Tell us about your role and why you are proud and passionate about Middlesbrough!
My role is Head of Culture for Middlesbrough Council, and I love it! I’m not from the area but came to Middlesbrough a couple of years ago and was blown away by the energy here. There’s loads going on and when the role was advertised I knew I wanted to be part of it. I’d never been to Middlesbrough before and didn't know much about it apart from what I'd seen on TV – but I couldn't believe how incredible it was from my very first visit!
It’s been recognised nationally as a creative cluster, full of vibrancy, it has lots of artist-led spaces, great bars and restaurants, lots of young people, and a really interesting approach to culture that is rooted in the place.
What struck you the most about Middlesbrough on your first visit?
To be honest I went to Baker and Bedford Street and thought 'crikey it is just so trendy here!'
Middlesbrough has an energy that I haven’t found anywhere else. I’ve worked in London, Leeds, Paris, and Manchester, and Middlesbrough wins hands down.
What do you love most about Middlesbrough?
The people – I was born in Yorkshire and never thought I’d find a friendlier place but in Middlesbrough people are really brilliant. They're humble, funny and welcoming – I feel like it wasn’t hard to settle in.
What do you want people to know about Middlesbrough, something that you didn’t know until you came to work here?
That there’s so much going on – I’ve often been stuck on a Thursday night with too many options of things to do – and that you could easily spend a weekend here.
What’s your cultural highlight of Middlesbrough?
There are too many! We have a beautiful new Town Hall that opened in May last year, museums that are so well loved (I particularly love the egg room at the Dorman Museum), the Mela, Orange Pip Market and MIMA, our brilliant useful museum.
There’s Platform Arts at the train station, the Auxilliary, Pineapple Black…we’re attracting people from all over the globe to Middlesbrough. I was chatting to two artists who have moved here from Berlin because of the potential.
What does Middlesbrough mean to you?
Great people with integrity doing great things.