Chris has spent over 25 years working in mainstream carnival and community arts development, 21 of these within a local authority context. Whilst working for Luton Borough Council from 1989-2002, he, alongside his colleague and partner Frankie Goldspink, established Luton International Carnival as Britain’s Biggest one-day Carnival and, as a consequence, set up the UK Centre for Carnival Arts.
Since moving to the Isle of Wight in 2002 he has worked within the council as Principal Arts Development Officer, Arts Lead for the Adult & Community Learning Service and was Development Manager at the Carnival Learning Centre before becoming Executive Director of The New Carnival Company in January 2012.
Simon has been working in participatory arts for over 25 years. Fine arts trained, Simon is a Director and CoFounder of Festive Road where he also Project Manages large participatory events, celebrations and parades forthe company. He is passionate about partnerships that bring creative professionals and educationalists togetherwith businesses to inspire people young and old.He has worked in the Carnival sector since 2000 and previously in Street Arts creating and designing giantpuppets, processional sculptures, costumes, masks, mas bands and many community projects.His ongoing exploration and interest is in reviving cultural and celebratory traditions from around the world. In2012 and 2013 he produced ‘Walking with Giants’ for Milton Keynes, based on the medieval ‘Midsummer Watch’traditions.Simon has set up community bands like MK Dhol and recently The Kettle Band, as well as collaborating withmany musicians, including Ramon Fernandez of Maracatudo Mafua, Mat Fox of Kinetika Blocco and also withorganisations like UKCCA, Emergency Exit Arts, Samesky and The New Carnival Company.
Mandy followed a History of Art (Asia and Africa) degree with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and has worked in events and education for eighteen years, whilst also undertaking significant research within the cultural sector. Has a passion for diversity and inclusion that shapes the public and community events she designs, produces and delivers. Mandy has had responsibility for festivals including, St Leonards Festival (with Junkanoo, the Heliosphere, Dot Comedy, Aswad) and Global Fusion family world music festival (with Bob Geldof, Benjamin Zehaniah, Afro Celt Sound System), Sussex Festival of Nature (for Brighton and Hove City Council), Dromos Festival (mentoring young festival producers), St Leonards Festival, Hastings Storytelling Festival (with Sir Quentin Blake, David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Lauren Child, Benjamin Zephaniah), Eat Global (international food festival) and Streets of Battle (street arts, circus and theatre).
Mandy is Director of 18 Hours Events and a lecturer for the University of Brighton.
Manuela Benini is an artist and producer that works with outdoor arts projects, performances and carnivals in the UK, India and Brazil. Her artistic practice focuses mainly in movement and choreography, combining elements from classical indian and afro-brazilian dance traditions as well as folk and urban styles. She is the artistic director of Selva and Creative Dance Collaborations and produces an anual carnival in India called "Trans-Form" as well as interventions in the carnivals in Brazil. She works with different companies in the UK such as EEA, Akademi, Festive Road, Mandinga Arts, Nutkhut, Gandaia Arts and Walk the Plank and has developed projects with the South Bank Centre, Sadlers Wells Theatre, The British Library, UKCCA and Cardboard Citizens to quote a few. She has a life long performance and photography project entitled, "Red Dress", where she performs in different locations around the world.
Chris is the Commercial Director for Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, with additional responsibilities for development of the event. This role includes delivering a programme of
live entertainment to supplement the historic annual carnival festivities, and also implementing an outreach programme with local schools to generate interest in a range of carnival arts and skills.
He began his Bridgwater Carnival career in 1967 and has progressed from participating in the annual celebrations through to his current role as one of the main organisers. He was in charge of publicity for 19 years before taking over the presidency for a maximum, three year term. In 2004/5 he was the Lead Coordinator for an Arts Council funded Consortium for Touring Carnivals involving leading groups based in Notting Hill, Manchester and Bridgwater.
Chris is employed by Bridgwater College as their Carnival Placement Coordinator which involves the delivery of a range of carnival related courses to students involved in the annual carnivals in Somerset Devon and Dorset.