Sheffield Creative Guild – New Board of Directors

Here’s all you need to know about who’s on the new Board of Directors at the Sheffield Creative Guild.


Max Cunningham

I have been a board member since the initiation of the Creative Guild and was part of the bid writing group which helped to put together the original funding application to make the Guild happen. Therefore, I am incredibly invested in the life of the Guild and all that it stands for in Sheffield. For so long there has been a need for unity; for an infrastructure to connect us all. I believe this is what the Guild is and can be.

I’m a theatre director, facilitator and academic researcher and through my varied work I am connected to a number of networks in Sheffield. My theatre company, The Bare Project, is an active part of the growing fringe theatre scene in the city and is a resident company at both Theatre Delicatessen and Bank Street Arts. I have worked extensively with the University in various departments as a teacher, with their outreach programmes and as a researcher. I also co-facilitate the What Next Sheffield chapter which links up to a national movement with great lobbying power for the creative sector.

Heather Ditch
I’m a freelance brand planner and writer and was lucky enough to first get involved with the Guild in its early infancy, winning the branding project last year. I worked with the board, and with Jane (Guild staff member), to really explore what the Guild could and should be, what was needed and how we could connect and nourish our city’s creative community. I’m convinced of its capacity to make all of us as individuals and as a collective, stronger, more fruitful and more self-sufficient, and I want to be there when that happens.

I bring years (yikes – about 20) of professional experience in the creative industries (in design, branding, music) and a love of this city and enthusiasm for its unique nature. In putting myself forward to be on the board it’s that vision that I have in mind – of a city alive and connected, through all types and stages of creativity. The key to this is numbers and activity – I want to spread the word, convince everyone of our collective power and get us all busily exchanging time, thoughts, ideas, expertise and skills until we have the rich, vibrant bubbling soup of creativity the Guild should be.

Jonny Douglas
My creative studio specialises in ‘difference engineering’ for projects and products; working across a diverse range of disciplines and areas. I also work as trainer, facilitator and compere in both the corporate world; for banks, law firms, SMEs and networking organisations; and in education for universities, colleges, schools and programs for NEETs. For the city, I (with my business partner Pennie Raven) have a wealth of experience curating, organising and running a range of distinctly different events, as well as one-off events and launch parties, including PechaKucha Sheffield – a 20×20 presentation evening part of a global, viral network of over 900 cities across the world, showcasing Sheffield-to-Sheffield; and Sheffield SOUP – a live, social crowd-funding event, providing no-strings micro grants for Sheffield people’s ideas.

Strategically, I am an accomplished and inspirational change catalyst; dedicating time to being at the heart of a diverse range of cultural and strategic initiatives. I have a wealth of experience in ‘making things happen’, always seeking to push boundaries through creativity, collaboration and harnessing talent; striving to make the world better for everyone. I also sit on a number of advisory boards on Enterprise, Economic Strategy and the CDI Sector for Sheffield.

Luisa Golob
I have been the Chair of Sheffield Creative Guild for the past 18 months. It has been such a pleasure and adventure to help create the Guild from nothing but an application to a real thriving cooperative with over 250 members.

The rest of the week I manage Ignite Imaginations, a small arts charity, On the Edge, a micro-brewery and Sharrow Lantern Carnival. I have been working within the creative sector in Sheffield for the past 8 years and love seeing the city develop, expand and embrace its artistic community. I can bring my previous experience to the newly elected board, support with the development of the organisation and its future endeavours and be part of the energy that strives to bring our creative individuals and groups together to network, learn and share.

James Lock
I consider myself to be deeply embedded in the Sheffield creative and social enterprise sector. As an individual artist, I have been performing and publishing spoken word and poetry in Sheffield for over ten years. As a facilitator, founder and organisational director for the social enterprise Opus Independents I have conceived, developed and delivered a number of creative, cultural, artistic and political projects in Sheffield over the last eight years, perhaps most notably Now Then Magazine, a monthly free to pick up magazine reaching 30,000 readers each month, containing a mixture of artistic, cultural and political content. In my work at Opus I am responsible for a variety of different functions including income generation, marketing, HR, and organisational direction. I particularly enjoy conceiving of new projects which have social benefit and delivering them sustainably, working with new people and engendering solutions to new problems.

I have been a board member of Sheffield Creative Guild since its inception and was also part of the bid writing team which developed its initial conception. I believe strongly in the Guild’s values of working together and achieving more through realising the sum of our parts.

Neil McSweeney
My connections to Sheffield’s music scene run back nearly a quarter of a century. As a performer, song writer, recording maker and releaser, record buyer, promoter and gig-goer I have contributed to and benefited from creative collaborations throughout this time. I joined the Creative Guild at its launch and would like to deepen my involvement as a board member primarily because I think that an organisation like this has something to offer Sheffield music. I read with interest last summer’s collaborative report from Sensoria and the University of Sheffield, ‘A Snapshot of Sheffield’s Music Sector’. This, along with the work of organisations such as Sound Diplomacy, reinforces to me the usefulness of considering the music activity in a city in its totality. We operate in an ecosystem. And if the parts are indeed all connected, I support any opportunity for more effective communication between them.

To the board, I offer experience of management, marketing and strategic planning. I have been involved in planning and implementing marketing strategies for concert promotions (most recently Opus presents…Gadabout), record labels (most recently Hudson Records) and academic courses (most recently the ongoing work for the MA Music Management which I help to run at the University of Sheffield’s Music Department). Additionally, I have held management roles (academic and non-academic) at both Sheffield Hallam and University of Sheffield and have experience of recruitment, line management and project management. I have been responsible for strategic development of central services as well as academic programmes. In addition to managing day to day delivery, this work has involved setting and working towards overarching strategic goals in the light of the wider political context.

Hannah Roast
I have a proven record of lively and committed engagement within the creative sector as an artist and arts facilitator. Since graduating with a BA hons in Fine Art I have been actively involved in community arts charities at a range of fantastic events across Sheffield as well as self-initiated collaborative projects and events.

While facilitating creative projects, I have worn many different hats: working as a workshop leader for Sharrow Lantern Festival, volunteer for Sensoria, and a social media/marketing intern for the Festival of Debate. I have project-managed several fundraising exhibitions, most notably a successful fundraising auction for the Save Devonshire Street Campaign which raised £2,200 in a single night. In 2012 I won the Jack Vickers award for young writers in association with The New Art Exchange. I have spent the last year working in HR.

I am excited to put my ideas, skills and experience to good use within the Guild and see how this ambitious project unfolds over the next year. More importantly, I am keen to find out what would make the Guild work for you; I want to see the Guild become a self-sustaining resource for its members in an atmosphere of mutual support, generosity and daring.

Find out more about the Sheffield Creative Guild and how you can become a member here.


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