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Our Board

Our Board

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

Samantha is a passionate advocate of Hull, being involved in the marketing and regeneration of the city for the last fifteen years. Sam set up Fika Creative to offer marketing advice and help others achieve the same digital marketing success she has enjoyed since starting her award-winning travel, food and lifestyle blog seven years ago.

Samantha Madden

Director, Fika Creative (www.fikacreative.co.uk)

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

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

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

Tanya has over twenty years’ experience in marketing, corporate affairs and communications. With particular expertise in corporate branding and strategy development, she aims to share her skills and knowledge to contribute to an exceptional arts and culture programme for the people living in her home city.

Tanya Childs

Senior Director of Marketing, Europe at Acelity

Sameera is an in-house lawyer for a major global entertainment company. She lives in Hull and is passionate about using arts and culture to engage with the city's young people. Sameera was a trustee of Hull's UK City of Culture and is also a governor and trustee at a local school.

Sameera Anwar West

In-House Counsel, EMEA

Sally is passionate about the Arts, festivals and live events. Her work includes roles with Secret Cinema, Glastonbury Festival and Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Sally first came to Hull in 1997 to study English Literature & Drama and is thrilled to take up this post; her grandparents who fell in love on the Venn Building steps in the 1930’s would be incredibly proud!

Sally Christopher

Freelance Creative Producer & Project Manager

Dave was born on Holderness Road, the next street to where he lives now. He has always been involved in sport but due to a road traffic accident in the early seventies, has been restricted ever since. Dave served an apprenticeship in a local ship yard and started working at the Council in the eighties as a maintenance joiner and progressed to supervisor. He left the Authority in 2011 and became Councillor for Sutton Ward in May 2011.

Councillor Dave Craker

Hull City Council

Ben McKnight is Press & PR Director at Manchester International Festival. He joined the Freedom Festival Board after working as Director of Communications at Hull 2017 and was keen to maintain his links with the city through one of his favourite events. Having previously led on press activity for the Mayor of London’s cultural programme, Ben is a firm believer in the role of arts and culture to create joy, inspire, entertain and bring people together.

Ben McKnight

Press & PR Director, Manchester International Festival

Malcolm is Hull City Council’s lead on Economic Development activity and is responsible for overseeing the ongoing development and delivery of its City Plan, which provides the strategic direction of the city. With over 25 years’ experience in economic development, including experience in the private sector, Malcolm has developed a successful career in economic development. Drawing on his membership of the Institute of Economic Development, he has developed a wide knowledge of related activities and represents the Council on a number of Partnership Boards and Committees.

Malcolm Relph

Cityeconomy manager, Hull City Council