UK Young Artists would like to thank all the outstanding individuals that have worked with us over the years across our staff and board team. Find out more about them here, and read about our current team below.

UKYA Staff

Michelle Bowen

Michelle Bowen


A highly experienced cultural and creative sector leader and manager with a career including senior positions in the strategic cultural agencies and funding system at both the Arts Council England and Craft Council. Leading and managing major organisational and programme development projects, as well offering as host of client services to both organisations and creative individuals. Thoroughly committed to artistic excellence and driving high quality practice particularly across the contemporary visual arts. She builds trustful influential relationships with colleagues and partners bringing local, national and international contacts and networks to any role. As Strategic Director Michelle will be developing and delivering new partnerships and programmes for UKYA and ensuring that UKYA is the leading organisation for cross disciplinary working, intercultural dialogue and supporting new creative talent from across the UK.


Laura Evans

Laura Evans

Comms & Audience Development Manager / Large scale projects manager

At UK Young Artists, Laura is responsible for spreading the message far and wide and attracting diverse and high quality artist submissions for UKYA’s activities. With her second hat, Laura manages planning, programming and logistics for UKYA’s City Takeovers and international projects. Laura joined UKYA in 2014, and has worked on two of UKYA's City Takeovers and two international large scale projects. As a graduate of MA Performance Practices and BA Performance and Digital Arts at DMU, she is particularly interested in contemporary art and performance with digital technologies. Laura has worked in marketing and project management for other festivals in the region, such as Cultural eXchanges Festival, Story City Festival, University Dance Festival and The Spark Arts for Children.
Laura also works as a part-time lecturer at De Montfort University where she teaches on the BA Performing Arts degree and guest lectures on BA Arts and Festivals Management.


Nick Lawford

Operations Manager

For the last three years Nick has been Fundraising Manager at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, managing a team of six fundraisers, together responsible for generating annual income of more than £1.4 million through community fundraising, individual giving, staff fundraising, events, sponsorship and corporate partnerships.  An experienced fundraiser, Nick was previously Fundraising & Development Manager at Nottingham Playhouse where, for nearly seven years, he was responsible for developing sponsorship, individual giving, large-scale fundraising events, and income from trusts and foundations to support the operation of the theatre.  In his spare time Nick runs a small DIY record label, Hello Thor Records, releasing and publicising new music and promoting events in Nottingham and beyond. 


Vikki Jones

Engagement Coordinator

Vikki is a freelance youth engagement specialist. Over the past decade she has worked with theatre venues, exam boards, national arts festivals and community programmes, all with the focus of getting more young people involved in practical arts and cultural activity. Vikki spent three years working for Trinity College London on the Arts Award programme. Here she helped develop the Arts Award youth network, delivering youth consultations and residential activity and providing pastoral and training support. She most recently lead the Participation team at multi-arts venue Farnham Maltings, managing everything from animation clubs and youth theatres to community teas and outdoor dance programmes.

As a dance graduate Vikki works with the Vcreate collective to deliver dance clubs for primary and secondary schools across Nottinghamshire. Alongside her role with UKYA, Vikki works as Development Manager for the Creative People and Places programme, Made in Corby. Vikki strongly believes that creative and cultural opportunities make communities happier, healthier and safer and is passionately committed to getting as many people as possible to explore their creative selves.


Jade Foster

Projects and Marketing Assistant

Jade is an Independent Curator-Producer and multi-disciplinary Artist exploring mainly Sound, Photography and Performance. Joining UKYA, she will support the UKYA City Takeover: Nottingham 2019 and lead on the development of a fringe event.

Jade is interested in talent development, working with young and emerging artists/curators and has a strong mission to diversify leadership within the arts.

She is currently QUAD / FORMAT International Photography Festival Programme Assistant for Here, There and Everywhere: Africa – a project delivered by a UK-wide consortium led by New Art Exchange, Nottingham which focuses on developing talented artists or curators from the African Region.

She graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art at the University of Derby in 2017 and underwent study at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart in Germany. Since then she has gone on to show work internationally in Denmark, Aarhus on a project supported by the Danish Arts Foundation and become co-founder and director of Divine Locale which is a grassroots and artist-led organisation that is battling graduate retention in the East Midlands.

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Justin Turford

Music and Sound Producer

Justin Turford is a Creative Director for cultural events people Truth & Lies Music, a busy DJ and a highly experienced Production and Stage Manager for music and arts festivals across the UK, including having a busy old time as the Visual Arts and Dance Coordinator for WEYA Festival in 2012. Justin is producing and managing music and sound events for UKYA City Takeover: Nottingham 2019.


Rob Brannen

Rob Brannen is Head of the School of Arts at De Montfort University. The School contains programmes in Arts & Festivals Management, Dance, Drama, Fine Art, Foundation Art & Design, Photography & Video and Performing Arts.

Rob has published, presented papers and led workshops in the areas of pedagogy and performance, new theatre writing and the politics of arts funding.

Rob is a Teacher Fellow of De Montfort University, holds a National Teaching Fellowship award for individual excellence in teaching and is Vice-President of the International University Theatre Association.


Amanda Briggs-Goode

In the role as Head of Department for Fashion, Textiles and Knitwear Design at Nottingham Trent University, Amanda provides subject leadership and management for a busy and creative department

Prior to becoming Head of Department for Fashion, Textiles and Knitwear Design in 2013, Amanda was Principle Lecturer in Textile Design and led on the Chartered Society of Designers accreditation. While in this role she published the key text book Printed Textile Design with Lawrence King Publishers. Amanda has also maintained research interests and for the past ten years has worked with the lace archive which is held within the school and she leads the lace heritage research group.

She co-organised a season of city wide events called Lace:Here:Now in 2013 which included exhibitions, film showings, lace making, an academic symposium and lectures across the main cultural venues in Nottingham, later co-editing a book of the same name. In 2018 she has curated an exhibition ‘Lace Unarchived’ which includes work from the NTU archive and from designers, artists and manufacturers of Nottingham Lace. She has published and exhibited widely on lace and heritage related issues.

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Huw Davies

Huw Davies is Professor of Lens Media at the University of Derby and Visiting Professor at HBU/UCLAN in Baoding, China. As a filmmaker, photographer and curator his work has included commissions for many national and international agencies and broadcasters including; Arts Council England, Scottish Screen, BBC, Discovery Channel, Arte and Canal +, as well as being screened at international film festivals in over twenty-five countries. Huw has an active involvement in a number of arts and cultural organizations he has previously sat on the boards of QUAD and Derby Theatre, and is currently a trustee of UK Young Artists, Artcore and FORMAT International Photography Festival Steering Group. In 2004 he founded the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, based in England’s most northerly town. He was its Artistic Director until 2008 and is currently Chair of its Board of Trustees.

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David McGravie

David is Head of Art and Design at the University of Derby and is responsible for the delivery of this broad curriculum area, from fine art to fashion, textiles to Interior, graphic design through to illustration, animation to product design.

David has a background in product design and related fields and was an early adopter 3D modelling and rapid prototyping and a keen advocate of the benefits these bring to the design process. The integration of digital processes within traditional design has been a key part of his pedagogy and approach to curriculum design.

David has spent a large part of his HE experience working collaboratively with UK, EU and partners overseas. A key supporter of TNE in its broadest sense, he has worked extensively in China and Malaysia amongst other countries, and is well versed in leading and supporting curriculum developments in the EU and OS markets.

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Laura McCafferty

Laura McCafferty uses text, drawing, textile and performance to set up tensions between the trivial and serious. Obsessively gathering images of incidental peculiarities from the ordinary and popular culture, then constructing realities from these varied sources. Creating spaces that sit poised on the threshold of narrative that subtly mess with what’s expected. Currently exploring themes of repetition, permutation and multiplicity. 

Laura is one of the first Alumni from UKYA. She was selected in 2008 to present her work with us at the International Biennale of Young Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean in Bari, Italy.

Laura holds an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths University and a BA in Decorative Arts from Nottingham Trent University, where she now teaches on the Fine Art, Decorative Art and Fashion and Textiles degrees.


Norman Cherry

Norman Cherry was formerly Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Arts at the University of Lincoln. Currently he practices as an independent artist, curator, and consultant. An internationally recognised expert in the field of jewellery, prior to his appointment at Lincoln in 2008, he was Head of the renowned Birmingham School of Jewellery. His work has been exhibited extensively internationally and many of his pieces are held in private and public collections throughout the world. One of his medals is held by the British Museum in their Contemporary Collection. He is a regular speaker at national and international conferences and has undertaken consultancies in several countries, including Brazil, South Africa, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and Jordan. He is also a Visiting Professor at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia.

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Gary Thomas

Gary is co-founder and director of Animate Projects, curating and producing projects at the intersection of film, animation and art. He also works as a Film Programme Manager at the British Council, the UK’s cultural relations organisation. He leads on film for East Asia and China and he is  the Film team’s specialist on animation, experimental moving image, and cross art form practice. He coordinates the advocacy group Animation Alliance UK; he’s a trustee of the National Dance Company of Wales and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.



Deborah Dean

Deborah Dean is the Visual Arts Collections & Exhibitions Manager for Nottingham City Museums and Galleries, based at Nottingham Castle. Her role, with the support of her team, includes overall responsibility for exhibitions, commissioning artists and for the city’s collections of Fine Art, Decorative Art, Costume and Textiles and the Newstead Abbey collection. She has been at the castle since 2007 and is currently leading on the re-display of the art collections as part of the castle's major transformation project.

Prior to this she was Director of Angel Row Gallery Nottingham (1998-2007), during which time she also worked for the City Council on the development of Nottingham Contemporary (2003-2007). She was Manager of Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum (1990-1998) and a board member of Beacon Art Project from 2007-2015. She is currently on the Steering Group of Contemporary Visual Arts, East Midlands Visual Arts.



Martin Knox

Martin Knox works with design, with cultures, he delivers within the spirit of organisations. How they are conceived, trusted, packaged and presented, delivered and received. Sales and profit grow.

Martin has worked with: Next, Sainsbury’s, Boots, BHS, The Post Office, M&S, Schuh, Cancer Research UK, Dixons, Help the Aged, Early Learning Centre, Start-Rite, Poundland, Magnet, Converse, Kangol...amongst others

Veronica Pickering

Veronica Moraa Pickering was born in Kisii, Kenya and moved to the UK with her family in 1968, settling in Nottinghamshire in 1970s. For over 25 years Veronica has worked to support children, families and communities in difficult social and personal difficulites. Her work has focused on assessing the needs of diverse communities and also specific individual needs. She has been appointed and worked closely with the UK courts and by the UN, NGO's and local authorities here in the UK. Veronica has worked for many years as personal coach supporting individuals to achieve and set individual goals. She is currently working as a consultant with Nottingham Trent University.

Veronica is a board member and trustee of a number of organisations in Nottinghamshire. Veronica has for many years been a strong supporter of the arts and its life changing benefits to society. She is married to artist and painter Roy Pickering and has had experience of organising numerous exhibitions and major arts events both in the UK and abroad.

In May 2013 Veronica was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Notttinghamshire.