Sara Hill – Chair
Currently Chair of the Heart Board, I have lived in Sheffield for 12 years and was involved with the incorporation of Opus Independents in 2008, writing the company’s original mission statement with James Lock. As a Director of the company I managed finance, strategic planning, events and more for several years before leaving to work in events and festivals. I am currently Managing Director of Theatre Deli Sheffield, Director of Sheffield Creative Guild, Director of Peace in the Park Festival and a Trustee at Voluntary Action Sheffield and Migration Matters Festival.
I joined the Opus Heart Board because the work of Opus stretches across and beyond Sheffield, and I wanted to be part of it too. I first encountered Opus professionally through the Festival of Debate. Their advocacy role in creating and supporting change, debate, community, citizenship, democracy and local economies resonated throughout the Festival, as well as throughout the work of Opus.
I have a background in the charity sector, especially in communications and working with volunteers. I am from Sheffield and have spent most of my life living here, but I am continually amazed by the crucial and life-changing work that charities and volunteers do across the city.
I chose to return to academia after a while away. At the moment I’m studying and working in two areas that don’t really have anything in common, except that I enjoy them both but in different ways. For my MA at the University of Sheffield I’m focusing on civil war, ethnic conflict, decolonisation, the British Empire and the learning of history in relation to the Nigeria-Biafra War/Biafra War (1967-1970). There are so many areas of history related to British colonisation and imperialism that are often ignored or hidden, and I think it’s really important to bring attention to this through my research. While doing this I’m working in communications, marketing, project management and collaborations for an independent craft business.
So everything I’ve done or that I’m doing seems to be linked to Opus’ work – charity, community, volunteering, bringing attention to under-represented and hidden voices, and working for an independent brand. Opus does so much, and I think part of my role is to get more people and communities involved.
I’ve been a supporter of Opus for many years and I’m proud to be a member of the Heart Board. I first got involved as a volunteer for Now Then Magazine as a proofreader and have been a board member for a number of years, helping Opus navigate plans and projects in line with its values. In my professional life, I work in communications at a university in Birmingham.
As a Founder of Opus and long-time board member, I have been working with the company since its inception, bringing experience in events, hospitality and social justice campaigning. I’m currently working within an education setting. I have a passion for bettering the lives of the people of Sheffield through arts and culture and am looking forward to discovering how Opus can effect positive change in this new era.
I project-managed the launch of the Manchester print edition of Now Then back in 2012, and continue to volunteer with Opus projects, including editing the Now Then Manchester website. I have since pursued a career in planning, and also volunteer with active travel campaigning groups.
I am the Artistic Director and CEO of queer arts organisation, Andro and Eve. Andro and Eve provide talent development and performance opportunities for queer artists, and spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to come together. I have worked as an artist, designer and producer in the cultural and educational sector for 15 years. Specialising in large-scale participatory arts projects, I have a wealth of experience in partnership working, leadership and communications.
I currently work for Coventry City of Culture as an Associate Producer, working with newly-arrived communities in the city. At the heart of my work is co-creating and collaborating with communities and organisations that bring about social change and inclusivity through arts and culture.
I previously worked for Deer Shed Festival in North Yorkshire as Creative Director, and have extensive experience in the outdoor arts sector as well as other areas such as TV and film. A born and bred Yorkshire gal, whilst at Deer Shed I also ran community projects across the North and West Yorkshire, more recently launching two-day event The Podcast Social Club. Through my position on the Heart Board, I’m excited to continue championing the North and building connections within Sheffield, one of my favourite cities.
In my day job, I work for an organisation that supports local organisations and communities to make their ideas happen and thrive. I love connecting diverse ideas, people and organisations to collaborate and solve societal problems. I have cross-sector experience in policy, compliance, project and events management, frontline support work, fundraising and marketing, with a special interest in initiatives supporting gender equality and social enterprises.
I am the Co-Founder of SheFest, a South Yorkshire feminist festival, and a Trustee for Chilypep. I also sit on the board of Sheffield Social Enterprise Network. I joined Opus as a member of the Heart Board in October 2020.