Leaders in Residence
Our Leaders in Residence are a high calibre, effective network of individuals, providing the University with influential connections with a breadth of experience and specialist knowledge.
How it works
Staff nominate prospective Leaders in Residence annually, and following a shortlisting process, the Executive Dean invites them to join the network. The tenure is for a period of three years and the Executive Dean reviews contributions on an annual basis.
The support Leaders in Residence offer is pro bono. The position offers the kudos and feel-good factor associated with collaborating with the University and supporting future talent in their sector.
Leaders in Residence are invited to engage each academic year through activities that enhance the student experience, contribute to research projects or positively impact the University’s reputation.
To enhance the student experience, they contribute to teaching, learning and employability. This could be through engaging in any of (but not limited to) the following ways:
- masterclasses, keynotes, Q&A sessions
- providing an innovative project for students to work on
- attending the unique-to-UCLan cJAM careers events where students pitch for placement opportunities
- advising on curriculum relevant to industry
Pictured above L-R are Leaders in Residence Kevin Gopal and Robert Nisbet in a speed pitching session at one of our cJAM events, where students pitch for opportunities including placements, job shadowing, mentoring and job interviews.
Meet the network
Please note: Views and opinions of members in the network are their own and not that of the University.
Gary is a brand expert, specializing in building and positioning brands with an emphasis on creating connections between brands and popular culture. As a mature student, he graduated from UCLan in 1998 with First Class Honours in BA Fashion Promotion.
Julie is one of the West End's most versatile entertainers, with a distinctive voice and unmatched comic timing. Julie is best known for her stellar performing career, including her roles in Mamma Mia, Fame, Ordinary Days, Once Upon A Time at the Adelphi and tick, tick…BOOM!, as well as her long-running success in Avenue Q.
Andy trained at Central School of Speech and Drama and was an early recipient of the Stage One Producers Bursary. He is Executive Producer of Perfect Pitch, a company he and partner Wendy created for the development and production of new British musical theatre.
Robert is a highly driven entrepreneur with a proven record of accomplishment, successfully creating and operating several companies within the technology, leisure, and property sectors
Paulette has been Curator at Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool since 2017. Founded in 1911, Grundy Art Gallery draws on the contemporary context and heritage of Blackpool to deliver an ambitious programme of exhibitions and events.
Halima is an artist and sculptor known for her work characterised by the interaction of bold, simple forms overlaid with intricate surfaces, stemming from a fascination with the symbolism of repetitive motifs.
Cathy is an author of well-known book series such as The Lost and Found and The Chocolate Box Girls.
Becky studied graphic design at the University of Creative Arts, Epsom and started her career in publishing as junior designer at Random House Children’s Books.
Alex is an academic and entrepreneur in the media business. He teaches marketing, entrepreneurship and the business of entertainment at Oxford University and the National Film and Television School. He is on the boards of UNICEF UK and the Halle Orchestra.
Nic is the owner, designer, and maker behind Whitehall Studio. She is inspired by the past and heritage; her final collection was based around derelict houses in Burnley and LS Lowry.
Christine has a history of working in the performing arts industry and commercial sector. She is skilled in publishing, film, event management, theatre, art, music and festivals working in Riverside Studios and Time Out group
With more than 40 years’ experience in the industry, actor George Costigan has become a familiar face on television, stage and on the big screen. Raised in Salford, his acting career began in the mid-1970s. In the early 1980s, he appeared in series’ such as ‘The Barchester Chronicles’ and the BBC production of Shakespeare’s’ ‘The Life and Death of King John.’
Neil specialises in university IP commercialisation and directs various portfolio companies including Alusid, Celerum and Pulsiv Solar. He plays an active role in helping with their commercialisation.
Paul is a creative, strategic, and resourceful user-experience leader with a wealth of experience delivering industry leading e-commerce websites for the likes of Yahoo!, the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Reuters.
Barry is the managing director and publisher of Chicken House Books. He has had an impressive career in publishing. After completing an English degree at Cambridge, he joined Penguin Books in 1977.
Carolyn is the museum development manager for Lancaster City Council. She manages and develops Lancaster City’s Museums – the City, Maritime, Cottage, and Kings Own Royal Regiment Museum - to help develop the role and profile of heritage within the Lancaster area.
Mario is a diverse creative leader at the BBC, having worked across multiple genres and Platforms over many years. Previously, he has also worked with the UK’s broadcasters and publishers, several commercial agencies on prominent brands and titles.
Richard is the co-founder of Skiddle.com and the Highest Point Festival. He started Skiddle with Ben Sebborn in 2001 out of frustration from the lack of online information about events they loved, to create a what’s on guide.
Fred is the founder and managing director of LYPH. LYPH is an avant-garde clothing company creating men’s and women’s clothing for the culture and context of now - whilst respect for the past is important, re-creating the past is not. Representing a balance between modern aesthetics and innovative function, UK brand LYPH offers an interchanging look for both genders.
Jackie has been the BBC’s Head of Children’s Acquisitions and Independent Animation since 2015, delivering programming for 0-16 year olds. As well as overseeing the strategy for her department, Edwards was responsible for pre-buying and acquiring live action and animated programming.
Lynn is a professional linguist (MITI – French, MCIL - Spanish). Lynn founded Lifeline Language Services Ltd in 1990 to make international communication accessible to all. In 2016 she was recognised by the ATC for her outstanding contribution to the industry.
Jon spent eight years working in senior roles for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. First as head of policy at MLA North West, and then as chief executive of MLA West Midlands in 2006.
While in her final year at UCLan in 2009, actor Mandip Gill was auditioning with some of the country’s leading casting teams on prolific television shows. For a couple of years after graduating, Mandip worked in theatres and on theatre tours before landing the role of Phoebe McQueen on Channel 4’s long-running soap ‘Hollyoaks’ where she stayed for three and a half years.
From an early age, John was interested in radio…as a boy, he tuned in to the launch of BBC Radio Merseyside - just a few miles from where he lived - on the family radiogram, as was the style of the time! Back in those days, there wasn’t an obvious path into the media - but Gilly didn’t let that stop him, and whilst working at his local Co-Op he began to record radio advertisements and learn about the business.
Kevin is a Manchester-based journalist who has been editor of Big Issue North since 2007. Educated in Bolton and at Manchester Polytechnic, now Manchester Metropolitan University, he began his career in 1987 with a job as reporter and subsequently assistant editor with SiYu, a national Chinese community magazine published from Manchester’s Chinatown. He changed direction in 1990 with his next job, moving into business journalism and a role as the first international correspondent for Pharmaceutical Executive, the market leading US monthly.
In 2005, after leaving a career in engineering and mortgaging everything he owned, Patrick bought Norton & Sons, a Savile Row tailor. In 2012, he began a collaboration with Debenhams on the brand Hammond & Co which has gone on to be the most successful designer collaboration in the store’s history.
Roger is an established theatre director who has directed many award-winning productions for regional theatres, national tours and in the West End.
Janet trained and worked as an actor before moving into production. She was a Celebrity Producer on award winning series for BBC and Talkback Productions before moving to BBC Radio Drama to produce and direct dramas. Following a stint producing and casting comedies for Hat Trick North and Channel K, Janet jumped into casting full time. As a Casting Director Janet cast over 200 episodes of Coronation Street, 4 series of Citizen Khan for BBC1, Hebburn for BBC2, plus shows for Sky, E4 and BBC3. Janet also cast plays for Gap Theatre and The Dukes Lancaster and several films including the award-winning feature In Another Life.
Ann is a partner at SSB Solicitors Limited. She is experienced in all aspects of music business contracts, copyright and protection of rights, Ann particularly enjoys working with the talent and entrepreneurial side of the business.
After 35 years as a journalist, Keith is now a successful author, publisher and media consultant. From 2013 to 2018, he was the Editor of the Express and Star in Wolverhampton, one of Britain’s best-selling regional newspapers.
A director by trade, Matt works on serial continuing dramas such as Casualty, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. Starting out as a runner and working his way up into the Assistant Director team, he is one of the youngest directors to have been the lead on such shows and has made a name for pushing boundaries and creating visually exciting episodes.
Ken is the CEO of Chesnara UK and a UK qualified actuary, with broad senior executive experience within life insurance and reinsurance sectors, both in the UK and internationally. He has regulatory experience as the Director of Insurance at the UK's FSA.
Jake is the Chair of CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Working Part. He graduated from the University of Reading with an MA in international children’s literature and moved on to get a PG Diploma at Northumbria University.
Peter joined Lime Pictures in October 2015 taking up the position of Head of Casting. In his position as Head of Casting he works as the lead Casting Director and oversees the casting needs for all Lime Drama and Children's output.
Andrew is the author of two short story collections, ‘Cages’ (2006) and ‘The Unusual Death of Julie Christie’ (2008). His first novel, ‘The Loney,’ was originally published in 2014 by Tartarus Press and then John Murray a year later, after which it won the 2015 Costa ‘First Novel’ award and the 2016 British Book Industry awards for ‘Debut Novel’ and ‘Book of the Year.’ ‘The Loney’ has been translated into almost twenty languages and is currently being developed as a feature film.
Guitarist Aziz Ibrahim is a creative producer, music designer and composer who has branched out as label manager, content creator, curator and speaker. He has worked with Ian Brown, Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Simply Red, Asia and many other globally celebrated artists.
Timothy specialises in cultural development and has more than 10 years’ experience in the cultural sector. Timothy was seconded into the Preston Guild 2012 team for three years to support the delivery of the year-long civic and cultural programme for the city before heading up the Preston’s Events and Cultural Services leading on creative programme development.
Ezra has numerous television, film and theatre credits including roles in Dr Strange (Marvel), Three Girls (BBC) and Peter Gynt (National Theatre).
Rudi is an intellectual property sports lawyer and the director of Legal and Business Affairs for Grand Central Sports. He is also the founder of Gray & Co, a firm which was established in January 1996 to provide legal services specifically to cover all aspects of the entertainment industry.
Richard currently works on Naga Munchetty's programme on BBC Radio 5 Live. Prior to this, he led the politics coverage on the Emma Barnett show, where he created agenda-setting interviews with national politicians.
Emma is a picture book director and publisher at Hachette Children’s Group. After 20 years working with Hachette Children's Group in London, she took on a new role as picture book development director based in Manchester.
Richard D Lewis is currently chairperson of Richard Lewis Communications Ltd. He founded the Berlitz School of Languages in Finland in 1955, and later opened a further five schools in Finland.
Lisa is a digital publishing consultant at Women in News and World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and is also a member of its supervisory head.
Rizwana is a creative designer and fashion designer at RM Design Studio LTD. She is a talented and passionate fashion designer with numerous skills in menswear and womenswear on multi-product design.
Michelle is a senior editor and head of online and TV News for BBC North West. She is a leader of the team that delivers news to the North West Online and on TV, reaching millions online and making the most watched news programme in the North West.
Aaron is a group managing director and CEO at Tokyo Industries Limited, operator of 32 of the UK’s coolest clubs, bars and festivals. He is also a director of the Night Time Industry Association, a government advisory panel made up from key operators of the UK’s late night economy, including music venues, clubs, late bars, festival and concert promoters, record labels and the fashion industry.
Shaun is a concept artist currently working in the UK games industry at TT Fusion. Shaun started his career as a junior artist working for TT Games on the LEGO franchise where he worked on nine published titles. He then moved on to work at Atomhawk Design as an in-house concept artist.
Paul Morley is a Stockport born rock 'n' roll journalist. He first made a name for himself as a journalist for the British music paper, New Musical Express (NME) in 1977 and around that time he had also been the manager as well as the producer of the Manchester punk band The Drones. After leaving NME, Paul co-founded a brand-new record label in 1983 with Trevor Horn and his wife Jill Sinclair and worked as spokesperson and head of marketing.
Sir Andrew is an acclaimed poet, biographer, critic and lecturer. He won the Newidgate Prize for his poem ‘Inland’ while still a student at University College, Oxford and has continued to win awards for his poetry and other works throughout his career including the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize, the Whitbread Prize for Biography and the de Moffat Prize for Art Criticism. He became the UK’s Poet Laureate in 1999, a title he held onto until he retired in 2009. Across his career, he has written biographies on the likes of Phillip Larkin, Keats and The Lamberts, critical studies on the works of Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas and others, a script for the Royal Ballet and his autobiography.
Eva is the Director of Film Archive at The National Archives of Estonia. Eva graduated from UCLan in 2010 and moved on to achieve her PhD at the Estonian Academy of Arts.
Robert is the director, nations and regions of the Rail Delivery Group which is the trade body for the train industry. He is the broadcast spokesman, so he spends a lot of his life being interviewed in television and radio studios around the country.
Carl Palmer is a drummer’s drummer. A consummate professional, a brilliant technician and a dynamic showman, he has thrilled listeners and audiences alike for nearly four decades with some of music’s most memorable bands including Atomic Rooster, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Asia and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Laurie is the director at The Super Slow Way where they commission artists to work with communities along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal corridor in Pennine Lancashire, hosted by Canal & River Trust working with partners across the area to deliver transformational projects in collaboration with the people that live and work there.
Samantha Rhodes is the Director of the Bluecoat Display Centre, one of the country’s earliest independent craft galleries located for over 60 years in the Bluecoat, Liverpool. She has more than 20 years’ experience working in the contemporary craft sector and a broad knowledge of craft makers and their practice. Samantha has curated exhibitions over many years at the Bluecoat Display Centre and has co-curated temporary craft exhibitions including Collect at the V&A and Saatchi Gallery as well as internationally in the USA.
Naomi is a freelance artist based in the North West. She has an extensive background in illustration alongside an MA in digital art and has used this experience to grow her own illustration business over the past six years.
Kamila was born in Warsaw but has spent most of her life living in Manchester. She is currently i-D’s Northern Correspondent, writing about music and popular culture. Kamila also contributes to other magazines including Mixmag, Dazed, Vice, FACT and Interview Magazine and previously worked as the Music Editor at The Skinny North. In 2017, she completed a Creative Writing PhD at Kingston University and has published academic articles on Bret Easton Ellis, grime and clubbing.
Born in Mexico City in 1947, Michael Schmidt is a poet, novelist, academic, translator and publisher. He has witten more than 15 books, including five poetry collections. His poems have been translated into more than 10 languages including Arabic, French and Lithuanian. His book ’Lives of Poets’ (2002) was on the New York Times ‘Books of the Year’ list and he received the Los Angeles Times Book Award for ‘Green Island’ (1984).
Ben is the co-founder of Skiddle.com and the Highest Point Festival. He started Skiddle in 2001 initially as a what's on guide, out of frustration for there not being enough online information for the events they love.
Dmitry is an independent digital publishing consultant, helping media and other sectors, involved in content creation, do 'digital' better - from transformation and strategy to culture change and innovation.
Cat is an accomplished English actress from Blackburn, Lancashire, best known for her roles in The Bill, Ordinary Lies and Killing Eve. She went to the National Youth Music Theatre and also trained with the Oldham Theatre Workshop
Lisa Simpson is the founder of Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance (LSID) and holds a unique position in dance. She coaches, trains and support others by using a revolutionary technique known in the industry as a Simpson Board; a choreography tool that enables people of all abilities to choreograph their own work. Lisa also has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and no verbal communication.
Clinton was born in Jamaica in 1952. Like so many families from the Caribbean who came to England to make a better life, his parents left him and his siblings in Jamaica with relatives and then later sent for them. At 14 he was selected as a member of the national under 16’s volleyball squad and at 18 a member of the national under 20’s squad. He went on to train with the senior national squad and went on to achieve success as a player, coach, referee and administrator.
Philip is the co-director of live arts company Angel Club (north), making work regionally and nationally in theatres and public spaces. Passionate about diversity and inclusion within the arts, Philip also leads the Art of the City co-production group for Derelictlive, Preston’s primary producer of contemporary theatre and live performance.
Andy is based in the higher education division of Macmillan Education Publishers and works closely with customers, institutions and stakeholders across the wider Springer Nature Publishing Group. Andy works with business partners to develop the Higher Education business worldwide.
Kevin is a visionary entrepreneurial c-suite executive who leads from the front with game-changing ideas from concept to delivery. He is most famed for his work to the Generation-Z and Millennial audiences in entertainment, professional services, creative, FMCG, and the charity sectors.
Dionne has worked within the British deaf community for more than 20 years in a wide variety of settings ranging from care and education to commercial environments and television.
Ben is a BBC broadcast manager, multi-media professional and creative leader. He has more than 25 years of BBC programme making, storytelling and journalism experience, including big brand BBC campaigns, partnership and community events.
Jon developed a love for film and animation while studying for a degree in Classical Civilization. It took him six years and an MA in Animation at Bournemouth NCCA, before he got his first job in animation at Cosgrove Hall Films.
Ed works as part of the senior leadership team at the largest multimedia publisher in the UK, including the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, responsible for the central news output covering UK and trending news, video and the Reach Live network's late newsdesk operation.
Andy’s journey into studio culture began at the age of 17 at Hamilton Press, Preston, as a trainee paste-up artist. Eventually he found himself at the Lancashire Evening Post where he soon learned about the creative world.
Paul is an international trade advisor at the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. His roles have included logistic movement of goods by air, sea and road modes, both export and import.
Gabriela is a learning solutions designer at World Work Ltd where she is responsible for consulting on, designing and developing tailor-made intercultural learning solutions for WorldWork's global clients.
David is an award-winning musician and businessman who has spent his entire working life in the music, entertainment, technology, intellectual property, and retail industries.
Jon is an independent writer and curator who specialises in modern and contemporary sculpture. He worked at the Henry Moore Foundation for 20 years and was Head of Research at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.
Ness is a children’s picture book and fiction award-winning art director and designer and has worked for many major publishers. Ness has taught at UCLan and on the illustration course at Goldsmiths, London, and design history at the University of Brighton.