Bristol Cultural Development Partnership (BCDP) employs a small team who produce Bristol Festival of Ideas and work on all the other projects that the company runs.

Andrew Kelly, Director/

Andrew Kelly Nick Smith

Andrew Kelly is Director of Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, Festival of Ideas and Festival of the Future City. His projects include We The Curious, Bristol Legible City, Brunel200, Bristol800 and the annual Bristol Great Reading Adventure. In 2014 he directed Bristol’s programme marking 100 years since the start of the First World War, the largest UK programme marking the centenary. He is a visiting professor at the University of the West of England and has published 15 books on issues ranging from film and cinema history to Brunel and engineering, the future of cities and 100 years of Bristol aerospace.

Naomi Miller, Deputy Director/

Naomi Miller

Naomi joined the BCDP team in November 2018 from Bristol Cathedral, where she has spent the last 4 and a half years reinvigorating the cathedral’s fundraising efforts, enhancing the cathedral’s profile and relationship with the wider city and bringing in new types of programming to the cathedral diary. Prior to her move to the south west, Naomi was responsible for creating the Development office at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich and supporting the fundraising department of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Naomi plays an active part in the cultural life of Bristol, sitting on the board of the Wardrobe Theatre, the advisory of Bristol and Bath Cultural Destinations, the steering group of Bristol Arts Marketing and a DIY Arts Working Group.

Zoë Steadman-Milne, Producer/

Zoe Steadman-Milne

Zoë Steadman-Milne joined Bristol Cultural Development Partnership in 2013. As Producer and Project Manager she oversees the programming, logistics and event management of all Festival of Ideas events and projects, including the Festival of Economics, Young People’s Festival of Ideas and the Bristol City Poet. Prior to this, Zoë produced the Bath Literature Festival from 2005-2013.

Melanie Kelly, Research Director and Project Manager/

Mel at House of Illustration

Melanie Kelly joined Bristol Cultural Development Partnership as its Research Director and Project Manager in 2002. Her BCDP publications include Brunel: In Love with the Impossible (co-editor and author), Darwin: for the Love of Science (co-editor and author), Take Flight: Celebrating Aviation in the West of England Since 1910 (co-author), The Bristol800 Book of Walks (co-author) and The 2017 Festival of the Future City (co-author). She has written support material and children’s editions of books for the Great Reading Adventure since 2003, as well as managing the websites, marketing, artist workshops and other activities that have formed part of the programme. She managed key projects within Brunel200, BAC100 and Bristol2014, as well as the overall marketing, promotion and evaluation of those programmes. She is a graduate of the University of Warwick (Film and Literature BA Hons 1983) and University of Bath (MPhil 2002).

Amy O'Beirne, Project Coordinator and Researcher/

Amy O

Amy O’Beirne is Project Coordinator and Researcher at Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and Manager of the Festival of the Future City. She produced the Bristol and Romanticism walking guide and contributed chapters to the companion book for the 2015 Festival of the Future City and the Bristol800 Book of Walks. She works on logistics and event management for the Coleridge Series and Festival of Ideas events. Prior to joining BCDP, Amy was a student at University of Bristol where she gained an MSci in Geography.

Alison Parsons, Accountant and Company Secretary/

Alison Parsons

Alison joined Business West in 1995 and is responsible for all aspects of BCDP accounting and statutory returns in addition to her other responsibilities at Business West. Prior to this Alison worked as an Accountant and Management Consultant in a various companies in the UK and Caribbean.


Diane Coyle, Programme Director, Festival of Economics/

Diane Coyle cropped

Professor Diane Coyle has been programming the Bristol Festival of Economics since 2012.

Diane co-directs the Bennett Institute for Public Policy in Cambridge. She is heading research in the fields of public policy economics, technology, industrial strategy and global inequality. Diane was previously Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester and has held a number of public service roles including Vice Chair of the BBC Trust (2006-2014), member of the Competition Commission (2001-2009), and member of the Migration Advisory Committee (2009-2014). She is currently a member of the Natural Capital Committee, an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission and a member of the Council of Economic Advisers. She was awarded a CBE for her contribution to the public understanding of economics in the 2018 New Year Honours.

Vanessa Kisuule, Bristol City Poet/

Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule is a writer and performer and has been appointed Bristol City Poet 2018 – 2020.

Find out more about Vanessa and her role as Bristol City Poet here and for the latest news, her commissions and other projects she’s involved in, follow the Bristol City Poet Blog.

Bristol Cultural Development Partnership Board/

BCDP Board Chair: Judith Squires, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Bristol: Judith is Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Bristol. She obtained her first degree in Politics from the University of Edinburgh and then completed an ESRC funded PhD from the University of London in Political Theory. After completing her doctoral studies, she worked at the Institute of Contemporary Arts as an Associate Director of Lectures and Seminars for two years before joining Bristol University in 1990 as Lecturer in Politics. She took up the post of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education in August 2013. She is a member of the ESRC Training and Skills Committee and Peer Review College and a member of the REF. She was made an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2009 and is also a fellow of the RSA.

Councillor Peter Abraham: Peter is a Bristol City councillor for the ward of Stoke Bishop. He is the Chair of the Public Rights of Way and Greens Committee and is also part of the Avon Fire Authority, the Lower Severn Drainage Board and the University of Bristol Court.

Martin Boddy, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the West of England: Martin is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Business Engagement at the University of the West of England (UWE). He worked for many years at the University of Bristol, with shorter periods of time in Australia and Canada, before joining UWE in 2002. At UWE, previous roles have included Executive Dean of the Faculty of Environment and Technology and Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment – in both, he also led on Research and Consultancy.

Martino (Marti) Burgess, Associate, Gregg Latchams Ltd: Since 1999 Marti has practiced as a lawyer advising SMEs on commercial law and intellectual property. Her particular areas of specialism are company and business sales and purchases as well as providing companies with all the commercial contracts they need to run their businesses. She joined Gregg Latchams in August 2012 as part of the Corporate Team. In 1994 (before becoming a lawyer) Marti and her brother secured VC finance to acquire a 1200 capacity nightclub. She was one of the key strategists in turning ‘Lakota’ into an internationally renowned music venue specialising in underground music. Marti is a trustee of the Bristol Music Trust, a trustee of the Queen Square Association and the Company Secretary for Bristol Food Network which organises Bristol Food Connections.

Joanna Cave, Finance Manager, Aardman Animations Ltd: Joanna joined the Aardman Finance Team in 2007 initially as Management Accountant, and then moved up to Finance Manager following a team restructure. Joanna has previously worked for AXA Sun Life Services PLC and Pricewaterhouse Coopers as well as being a Small Business Advisor (VSO voluntary role) from 2004 to 2007 in Uganda. Joanna spent many years volunteering at Bristol Zoo.

Simon Cook: Simon is a former councillor with executive responsibility at Bristol City Council. He was the Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Capital Programme in the elected Mayor’s Cabinet at Bristol City Council. Prior to that, he was elected leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group and then Leader of the Council in May 2012. He was the last council leader under the previous system of governance before Bristol’s first directly elected mayor was chosen in November 2012. Simon was Lord Mayor of Bristol in 2004-5.

James Durie, Director, Business West: James leads all Chamber of Commerce and Initiative activity in Bristol. His role is to raise the profile of the Chamber and Initiative, retain and recruit new members and through a range of business support and services offered by the Chamber, help local businesses to prosper and grow. James maintains close relationships with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), local MPs, councillors and other key partners so that the Chamber and the Initiative can effectively represent the views of members ensuring their voice is heard by key decision makers.

Hazel Edwards, Associate Dean, University of the West of England: Hazel is Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at the University of the West of England. Previously she was Senior Engagement Manager (Arts and Humanities) at Durham University where she developed a public engagement programme to maximise the value of arts and humanities’ research for non-academic users and communities. Before joining Durham, she was manager of the Discovery Museum, Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.

Elise Hurcombe: Elise is Senior Arts Officer, Bristol Culture Team.

Madhu Krishnan, assistant professor and lecturer of twentieth/ twenty-first century postcolonial writing at the University of Bristol: Madhu is the author of Contemporary African Literature in English: Global Locations, Postcolonial Identifications (2014). Her work centres on African and African diaspora writing, publishing and culture, with a particular focus on the intersection between aesthetics, socio-political interventions and cultural materialism in the making of African literary institutions.

Jonathan Peacock, Partner, Irwin Mitchell LLP: Jonathan studied Law at Hull University graduating in 1983. After graduation he gave up his place on the Law Society Finals course at The College of Law in Chester in favour of studying for a master’s degree in Public International Law at UCL. After working for vintage fashion for a couple of years Jonathan got back into a legal career in the early 1990s and was articled at national law firm Shoosmiths (then Shoosmiths and Harrison). He qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and joined the Birmingham office of his current firm, Irwin Mitchell, in January 1996 where he has been a partner for fifteen years. Jonathan moved to Bristol in April 2010 as Regional Managing Partner for the South West. Jonathan has held board positions for a number of charities including six years on the board of the national brain injury charity Headway. He has also held trustee roles with other third sector organisations providing mental health advocacy and promoting disability rights.

Suzanne Rolt, Director, St George’s Bristol: Suzanne studied music at University College Cardiff. She worked for Welsh National Opera and then joined the Musicians Benevolent Fund in 1989. During her time with the Musicians Benevolent Fund she managed an annual festival of music in London and was involved with the launch activities for the Jacqueline du Pres Memorial Appeal. She moved to St George’s in 1992. Before being appointed Director she was Head of Marketing & Development and Acting Artistic Director. Suzanne combines a love of music with a passion for writing. She is a Fellow of the RSA a Board member of RWA, Bristol Cathedral Choir School and an Advisory Group member of the Bristol Festival of Ideas (she was a judge for the 2010 Book Award). She was elected by fellow arts professionals in the South West as a member of the National Culture Forum convened by Arts & Business/National Campaign for the Arts in 2010. Suzanne was also part of the Advisory Group set up by Bristol City Council to look at future trust status for Colston Hall and closer collaborative working between Bristol’s music venues.

John Savage, Executive Chairman of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative: John has led his organisation in the promotion of partnership between government, local government and the private sector in order to promote the position of Bristol and its neighbouring communities as a vibrant and vital European city region in the twenty-first century. He is Lay Canon Treasurer of Bristol Cathedral, Chairman of Learning Partnership West, Chairman of Destination Bristol and a member of many other boards. He was Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council for the South West throughout its existence and a board member of the Regional Development Agency. John was High Sheriff of Bristol for 2002/3, was awarded the CBE for services to Business and Regeneration in the 2006 New Year Honours List and received Honorary Doctorates from both Bristol universities.

Councillor Estella Tincknell: Estella is a Bristol City councillor for the ward of Lockleaze. She is an associate professor of Film and Culture at the University of the West of England.

Melanie Zaalof: Melanie replaced Adam Gent as BCDP’s ACE Relationship Manager in 2018.