Meet our Board

As a charitable trust, Freedom Festival Arts Trust has an established Board of Trustees. Each Trustee volunteers their time, expertise, skills and knowledge to the ongoing development of Freedom Festival – we wouldn’t be able to run the festival without them. The Freedom Festival Board meets bi-monthly, with more regular meetings held for Board sub-groups, each of which has a key area of focus such as marketing and programming.

Images courtesy of Anete Sooda and Alison Robinson.

Graham is a retired Professor of French and former Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull. Born in Crewe, educated in Wales and formerly a lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast, Graham originally came to Hull “for a year or two” – he’s still here after more than 40 years.

Graham Chesters (Chair)

Vice Chair of the Larkin Society, Chair of Larkin25 Ltd

John was the Editor of the Hull Daily Mail for 14 years and now runs his own media and communications consultancy. He is a passionate ambassador for Hull and a strong advocate of culture and the arts in the city.

John Meehan (Vice Chair)

Owner, Meehan Media & Comms Ltd

In her current role at the University of Hull, Samantha is part of the Hull 2017 group and plays an instrumental role in the commercial development and marketing of services to business. Samantha is passionate about her home city, and about the capacity of culture to generate pride.

Samantha Madden

Business Development Manager, University of Hull

Mark studied at Hull School of Architecture and has worked in Hull since 1988, on regeneration projects including the Fruit Market. In 2016, Mark visited Sierra Leone with Freedom Festival’s Mikey Martins and other delegates, to explore potential joint projects with Hull’s twin city.

Mark Hodson

Director of Hodson Architects

Prior to joining Northern Stage, Kate was Head of Programming and Talent Development at Hull Truck; she has worked with inspiring artists across the arts spectrum, both in the UK and abroad. Kate played a significant role in Hull's winning UK City of Culture bid.

Kate Denby

Executive Director, Northern Stage

Karen is Trustee of Hull Black History Partnership and supports various Hull community organisations, helping to promote and develop an understanding between Afro Caribbean, black and minority ethnic groups and the wider community. Karen was part of the successful Hull 2017 bid team.

Karen Okra

Community Champion, Hull Black History Partnership

Kate’s previous roles include Development Director Opera North, Director of Policy & Strategy at Yorkshire Culture and CEO of visual arts charity AXIS. Kate is an experienced Board member with expertise in management, marketing, partnership working and fundraising.

Kate Hainsworth

Development Director, Leeds Community Foundation

In her role at Hull College, Sarah has a particular research interest in digital innovation and is responsible for an extensive programme of exhibitions, commissions and external projects. Sarah has strong connections within Hull's cultural landscape.

Sarah Humphreys

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Hull College

Cllr Geraghty has been Hull City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Culture since 2012, but his interest in the arts goes back 45 years. In that time, he chaired the Leisure Committee, Humberside County Council and was involved in launching both Hull Truck and Hull Ice Arena.

Councillor Terry Geraghty

Portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture, Hull City Council

Anna has worked in communications for 13 years. She managed the PR programme for Wilberforce 2007 in Hull, which commemorated the passing of the abolition of the slave trade. Anna was part of a team that looked at creating a lasting legacy after 2007; this ‘legacy’ became Freedom Festival.

Anna Harvatt

Internal Communications and CSR Manager, Arco

Andy has over 30 years’ experience of working in the arts and cultural sector, including developing venues, festivals and art galleries. Andy has worked in Hull since 2000, directing the growth of the Welly Club, FRUIT, Hull Box Office and the Polar Bear pub/music venue.

Andy Balman

Owner/Director of Fruit and Welly Club, Hull Box Office, Polar Bear and Balman Gallery

Rick was born in Hull and returned in 2000, after 30 years working in arts and cultural management across the UK. Rick has worked on various arts projects in Hull, notably 2010’s renowned Larkin with Toads, and is currently Festival Director of the forthcoming Amy Johnson Festival.

Rick Welton

Arts Project Management and Fundraising

A Chartered Public Finance Accountant, Neil is proud to have played a major part in The Deep’s enormous success from its inception. He is passionate about improving the life chances of Hull’s young people and is currently Chair of the Sirius Academy West and North secondary schools.

Neil Porteus

Finance Director, The Deep