Speakers 2022

We're thrilled to be back in person this year with an exciting programme of sessions featuring high profile speakers.

See below for our list of speakers booked for the 2022 CCC (listed alphabetically by surname.)

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Harjeet Chhokar Unscripted Executive, Amazon UK Originals

Qasa Alom

Presenter, filmmaker and journalist. 

Qasa is from Birmingham with a British Bangladeshi heritage & proud to support local talent coming through into the mainstream. 

Qasa used to host The Big Debate on the BBC Asian Network. He was voted “Best Radio Presenter” in 2020 for his dedication and work throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. He also has reported on various documentaries and programmes such as The One Show and as a newsreader on BBC Midlands Today. 

Now he presents on various outlets including BBC Radio 4 & BBC 5 Live as well as hosting major events such as at COP 26 and acting as the Main Host for the Birmingham Phoenix in the new flagship cricket competition in the UK called “The Hundred”. In February he made several programmes with the UN and IFAD on global climate change. 

Qasa had presented and written various documentaries including a 5 part podcast series on the History of Bangladesh for BBC Sounds. He is currently part of the YouTube Google News Partnership to create content on the platform for a younger audience. 

Madonna Baptiste

Executive Producer, HTM Television

Madonna joined HTM in 2020 as a freelance producer on Frank & Joe Cottrell Boyce’s Stephen for ITV before becoming an in-house Executive Producer. Her previous producing credits include Black Mirror and The Stranger for Netflix, Come Home, Silent Witness, Long Walk To Finchley for BBC and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man for Sky.

In 2013 she was an Executive Producer at Sky Commissioning overseeing the Playhouse dramas, The Smoke and Talking to the Dead as well as various developments. Her work has achieved wins and nominations at the BAFTAs, Grammy’s, RTS Awards, Broadcast Awards and South Bank Awards, including wins at various film festivals.

Chenine Bhathena

Creative director, Coventry UK City of Culture

Chenine is the Creative Director the UK City of Culture in Coventry 2021.

As architect of the creative programme, she has overall responsibility for developing the programmes, co-creation, community engagement and the development of national and international partnerships. Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 began on 15 May 2021, running for 12 months. It has been a large scale, high impact programme of activity, planned and delivered during a global pandemic and co-created with communities. The programme has been designed with the people of Coventry and brings about long-term social, economic and cultural benefits.

Chenine previously worked for the Greater London Authority where she led the Mayor’s Cultural Placemaking Team and conceived, designed and delivered the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture competition.

Pauline Burt

CEO of Ffilm Cymru Wales

Pauline is the founding CEO of Ffilm Cymru Wales. Previously, Pauline was a risk manager at London based Mansfield Associates, assessing and managing risk for commercial film and television financiers such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Rand Merchant Bank and Royal Sun Alliance. Prior to that, Pauline headed up production at Sgrin, the former Media Agency for Wales and worked at Scottish Screen as their Script and Finance Analyst.

Recent feature credits include Censor, Dream Horse, Gwledd/The Feast, I Am Not a Witch, Ray & Liz and Eternal Beauty

Fiona Campbell

Controller of BBC Three

Fiona Campbell is Controller of BBC Three, the home of content for under 35s on the BBC where she holds overall responsibility for content commissioning across platforms and oversees the strategy of the channel.

BBC Three is responsible for brands such as RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Glow Up, The Rap Game and This Country. Under Fiona’s leadership, BBC Three launched as a broadcast channel in 2022 and has won ‘Online Channel of the Year’ at the Edinburgh TV Awards and ‘Channel of the year’ at the Broadcast Digital Awards. She also was a Commissioning Editor for Documentaries and Current Affairs at BBC Three just before the Channel went online in 2016.

Previously Fiona was Digital Director for BBC News and also spent five years as a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 News.

She was born and brought up in Belfast and has a young son, Lorcan.

Ron Chakraborty

Lead Executive, Major Events, BBC Sport

Ron started at BBC in the production teams for programmes such as Match of the Day and Grandstand, covering events such as the Six Nations Rugby, Wimbledon, the Open Golf and the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

Since 2013 he has been the Lead Executive on Major Events, leading the editorial strategy for BBC Sport’s coverage of the Olympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

He also looks after the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon and the NFL.

Harjeet Chhokar

Unscripted Executive for UK Originals, Amazon Studios 

Harjeet is an Unscripted Executive in the Amazon Studios UK Originals team, working across a range of productions, including All or Nothing: Arsenal and Clarkson’s Farm.

Prior to this, he was a Factual Commissioning Editor at the Channel 4, where he commissioned and delivered a number of singles and series, including Sex Actually with Alice Levine, Street Dance: Against the Odds, Teen Mum High and 999: On the Frontline and was one of the C4 team behind on Murder Island.

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Caroline Cooper Charles

Chief Executive, Screen Yorkshire

As Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire Caroline champions the film, TV and wider screen industries in Yorkshire & Humber and provides leadership to a talented team of industry experts who deliver skills and talent development, production support and content investment.

Caroline’s 25-year career within the screen industries has evolved from running her first production company with acclaimed music video director Dawn Shadforth to her previous role as Head of Creative at Screen Yorkshire.  Along this journey she has spent time as Talent Development Executive for Scottish Film Talent Network, Head of Film at Creative England, Head of Creative Development at Warp X, managed the UK Film Council’s nationwide short film programme through her company Lifesize Pictures and spent a year as Director of the Sheffield International Documentary Festival.

Isabel Davis

Executive Director, Screen Scotland 

At Screen Scotland, Isabel leads its drive for the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of Scotland’s tv and film sector through enhanced funding, services and support.

Previously Head of International at the BFI, her role combined editorial, production and policy expertise. Drawing together industry, public and government stakeholders to identify the UK screen industries’ key sectors and territories, she led the design and delivery of a package of initiatives and funding to help achieve success on the international stage, including the negotiation of co-production treaties with Morocco, Palestine, Israel, China and Brazil.

Production Executive/Executive Producer credits on high profile UK co-productions include Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War (Cannes 2018 Official Selection, winning Best Director); Haifaa Al Mansour’s Mary Shelley  (TIFF 2017); Yorgos Lanthimos’s Oscar® nominated The Lobster (Official Competition, Cannes 2015); Claire Denis’ High Life and Victor Kossakovsky’s Aquarela. She also backed the development of films from Scottish talent including David Mackenzie and Rona Munro.

 

Eddie Doyle

Senior Head of Content Commissioning

Eddie is responsible for BBC Northern Ireland’s Commissioning Department. He commissions local content, drives Nations-to-Network commissioning strategy, and established BBC NI’s successful partnership scheme with BBC Three and Northern Ireland Screen.

Previously, he worked at RTÉ, where he commissioned The Young Offenders and Mrs Browns Boys, and launched and ran the investigative documentary strand Prime Time Investigates.

Eddie is from Belfast. He joined BBC NI in February 2018, to run in-house production, and was appointed to his current position in September 2019. He studied Law at Trinity College Dublin, has a Masters in Journalism from Dublin City University, and Diplomas in Strategy & Innovation from the Irish Management Institute. He has worked in print journalism, TV production and commissioning across multiple genres in the UK and Ireland, and received Ireland’s TV Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 for his work in Afghanistan.

Jackson Castillo Evans

Casting assistant

Jackson cultivated the visual art of storytelling in Greater Manchester with a background in Drama & Theatre, which he transferred into filmmaking whilst studying at The Northern Film School. Through volunteering with queer organisations such as The Proud Trust and Bradford Shade, he formed a passion to explore the underrepresented voice to reflect the world we live in.

His directed/written work has been involved in festivals such as Leeds International Film and Manchester’s Filmed Up. After working as a production Coordinator alongside visionary Gage Oxley at Oxygen Films to produce his hit series A Series of Light, Jackson moved into Casting as an assistant for one of the UK’s leading casting directors Nicci Topping. He is constantly developing his craft of screenwriting with voluntary work at The Screen & Story Film Festival, whilst his screenplays and extended writing portfolio strives to open taboo conversations around identity, sexuality, and mental health. He holds this very dear to his heart as a proud queer, mixed-race man with autism.

Ben Frow

Chief Content Officer, UK, Paramount

Ben is Chief Content Officer, UK, at Paramount (formerly ViacomCBS), with oversight of Channel 5 and its digital brands, the wider Paramount channel portfolio, and the streaming service Paramount+ UK which launches in 2022.

Under Ben’s leadership, Channel 5 has undergone a creative transformation through continued investment in high quality originations across all genres, and a focus on increasing original commissions for peak time. Channel 5 has broadened the scope of its programming, commissioning drama, history and more, to build on its roots in factual programming and attract talent including Michael Palin, Susan Calman, Jay Blades and Jeremy Vine. This fundmental shift in the channel’s perception – and wider audience appeal – has been recognised with a raft of industry awards, including Channel 5’s first ever BAFTA for Cruising with Jane McDonald, Channel of the Year awards from Edinburgh and the RTS, and accolades for programmes across a range of genres.

Nasfim Haque

Interim Channel Editor, BBC Three

Nasfim is currently working as interim Channel Editor for BBC Three to oversee the delivery of the 2022/23 slate and work on the plans for 23/24 commissioning commitments as well as managing the content supply and partnerships with the Nations.

Her substantive role is as a Commissioning Editor within the BBC’s popular factual team, and has a particular focus on unscripted, online-first content for BBC Three. Her titles include Meet The Khans, Nail Bar Boys and the forthcoming Dubai Hustle and Brickies amongst her impressive portfolio.

Prior to this, Nasfim joined the BBC Three team in 2016 as digital editor where she looked after digital content across YouTube, Social and iPlayer. She was then appointed as Digital Commissioner of short-form and commissioned the award-winning Things Not to Say, and the original BAFTA nominated Eating with my Ex.

Nasfim is based in Birmingham.

Leon Harrop

Actor

Leon is best known for his work as the series regular Ralph in all three seasons of the BBC Series The A Word and will soon be reprising the role in the spin-off series, Ralph and Katie.

Leon will also be reprising his role as Albie in the Sky One series Brassic. Other credits include being a regular in From There To Here for the BBC, playing Jordan Holt in Casualty, Adam in No Offence and Otto in The Street.

LONDON - 24th October 2021: British actor, comedian, television presenter and writer Sir Lenny Henry's portrait session for Comic Relief. (Photo by Jake Turney/Comic Relief)
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Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer, Channel 4 2021
Fozia Khan Amazon Unscripted Lead Amazon UK originals

Sir Lenny Henry

Actor, comedian, television presenter and writer

Lenny Henry has risen from being a star on children’s television to becoming one of Britain’s favourite comedians, as well as a writer, philanthropist and award-winning actor. 

His theatre credits include The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui at The Donmar and most recently August Wilson’s King Hedley ii at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2019. Lenny’s Television credits include Broadchurch, The Syndicate, The Long Song and Dr Who. Lenny’s Production Company, Douglas Road, has achieved success in partnership with Burning Bright on the acclaimed ‘The Commonwealth Kid’ documentary and has a host of other programmes in the pipeline. As a co-founder of Comic Relief Lenny was delighted to announce that the British Public has donated over £1billion to Comic Relief over the last 30 years. In October 2019 Lenny released his memoir ‘Who Am I Again?’ and in 2021 released his debut fiction title with Macmillan Children’s Books called ‘The Boy with Wings’.

He is currently the Chancellor of Birmingham City University and recently acted in the production of the Amazon Prime Lord of The Rings   

 

Jordan Hogg

Director

Jordan is a BAFTA-winning television drama director.

He previously directed Channel 4 prison-drama series Screw, the third and fourth seasons of Channel 4 school drama Ackley Bridge for The Forge Entertainment, as well as episodes for BBC1 prime-time drama Death In Paradise.

 

Jules Hussey

Freelance Series Producer

Jules is a freelance series producer, creative director of Brazen Productions and one of the founders of the ‘Call it!’ App.

Her producing credits include Guilt, You Don’t Know Me, Babs and My Mad Fat Diary.

 

Jess Mabel Jones

Neurodivergent Creative Coach

Jess is a creative coach on the Ralph & Katie series.

Jess is a multi-disciplinary artist and a Total Theatre Awards winner and assessor.

She is a neurodivergent creative coach and mentor to other neurodivergent or learning disabled artists

 

Ian Katz

Chief Content Officer, Channel 4

Ian Katz is Chief Content Officer of Channel 4.  Publicly owned and commercially funded, Channel 4 has a statutory remit to deliver high-quality, innovative, alternative content across its portfolio of channels including E4, More4 and streaming service All 4.

Ian has overall responsibility for the creative output across Channel 4, its portfolio and All 4, leading the creative commissioning team to ensure Channel 4’s unique remit to innovate, take creative risks and represent all of the UK on screen is reflected in its programmes and content.

Under his leadership, awards-winning output includes: It’s a Sin; For Sama; Derry Girls; Hollyoaks; This Way Up; We Are Lady Parts; Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back; Channel 4 News.

Ian is an experienced creative leader with an award-winning track record in broadcast, newspaper journalism and digital innovation. He was editor of BBC’s Newsnight, and Deputy Editor and Head of News at the Guardian.

 

Fozia Khan

Unscripted Lead for UK Originals, Amazon Studios

Fozia is the Unscripted Lead for UK Originals at Amazon Studios. Prior to joining Amazon, Fozia was commissioning Editor at Channel 4 in the Documentaries department where she worked across 24 Hours in Police Custody and commissioned Damilola: The Boy Next Door and is Covid Racist?

Before joining C4, Fozia was a Channel commissioner across BBC TWO and an Executive Producer at the Garden Productions where her credits include Posh People: Inside Tatler (BBC Two), The Audience and Extremely British Muslims (C4).

 

Steven Knight (Writer and Executive Producer) on the set of Peaky Blinders at the Black Country Living Museum

© Black Country Living Museum

Production credit: A Caryn Mandabach and Tiger Aspect Production

Steven Knight CBE

Screenwriter and film director

Steven is the creator, writer and Executive Producer on the BAFTA Award winning Peaky Blinders.

The drama series also won at the TV Choice Awards, the National TV Awards, and the NME Awards.

Steven also runs Digbeth Loc Studios, recently announced as the new Birmingham-based home for MasterChef, the BBC's highest rating cookery format over the past five years, from 2024.

Steven’s other TV series include Taboo, starring Tom Hardy; SEE for Apple; A Christmas Carol; and Great Expectations and SAS Rogue Heroes (both in production.)  He has directed and written three films (Hummingbird, Locke and Serenity)

Steven received a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2020.  He also has the highest honour from the Royal Television Society’s Midlands Centre, the Baird Medal, along with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Worcester, an Honorary Degree of Doctor from Birmingham City University and a UCL Honorary Fellowship.

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Seetha Kumar

CEO ScreenSkills

Seetha is CEO of ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen industries, which is supporting economic recovery and future innovation and growth across the nations and regions by investing in the skilled and inclusive workforce who are critical to global success.

She is also a member of the Creative Diversity Network board and the Royal Television Society Education Committee and was formerly VP of Pearson Qualifications International, following leadership roles across Pearson’s vocational and higher education teams. She worked in television in senior roles including BBC Online controller and launching BBC HD (the UK’s first free-to-air public service HD channel) and in a variety of production roles at the BBC and Channel 4.

Dan Lee

MasterChef: The Professionals winner, 2021

Dan Lee is the reigning Champion of 2021 MasterChef: The Professionals.

With a unique style of cooking, combining South-East Asian flavours with European cooking styles Dan brings a freshness and charm to the industry.

Having been brought up in Birmingham in the UK with a mixed background of Irish, English and Cantonese heritage, Dan developed an understanding of foreign flavours and how they could work together from an early age.

With a passion for street food and its affordability, Dan has worked in many professional Michelin Star kitchens including Stagiaires at Purnells, Table 65, Nahm and Ikoyi.

Following his success at MasterChef, Dan has been approached by additional world famous kitchens and chefs for collaborations, festivals and residencies.

Kevin Lygo

Managing Director, Media and Entertainment, ITV

Kevin is ITV’s Managing Director, Media and Entertainment leading the division that plans to supercharge ITV’s streaming ambitions whilst optimising its broadcast channels. He heads up the recently announced, enlarged content budget for commissioning and acquisitions across all platforms, which includes significant new investment for "digital first" commissions.

Lygo became ITV’s Director of Television in 2016, and he joined ITV in August 2010 as Managing Director of ITV Studios.

Prior to joining ITV Studios, Lygo was Channel 4’s Director Television and Content, with responsibility for the Channel 4 Group’s portfolio of channels. He also spent two years as Director of Programmes at Five.

Lygo began his career in television in the early 1980s, as a BBC general trainee.

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John McVay OBE

Chief Executive of Pact

John McVay OBE is the Chief Executive of Pact the UK’s leading Trade Association for Film, TV, Animation, Children’s and Digital production companies.  John contributes to many UK government and international policy fora on the creative industries, broadcasting, trade and investment.  John has extensive experience of policy development across all aspects of broadcasting and television production and leads on all Pact policy development in the UK and Europe.  He also maintains excellent relationships with all of the UK’s major political parties and the devolved assemblies and parliaments.

John is currently; a Board member of the Creative Diversity Network, a member of the Creative Industries Council (CIC), an industry advisor to the AHRC Creative Industries programme, Industry board member of the British Film Commission, a board member of the Creative Cities Convention and is industry lead on the UK Government backed £500m Production Restart scheme.

Jed Mercurio OBE

Executive Producer, HTM Television

Jed Mercurio’s latest series Bodyguard and Line of Duty have both topped the ratings for UK television drama. With other credits including Bodies, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Critical, Strike Back, The Grimleys and Cardiac Arrest, his work has achieved award wins/nominations at the Golden Globes, Emmys, BAFTAs, Royal Television Society, Broadcasting Press Guild and Writers’ Guild.

Jed co-founded the production company HTM Television, through which he has produced acclaimed dramas such as Bloodlands, Stephen and Trigger Point. He is a former hospital physician and Royal Air Force officer, having originally planned to specialise in aviation medicine.

Leo Pearlman

Executive Producer and Managing Partner, Fulwell 73 Group

Since the creation of Fulwell 73, Leo has produced, and exec produced multiple hours of television and numerous theatrical feature films. These titles include the likes of “Hitsville: The Motown Story” (Showtime), “Training Days” (YouTube), “I am Bolt” (Universal Pictures), “The Class of 92” (Universal Pictures), “Sunderland Till I Die” (Netflix), “Cinderella” (Sony/Columbia) and many more. A list of projects that have enjoyed commercial success across the board and critical acclaim that includes Emmys, Grammys, National Film Awards, Brit Awards, International Film Festival appearances and nominations at a number of other prestigious events.

Alongside this Leo is the Managing Partner of the Fulwell 73 group, heading up and overseeing all commercial matters both in the UK and US. His role is one that encompasses business development and growth targeted strategy, as well as the day to day running of the ever-expanding Fulwell team and production slates. ​​

Ruth Pitt

Ruth Pitt, media consultant and Creative Cities Convention director

Ruth has been director of the Creative Cities Convention since 2017.

In 2015 she founded the media consultancy Under The Moon Ltd and was creative consultant for the Leeds City Region’s successful campaign to become the home of Channel 4’s new National HQ, which garnered a Royal Television Society award for outstanding contribution to television.

Under The Moon advises on and supports the development of screen, cultural and creative industries. The company also runs bespoke mentoring networks including the Commissioning Mentor Network for Channel 4, which has for six years helped develop diverse and next-gen talent across the indie sector.

Ruth is an IPC Magazines trained journalist, reporter/presenter at Yorkshire Television, founder of Real Life Productions and editor of BBC Everyman. She went on to run network documentary and factual production departments for Granada Television, The BBC and Tiger Aspect Productions and was for two years Executive Director of Screen England.

Ruth a regular chair at festivals and events, specialising in political interviews and screen sector issues.

Siân Price

Creative Director at Yeti

Siân Price is Creative Director at Yeti and exec produces most of their output. In recent years, Yeti programmes have won multiple awards including two RTS, a Bafta, a Celtic Media Award and an International Broadcast Award – along with a Grierson nomination. Yeti have won commissions for a range of broadcasters and are the only Welsh company in Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund. Recent productions include The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge with Sandi Toksvig (More4), 48 Hours to Victory (Channel 4) and The Asian Welsh (BBC1).

Prior to Yeti, Siân was an award-winning programme maker and showrunner on landmark series including Coast (BBC2), The Great Guide (BBC2) The People Remember (BBC1) and Time Team (Channel 4). Described as a factual programming powerhouse, she’s led teams of 5 through to 60 on a range of output from blue-chip specialist factual through to formats, as-live events and obs-doc series.

Siân is also a multi-award-winning radio producer and author of the best-selling book ‘If You’re Reading This’ – a history of soldier’s farewell letters.

Adil Ray OBE

Actor, Writer, Presenter & Creative Director of Cornered Tiger

Adil Ray OBE is star and creator of the hit BBC1 sitcom Citizen Khan.  After five series, the show has become one of the UK’s much-loved sitcoms, broadcasting worldwide.

Adil has received five RTS Awards, including Best Comedy, Best Comedy Performance and Best Current Affairs. In 2021, Adil was presented with Asian Media Personality of The Year Award.

In 2020, Adil appeared in his first feature film, Blithe Spirit alongside Dame Judi Dench.  In 2021, Adil played lawyer, Imran Khan in the highly acclaimed ITV drama Stephen.

Adil has presented BBC1’s Have I Got News For You, appeared on Who Do You Think You Are and can currently be seen presenting ITV’s Good Morning Britain and Lingo.

In 2016, Adil was awarded Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to media & broadcasting.

In 2021, assisted by Debbie Manners (BBC, Keo, Hat Trick), Adil launched Birmingham based production company: Cornered Tiger.

Peter Salmon

Executive Chairman, Banijay UK

Peter Salmon was appointed Executive Chairman of Banijay UK in September 2020 overseeing a portfolio of 23 unscripted and scripted production labels, with a focus on content and creativity.

Prior to this, Peter was Chief Creative Officer of the Endemol Shine Group, which was acquired by Banijay in July 2020. Leading the group’s producers, championing ideas and supporting the international rollout of content across linear and digital platforms, Peter was also the creative lead for the companies in the UK group.

A highly experienced programme maker and commissioner, Peter has held numerous leadership positions in broadcasting and production at Channel 4, Granada TV, The Television Corporation and the BBC, including Controller of BBC One, Director of BBC Studios and Director of BBC England and in a career spanning over 30 years.

Charlie Sawers

Course assistant, SharpFutures

Charlie is a Course Assistant on the Content Creatives scheme held by SharpFutures and partnered with Channel 4. She grew up in Blackpool and lived in Manchester before starting her creative journey studying Scriptwriting for Film & TV at Bournemouth University. Though Charlie enjoyed learning about the craft of story, she felt lost in herself. So after graduating, Charlie decided to pursue her dream of moving to Japan where she immersed herself into the culture working as an Assistant Language Teacher.

Coming back in 2020 during the pandemic, Charlie wanted to make the best use of her time and boost her skills as entry-level creative media jobs and schemes were sparse or postponed. In September 2020, she enrolled as a Master’s student in Media Production (TV Drama Strand) at University of Salford. It was during this time she had the opportunity to find her artistic voice by writing/directing her own short films and creative content. Alongside her studies, she worked as a runner at Red Production Company Ltd., and as a POD member for SharpFutures.

Now a Master’s graduate, Charlie is committed to bringing more unique storytelling on our screens and elevating diversity within the creative sector.

Maya Sondhi

Screenwriter and Creator, DI Ray

Maya is a Birmingham born actress and the creator, writer and one of the executive producers of DI Ray.

This is her first original television series. Having been part of Stage 2 in Birmingham and National Youth theatre she then went on to train at LAMDA. After several years of acting Maya decided to pursue screenwriting. She was part of the series writers room for the TV adaptation of Adam Kay's bestseller This Is Going To Hurt for Sister Pictures/BBC.  She was script consultant on The Trouble with Maggie Cole for Genial/ITV and also part of the writing team developing and storylining the second series of Ackley Bridge for The Forge/C4 as well as writing an episode.

Maya has written two episodes of Eastenders, an episode of Mount Pleasant and a 5-minute monologue for the second series of The Break for BBC iPlayer. She was also part of the writing team for the last series of The Kumars produced by Hat Trick for Sky 1.

Maya's debut play SKET premiered at the Park Theatre in April 2016. She was named on the BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017.

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Andy Street

Mayor of the West Midlands

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands in May 2017 and re-elected in 2021. The role’s primary function is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority, with significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.

Starting on the John Lewis graduate scheme, Andy rose to become Managing Director, overseeing one of the most successful periods in the company’s history.

He was Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016. Additionally, he has been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group.

Andy is passionate about the arts and was awarded the CBE for services to the national economy.

 

Jon Swain

Managing Director, Shine Television

Jon Swain is Managing Director at Shine Television. A leading producer of factual production, Shine’s extensive output includes the MasterChef titles (BBC One), Hunted, (Channel 4) Rick Stein’s Cornwall (BBC Two), Changing Rooms (Channel 4) and many more.

Before joining Shine, Jon was Head of Unscripted Productions at BBC Studios for 5 years, where he oversaw over 300 hours of output for the BBC, winning a range of new commissions from 4, ITV, YouTube and BBC3. Prior to that, he held various roles at Optomen Television, including Head of Factual Entertainment and Director of Development, and executive produced and developed a range of formats from The F Word to Great British Menu.

 

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Kirsty Wark

Host of Creative Cities Convention

Our host Kirsty Wark has built up a reputation as one of the UK’s most formidable and versatile television journalists. She is best known as an anchor on the BBC’s flagship news and current Affairs show Newsnight.

Born in Dumfries and now based in Glasgow, Kirsty’s broadcasting career began in 1976 when she joined the BBC as a graduate researcher. She produced a range of radio programmes in Scotland before spending time in London as a producer on Radio Four’s The World at One and PM. In 1983 she moved to television to produce Reporting Scotland and was the first woman to edit the programme.

Kirsty was one of the first journalists to arrive on the scene when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up in the skies above Lockerbie in 1988.  Two years later, she famously locked horns with Margaret Thatcher in a headline making interview which propelled her into the national spotlight.  In addition to political reporting, Kirsty presents many arts and cultural programmes; career highlights have included interviews with Madonna, Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, Damien Hirst and George Clooney, to name just a few. She has fronted many documentaries for BBC Television including the critically acclaimed Blurred Lines: The New Battle of the Sexes and more recently The Insider’s Guide To The Menopause which was nominated for a BAFTA.

Away from the studio lights, food is her passion. She reached the final in Celebrity MasterChef in 2011 and was crowned top celebrity baker on The Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief.

Kirsty has several major accolades to her name including BAFTA Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, Journalist of the Year and Best Television Presenter.

Deborah Williams

Executive Director, Creative Diversity Network

Deborah Williams is Executive Director of The Creative Diversity Network (CDN), the body funded by the UK’s major broadcasters, bringing together organisations across UK television to promote, celebrate and share good practice around diversity. Deborah is responsible for delivering the ground-breaking Diamond monitoring scheme, Doubling Disability – the broadcaster-backed initiative to double the number of disabled people working off screen in British television, online resources and the Television Diversity Awards. 

Prior to joining CDN, Deborah was Diversity Manager at the British Film Institute (BFI), where she opened and managed a £1m lottery fund, designed the BFI diversity standards for film and contributed to the BFI business plan and strategy. Deborah was also the Senior Officer for Equality and Diversity at Arts Council England. Deborah is an award winning actor, writer and theatre maker with 20 years’ experience in creating and presenting distinctive, high quality work challenging ideas of difference and diversity.