New board members at The Media Centre

The Media Centre appoints four new board members

The Media Centre in Huddersfield has recently welcomed four new members to its non-executive board of directors.

Imran Ali, Sue Cooke, Bill Lawrence and Alex Newman have been chosen for their varied but complementary skills-set and experience, which will stand The Media Centre in good stead for a future of continued growth and the provision of wider digital opportunities throughout Kirklees and beyond.

Sue Cooke, an experienced non-executive has direct expertise in higher education, business support and economic development. She is currently head of skills and enterprise at the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

Commenting on her appointment, Sue said: “Having lived in Huddersfield for over twenty years and worked for two of its key institutions, Kirklees Council and the University of Huddersfield, I will be delighted to contribute to the future development of The Media Centre. I hope to forge links which will help more exciting new and growing businesses to benefit from this unique space.”

Bill Lawrence joins the board with a rich background in the arts, having worked as head of film at the National Media Museum and creative director at the Sheffield Media and Exhibition Centre, for example. He has also been a board member at many other organisations including Creative England, Screen Yorkshire, Reel Solutions and the York Arts Centre.

Bill commented: “I have a passion for the creative industries and have built up many years of experience sitting on boards. But it’s not just about turning up for meetings – to me, it’s much more than that. It’s about ensuring that The Media Centre has the right tools and networks to flourish in a changing business landscape.’’

Imran Ali joins the board with a background in emerging technologies and founding companies such as Carbon Imagineering, a boutique R&D practice that explores the implications of new technologies, and LSx, a Leeds-based curator and producer of tech events.

Imran said: “Huddersfield is a curious place at the intersection of lots of interesting communities and conversations, particularly due to its proximity to three of the North’s largest cities, but also because of its own qualities as an incubator of innovative ideas and wonderfully weird and creative people.

“I see The Media Centre as a ‘serendipity engine’, helping to ensure creative collisions between those people and their ideas. I’m excited to play a part in tuning that engine, so the people and projects it provides a platform for can flourish, benefitting the town and the wider region.’’

The fourth new board member, Alex Newman, is an intellectual property lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, helping businesses to identify and manage the risks and opportunities associated with IP rights.

Commenting on his first non-executive role, Alex said:  “Intellectual property law is a huge issue in the creative industries, particularly for smaller businesses.

“But such organisations can thrive with the right infrastructure and services in place, like those that The Media Centre provide – and I’m keen to be able to contribute to that.’’

The new members were chosen following a three month recruitment process that focused on the specific skills and experience that will help to cement The Media Centre’s future as a base for innovative companies in the digital sector.

Commenting on the appointments, CEO Brent Woods said: “We were overwhelmed by the amount of interest we had in positions on our board and throughout the recruitment process we met a number of inspiring arts and business leaders. We are honoured that Bill, Sue, Imran and Alex accepted our invitation to join us. Each of them brings exciting new ideas and points of view to the table, and will push us to examine our work from new perspectives.”

A recent client survey revealed that 80% of the SMEs located in The Media Centre are predicting turnover growth in the next two years, and creative and digital is Kirklees’ fastest growing sector, employing more than 5,000 people and contributing £100m to the local economy.