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Chris Slann

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.

Jacqueline Roberts

Jacqueline Roberts is a co-founder of SV2G, she is also the Chief Executive Officer for the School of Steelpans UK, and Wycombe Steel Orchestra and produces the Wycombe Community Festival. Jacqueline’s background is one of local government, serving as a Civic Officer in Research and Policy and also in African and Caribbean development work. As a music teacher trained classically on the violin she has also served on various advisory committees for community cohesion, funding bodies, education, as well as a Director and Governor at an Academy School with Arts College status. Her passion in music has seen her work produced and performed at many events nationally including, H.M Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace, and London 2012 Paralympic events at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

Mandy Curtis

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 various festivals including, St Leonards Festival (including Junkanoo, the Heliosphere, Dot Comedy, and Aswad) and Global Fusion family world music festival (with Bob Geldof, Benjamin Zehaniah, Afro Celt Sound System). Current/recent projects include: Sussex Festival of Nature (for Brighton and Hove City Council), Dromos Festival (lead mentor for this programme that supports young festival producers), St Leonards Festival (developing a new 3 day programme to include a free family day with musical parade on the prom and ticketed outdoor opera event), Hastings Storytelling Festival (featuring Quentin Blake, Billy Childish and Joolz Denby), Eat Global (Hastings’ international food festival), and Big Top (a quirky street arts, circus and theatre festival).Mandy is Director of and a visiting lecturer for the University of Brighton.

Cleo Alberta Lake

Cleo is Carnival Director for St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival, Transatlantic Researcher, Educator, Dance Artist, Dance Activist, Mother.


Cleo is a Bristolian of Afro Jamaican and Celtic roots who grew up in Easton and now lives in St Pauls. Cleo is an active citizen with a wide-ranging skill set.  She delivers ‘Get Up Stand Up’ Reggae Revival dance exercise classes for over 50 elders a week and as a dance artist / activist Cleo works creatively primarily within dance of the Afrikan Diaspora and believes that dance has a significant power to empower, unite and shift realities for all people.  Her current solo dance theatre project 2.4.80 is a reflection on the St Pauls riots of 1980 which also feeds into an ongoing project ‘Carnival Dance Baton’ supported by a trailblazer fellowship from ADAD in 2013/4.


Cleo is interested in the ‘people power’ of Carnival on the one hand and cutting edge Afrocentric art programming on the other that may take the conventional view of Carnival to new remits. Cleo admires the work of New Orleans based Carnival Curator Claire Tancons, whom Cleo worked with in 2014 in ‘Up Hill Down Hall: an Indoor Carnival’ at Tate Modern.

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Julz Davis

Jo is an experienced, versatile and committed arts and events manager, with a 17-year track record of using the arts to transform the lives of individuals and communities in positive, creative and productive ways. In her role as Artistic Director of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts (DOCA) she is committed to promoting, developing and celebrating outdoor arts and carnival for the benefit of all, and being part of a community that makes wonderful things happen. She has multi/cross art-form knowledge informed by her years of experience and active personal involvement as an arts participant, practitioner and supporter in the fields of outdoor arts, visual arts and music. She is a member of Swindon Samba and Bristol based Ziriguidum. In her spare time Jo also works for Create Studios, Swindon’s leading digital media organisation.

Simon Tipping

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.

Manuela Benini

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 Hocking

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.

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Carnival Network South

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