Helen Nugent is the Founder and Editor of Northern Soul. A Northern lass, born and bred in Manchester, you can find articles by Helen in, among others, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, The Times, the i newspaper, The Observer, The Big Issue in the North, the Yorkshire Post, and The Spectator. Previous roles include producing and presenting the business news at BBC Radio 5 Live and on BBC local radio across the UK, and freelancing for The Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Times and the Financial Times.
During ten years at The Times in London, she won a series of awards and had a number of roles including News Reporter, News Editor, Lobby Correspondent in the House of Commons, and Business Reporter. In addition, Helen runs her own media training and consultancy firm. Helen has appeared on Sky News, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Lancashire, and talkRadio. She regularly chairs conferences and is a panellist at events around the North.
Emma Yates-Badley is Northern Soul’s Deputy Editor. She was born and raised in Warwickshire but has lived in Manchester, on and off, for the past decade. A keen writer, she has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University and is currently working on a non-fiction book. She also writes Northern Soul‘s It’s Not Grim Up North column.
After the success of 2017’s inaugural Northern Soul Awards, Emma has stepped up her role in the organisation and is now a key member of the Northern Soul events team. Her work this year includes helping to spearhead the Northern Soul Awards 2018 and The Proper Northern Food and Drink Festival.
Nancy Collantine has been a part of Manchester’s creative and communications industry for more than 20 years.
Co-founding Fido PR in 2002, Nancy has worked with cultural and heritage attractions, independent leisure and hospitality businesses, arts centres, galleries and museums throughout the country until she temporarily moved to Queensland, Australia with her family in 2016.
Now back in her home city, Nancy divides her time between her visual arts practice and freelance communications projects.
Manchester-born author and journalist Matthew Connolly worked in London for a variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Guardian, Observer, Evening Standard, Classic FM Magazine, Sunday Times and The Times, where he worked on the Arts desk as a classical music critic, feature writer and subeditor. He now lives and works in the Lake District.
His first novel, Dances with the Daffodils (set at the time of the poet Wordsworth), was shortlisted for Lakeland Book of the Year in 2014, and his latest novel, due out in 2018, is a contemporary adaptation of Wuthering Heights, timed for Emily Brontë's 200th anniversary.
Rob Ellis is a hospitality Marketing and Business Development Manager who has helped to drive business at ODEON Cinemas and more recently Épernay Manchester.
He has a love for all things Northern having grown up in Blackpool, studied in Newcastle and called Manchester his home for over eight years.
Damon is a freelance writer based in Liverpool. As a copywriter, he has written for global brands including Adidas, Motorola and Toyota, and spent four years as a creative writer for Sony working on their early PlayStation games.
A number of his short plays have appeared at the Sheffield Crucible and in the Liverpool Everyman’s Everyword season, and he once served time as resident artist at the Curfew Tower in Cushendall, County Antrim. He also writes about the arts and other subjects for a range of publications and is the Liverpool correspondent for Northern Soul. Find out more about Damon’s work via his professional website or his personal writing archive, Noise Heat Power.
Bernard Ginns is the founding director of Branksome Partners Ltd. The company provides specialist communications advice and services to a growing base of individuals, businesses and organisations in the UK, Europe and the United States.
He was formerly Business Editor of The Yorkshire Post (2008-16), editor of the award-winning new media start-up Kent on Sunday (2005-08) and a general reporter at The Mail on Sunday (2002-05).
Bernard started his journalism career at the London Newspaper Group and is a philosophy graduate of the University of Manchester.
He lives in the Bradford district and supports Norwich City Football Club.
Janet Harrison is the founder of Cracking Wine, organising wine tastings, regional food and wine festivals and The People's Choice Wine Awards, the only national wine awards voted for by wine lovers.
She knows a thing or two about events, regards herself as a consumer champion and loves to discover and showcase great food and drink producers to the good folk of the North.
She has also written and produced several short comedy films and founded COFILMIC, a comedy film making network and festival based in Manchester.
Dan has more than 20 years’ experience of working in the media industry with senior roles at Newsquest, Centaur and Orange. He’s been responsible for managing a wide range of successful magazines, websites, conferences and awards events and now runs his own consultancy business. Frank Media Projects helps publishers and event organisers with product development, commercial strategy, and digital transformation projects.
Despite living in South London, Dan is familiar with many Northern towns after many years of traipsing around the country watching his beloved Plymouth Argyle. He’s also spent time living in Chester and working in Leeds.
Lucy McNamara is a freelance BBC presenter, journalist and producer with 10 years’ experience in radio. She also presents and produces the Northern Soul new music podcast. She has worked on 6 Musics Shaun Keaveney’s breakfast show and Radcliffe and Marconie as the cover music news presenter.
She has Assistant produced for Guy Garvey and Marc Riley’s shows for 6 Music. Most recently she has assistant produced and reported for the BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme. Her other work includes BBC local radio, 5live and commercial radio where she presented the weekend breakfast show on 2br before leaving to return to the BBC.
Lucy is also a talented voice over and event host. Lucy is married and lives close to Stockport with her 3-year-old son.
Mary-Ellen McTague grew up north of Bury, in Lancashire, and left university to cook for touring bands at Manchester’s Roadhouse. Keen to gain more experience, she became the first female chef at Michelin-starred country house hotel, Sharrow Bay. She joined The Fat Duck in 2001 and progressed from the pastry section to become sous chef under Heston Blumenthal and Ashley Palmer-Watts. She then worked on historical research and development at The Hind’s Head, contributing dishes to The Fat Duck’s menu. In 2006 she left The Fat Duck and worked for Lancashire restaurateur Paul Heathcote before moving on to Ramsons, the award-winning restaurant in Ramsbottom.
Mary-Ellen was the chef / proprietor of Aumbry in Prestwich from 2009 to 2014. Mary-Ellen appeared on BBC2’s Great British Menu in 2013 and 2014, and both times reached the North West finals. Since Aumbry closed in 2014, she has run literary-themed pop-up events and was commissioned by Manchester International Festival in 2015 and 2017 to create dining experiences connected with festival shows. More recently she worked as Executive Chef for both the Real Junk Food Project Manchester and Manchester Art Gallery, and has now opened The Creameries in Chorltonwith baker Sophie Yeoman and designer Soo Wilkinson.
Andy Murray is Northern Soul’s Film Editor. He has been an arts freelancer since 1999, initially for City Life magazine and more recently for The Big Issue in the North and We Are Cult, among others. He's had work published by Comma Press, Reynolds & Hearn, Headpress and Manchester University Press and he currently teaches Film Journalism at the University of Salford.
Helen Palmer is Co-Director of Creative Tourist and Palmer Squared. Based in Manchester, Helen’s background was originally in theatre, before becoming a marketing consultant in 1999, then creating Palmer Squared Marketing & Audience Development Agency in 2005 with her twin brother Andrew.
Helen has been part of the founding management teams of Manchester International Festival, British Ceramics Biennial, Cultureshock (Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme, Manchester 2002) and The Lowry. From 2007-9 Helen led Marketing Manchester’s Marketing Coordination Unit as the Director of Strategic Marketing. Helen is also a Director of Creative Tourist (a cultural tourism communications agency) which provides strategic advice and tactical support for cultural tourism initiatives across the UK and internationally.
Sarah Perks is Artistic Director: Visual Art at HOME, Manchester, and Professor of Visual Art at Manchester School of Art, MMU. Sarah Perks is an international curator, film producer and writer. A specialist in artist film & performance, Sarah has worked extensively with international established artists including Phil Collins, Rachel Maclean, Rosa Barba, Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, Yoshua Okon, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, and Stanya Khan.
In 2011, Sarah set up Cornerhouse Artist Film (now HOME Artist Film), the UK’s only specialist producer and distributor of artist feature film, and co-director of the first training programme for visual artists making their debut film Feature Expanded.
Rachael Richards is an award-winning PR Manager, with 12 years' PR experience, working both in-house and for agencies. She’s worked with clients including Manchester Pride, the RNCM, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre and Love Hearts’ sweets and gained coverage on Daybreak, The Jonathan Ross Show, ITV News at 10, The Sun, The Mirror and The Telegraph.
She has a passion for the arts and lectured in music PR at BIMM Manchester (The British & Irish Modern Music Institute). Having previously worked promoting established acts such as Echobelly and Mike Joyce from The Smiths, she used this experience to help the college’s young musicians publicise their work. Born and raised on a farm in mid Wales, she moved to Manchester 14 years ago and has always been an avid supporter of the city's cultural scene. As a former arts reviewer at Large magazine and Chimp, she regularly attends theatres, arts centres, galleries, gigs and festivals around the North West.
Iain has been involved in a number of high-profile venues, events and initiatives in the North West for over 25 years. They include Metz in the early 90s on Canal Street, the award-winning Taurus, and Canal St Online which has become the largest collective media outside London, serving hundreds thousands of readers across some 12 platforms. This was followed in 2011 by the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival which recently won more awards at the MTA and is widely recognised as a major stepping stone for those performing in the Edinburgh Festival.
Just this year he and three collaborators at Gin Fuelled set World Gin Day Manchester. He is proud to have done all of this without having a personal mobile phone and is very pleased and proud to be involved again in the Northern Soul Awards.
Fran Yeoman spent over a decade on national newspapers before returning to her native Liverpool in 2016 to join John Moores University as a senior lecturer in journalism.
Before that, she was Assistant Editor of i, where she oversaw the paper’s news output. She previously worked for the Independent and The Times, as a news editor and reporter, covering everything from Tony Blair’s last days in office to eating rattlesnake. She has reported from countries including Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Greece and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and co-authored a Rough Guide to South America.
She still regularly writes news features and arts pieces for the i paper, as well as theatre reviews for Northern Soul, and is thoroughly enjoying back in the North West.
Iain’s initial career was in research in archaeological science. He moved into the cultural sector after training as a teacher and has been Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums since March 2010. He is a Board member of the Museums Association, Vice Chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council, Vice-Chair of Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues, a member of the Advisory Board of ArtUK, a member of the Steering Group for the English Civic Museums Network and an ‘Distinguished Friend’ of the Migration Museums Network.
He is an external PhD examiner at Leicester University. He is a member of the Steering Group for Creative Fuse, a major research project exploring the Creative, Digital and IT sector in the NE. He teaches on postgraduate courses at Newcastle and Durham universities and has written and lectured extensively in the UK and internationally on museums and their future, including recent lectures in Italy, Australia, China, Finland, Brazil and Turkey.
He was responsible for the initiation of Destination Tyneside at Discovery Museum, possibly the first permanent gallery in a UK museum dedicated to immigration.