Manchester Histories Festival

Meet the Manchester Histories Team

Chief Executive - Karen Shannon

Karen is responsible for the creative direction, strategic planning, programming, marketing Colour photograph of Manchester Histories Chief Executive Karen Shannonand funding of Manchester Histories (MH) and Manchester Histories Festival (MHF). Karen believes that exploring histories and heritage is a great way of engaging with people and communities. A way to spark imaginations, learn new things, and to create work that has impact and meaning on the here and now, and the future.

Manchester Histories Trustees

Dr Kostas Arvanitis

Dr Kostas Arvanitis is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Cultural Practices, University of Colour photograph of Dr Kostas Arvanitis Senior Lecturer in Museology at the University of Manchester. Kostas is also a Trustee of Manchester HistoriesManchester. He teaches in the MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies and his research interests cross the fields of museology, archaeology, cultural heritage, and digital media. His expertise lies in the area of Digital Heritage, which includes the theory and practice of digital technology in museums, art galleries and heritage sites. Kostas works with arts and heritage organisations in developing partnerships and projects around the use of digital and social media for purposes of curation, interpretation and audience engagement.

Hannah Barker (Chair) 

Hannah Barker is a historian of industrial revolution England, and the north Colour photograph of Hannah Barker Professor of British History at the University of Manchester and Trustee of Manchester Historiesof England in particular. She is Professor of British History at the University of Manchester and a Historical Advisor for the National Trust at Quarry Bank Mill.

Clare Devaney

Clare is a writer, researcher and strategist. She is a Research Fellow and Associate of the Royal Colour photograph of Manchester Histories Trustee Clare DevaneySociety of Arts (RSA) and leads its portfolio of work across the North of England, including its pioneering ‘Heritage, Identity and Place’ research programme, delivered in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund. She is currently undertaking a PhD in cultural heritage and smart specialisation strategies with the MAPS-LED International Research Partnership (University of Salford). A prolific writer and political commentator, her published work includes Health is Wealth (Cambridge UP, 2008), A Cultural Economy(Liverpool UP, 2009), and Liverpool City of Radicals (Liverpool UP, 2011). She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, (MCIPR), a founder member of the Fabian Women’s Network NW and Chair of the Advisory Board for PLACED.

Rob HigginsonBlack and white photograph of Rob Higginson from Laing O'Rourke and Trustee of Manchester Histories

Rob is a Commercial Leader with Laing O’Rourke in Manchester and has more years’ experience of commercial and financial management than you could shake a stick at. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Governor at St Barnabas C of E Primary Academy. In and out of work Rob gets excited by music, people, numbers and technology.

Erinma OchuColour photograph of Erinma Ochu Manchester Histories Trustee

Erinma is the creative director and co-founder of social enterprise, Squirrel Nation, which makes and curates memorable experiences that punctuate everyday life, from pop up urban farms, to gallery pieces to social franchises. Trained originally as a neuroscientist at The University of Manchester, she has worked in science TV and the cultural sector as executive producer at B3 Media on UK-wide BAME minority talent initiatives. In 2015, Erinma was awarded an MBE for services to Public Engagement with Science, Engineering and Technology

Melanie Tebbutt

Melanie Tebbutt is Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she has been Black and white photograph of Professor Melanie Tebbutt at Manchester Metropolitan University. Melanie is a Manchester Histories Trusteeinvolved in developing a number of community-based history projects. She is Head of the University’s  Humanities Research Centre and of the Manchester Centre for Regional History.

John Williams

John Williams is an arts and heritage consultant working with a wide variety of private and publicColour photograph of John Williams Manchester Histories Board Member arts and heritage organisations in the UK and overseas. Most of his work focuses on supporting, advising and managing capital development and exhibition projects. John is Chair of the Millennium Quarter in Manchester (which includes Urbis and The Cathedral Visitor Centre,) a mentor for the Museums Association Diploma, a mentor for the Heritage Lottery Fund and a heritage expert for the Institute of Fundraising.


Dave Haslam, Musician, DJ, author - Creative Consultant

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