Meet Our New Chairwoman

StephHawkeMid Pennine Arts are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Stephanie Hawke as the new Chair of the Trustee Board. Voted in at last week’s AGM by her fellow trustees, Dr Hawke takes over from Cllr Andy Macnae. Cllr Macnae has chaired the charity for the last six years, and the Board and staff expressed their grateful thanks for all his hard work and dedication during a period of great change for the organisation. Cllr Macnae will continue to help guide MPA as a Trustee. In his retiring remarks he said: “When I first became Chair we agreed that MPA would continue to strive for ambitious work, despite the challenging financial climate. I am pleased to report that we have developed some excellent projects that are making a real difference for our Lancashire communities. I am really proud of the work MPA has done and continues to do.”

Stephanie, from Burnley, had her first experience of MPA on a school work placement in 1993. She returned in 2010 as part-time Education Coordinator, while she finished her PhD studies. In between she worked for English Heritage, the National Coal Mining Museum, and trained and worked as a teacher, before moving to Newcastle to undertake a PhD in heritage studies. Once her doctorate was completed she took on the full time role of Creative Learning Programme Manager, initiating some of MPA’s most successful projects for young people. She has presented her research at conferences internationally and her knowledge and experience proved invaluable in the preparation of successful funding bids for MPA.

When Stephanie left the MPA staff team in 2013 to join the regional arts and education organisation Curious Minds, where she is currently Senior Manager for External Funding and Policy, the Board were pleased to learn of her desire to continue to support MPA and they invited her to become a trustee. Since then the charity has benefitted from her input on key funding bids, particularly for arts and heritage projects, and she was instrumental in helping secure Heritage Lottery investment for MPA’s latest large scale project, the innovative Spodden Valley Revealed.

As a keen runner Stephanie also raised funds for MPA when she completed the London Marathon in 2016. She says: “The organisation has brought vibrancy, colour and texture to Pennine Lancashire for over 50 years, often with little recognition – who doesn’t love the Singing Ringing Tree? MPA make me proud to live in Burnley. “

Nick Hunt, Creative Director of MPA said: “We are delighted that Steph is taking on the role of leading our organisation. She is as local as they come, with a near lifelong connection with MPA, but few people in the UK could list such a spot-on combination of special knowledge. Her academic work at the meeting points of art, heritage and destination making is internationally known, and she is the ideal Chair to take us forward as we develop some exciting projects around Lancashire’s special places.”