevsky, London

Chief Editorial Writer, The Independent, The Guardian Sky News

Mary is a leading British commentator on international affairs. As a former foreign correspondent in Moscow (for The Times), Paris and Washington (for The Independent), and a special correspondent in China, she has an international perspective that also informs her writing on Britain. She is a member of the Valdai Discussion Club, invited to meet Russian leaders each autumn, a member of the Chatham House think-tank and a past honorary research fellow at the University of Buckingham. She recently joined the advisory board of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL.

Mary is an advisor to the Oxford Research Group (ORG), an independent peace and security think-and-action-tank that promotes dialogue and common security approaches as sustainable alternatives to violent global confrontation. 

Michael Parnwell, Leeds

Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds

Michael Parnwell is Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds, having previously been Professor and Reader in South-East Asian Development at the Universities of Leeds and Hull, respectively. He completed his PhD thesis on The Economic and Social Impact of Return Migration in North-East Thailand in 1983, and thereafter his research focused on various aspects of the development process (e.g. rural and regional development, sustainable development, grassroots development and neo-localism, tourism development, heritage management, intangible heritage) in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam and Mainland China, typically involving local-level primary research.

He has previously worked with the BBC and has recently undertaken consultancies with the Asian Development Bank and the National Economic and Social Development Board in Thailand.

Paloma Strelitz, London

Co-founder and Partner of Assemble

Assemble’s mission is to realise buildings, enterprises and organisations that support creativity, collaboration and the active participation of people in cities. Their work spans civic spaces, cultural buildings, creative workspaces, community planning and organisational development. Most recently Paloma has led the design and delivery of the new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, which opened in September 2018 as a major new cultural venue for London.

Following her appointment in 2017, Paloma serves as a Mayoral Design Advocate, supporting the Greater London Authority’s manifesto for ‘Good Growth by Design’ in the Mayor of London’s team. Paloma regularly speaks in the UK and internationally – as a keynote speaker and participant on expert teams and panels. In its 2017 listing for International Women’s Day, Dezeen named her in its 50 inspirational women in architecture and design.

Pamela McCormick, London

Founder and director of Urban Development

Pamela grew up in Belfast in the 1970s through the era of pub bombings, barricades, daily murders and little integration. As her ethos and challenging of the origins of the troubles matured, Pamela realised that poverty and lack of opportunities and aspiration were at the heart of the problems. This insight has become the keystone upon which Pamela, has built her career as a leader and visionary over two decades in music and the arts, as the Founder and Director of youth music organisation, talent incubator, educator and charity Urban Development.

With McCormick at the helm, Urban Development is unique amongst youth music charities through its pivotal role within British urban music, as well as the wider UK music industry. 

Rachael Brown, Glasgow

CEO, Cultural Enterprise Office

Rachael is a leader within the creative and social enterprise sector who thrives on solving problems and turning ideas into reality. With a strong track record of operational success, Rachael works extensively to support creative entrepreneurs and social enterprises to develop, grow and scale their business.

Rachael is part of the Leader Network at Entrepreneurial Scotland. She is Social Entrepreneur in Residence with Social Investment Scotland and Chairperson at Youth Theatre Arts Scotland.

Rachel Ireland, London

British Council Director, Uzbekistan.

Rachel has worked for the British Council for over 12 years in a range of roles. Prior to her current role, Rachel was the policy lead for Asia based in London, providing strategic leadership to the British Council’s overseas network of offices across Asia. She has held a number of regional Programmes Director roles where she led the British Council’s portfolio of work covering education, skills, English and the arts.

Rachel has a Master’s in International Development and Education and in Ethnomusicology. Before joining the British Council she worked in the UK’s music education sector, developing policy and programmes to enable quality music making opportunities for young people across the country. She studied Music at Durham University where she played flute in a woodwind trio and a ceilidh band.

Rowan Kennedy, London

British Council Kazakhstan.

Rowan is Deputy Director of the British Council in Kazakhstan, responsible for managing programmes in education, science, English language teaching and assessment, and social development. 

Rowan joined the British Council in September 2012, working in the press and communications team in London. He moved to Kazakhstan in May 2014. 

Before he joined the British Council, he worked for the Department of Health and London PR Agency Portland Communications. He has a BA in French and Russian from the University of Sheffield and an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS, University of London.

Wendy Gallagher, Manchester

Head of Learning and Engagement at Manchester Museum

Wendy Gallagher is Head of Learning and Engagement at Manchester Museum, working to support and drive forward the major £13 million capital development project, Hello Future.

This transformation, driven by social purpose aims to become the UK’s most imaginative, inclusive and caring museum. For several years, she worked alongside Maria Balswhaw on the £15 million transformation of the Whitworth building sustainable arts and health partnerships at both a local and international level. Her work with stroke survivors, people living with dementia and mental health issues contributed to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPGAHW)  aiming to improve awareness of the benefits that the arts can bring to health and wellbeing.