Creative Associates

Jo Bannon

Jo Bannon is a UK artist who makes live art and performance. She has presented work in the UK and Europe including The Barbican, Southbank Centre, In Between Time Festival, Arnolfini, Spill Festival of Performance, Battersea Arts Centre PAD Mainz and the National Theatre. She is an In Between Time Associate Artist and founder member of Residence. Jo’s work is concerned with human exchange and encounter and explores how our physical bodies experience the world around us and how this sensory experience can or cannot be conveyed. Jo unpicks the ways in which we look, hear and sense our immediate environment in order to rethink or make unfamiliar these intrinsic human behaviors. Her performance work often manifests as intimate encounters designed for single or small audiences, alongside staged theatre work and installations.


‌‌‌‌‌Oliver Balch

Oliver is a British journalist and writer specialising in the intersection between business and society. He currently writes regularly for The Guardian, and his articles have also appeared in the FT, the Observer, and The Daily Telegraph among other international publications.

Oliver is the author of two non-fiction books, both published by Faber & Faber: Viva South America! A Journey around a Restless Continent (2009) and India Rising: Tales from a Changing Nation (2012). His latest book about life in the Welsh Marches is due for publication in 2015.

After the best part of a decade living in South America, Oliver returned to the UK in 2011 to begin apart-time PhD in social anthropology at the Centre for Latin American Studies, Cambridge University. His research is focused on the practices and discourse of business responsibility and the corporate legitimisation.

He currently lives on the Welsh border near Hay-on-Wye with his wife Emma and two boys Seth and Bo.


Jessica Segerlund

Graduated from Stockholm University in 2005 Jessica Segerlund is founding artistic director of the non-for-profit organisation Farawaysoclose and is currently acting as artistic director of an extensive urban renewal project, H+, in the area of Scania, Sweden. The work evolves around working with art in urban and community development processes and how to link the artistic practice and community development in both long and short term. During the 2011-2013 there will be implementation of a number of projects aimed at inviting art actors to work in teams and contribute with ideas of complex infrastructure projects. The artists will be involved in the planning processes and program activities with the aim of creating artistic prototypes and in various ways to examine, investigate and portray the public domain. Segerlund also acts as lecturer at Lund University the MA programme "Urban Sustainable Design", and recently acted as supervising curator for the MA students of The Funen Art Academy in Denmark.


Neil Brand

English dramatist, composer and author, Neil Brand is also one of the world's most renowned silent-film accompanists, appearing regularly at the National Theatre and festivals across the globe. In March 2014 we were privileged to hear Philomusica perform to Neil’s brilliant and critically-acclaimed score to Hitchcock’s 1929 film Blackmail.  Neil is a graduate of Aberystwyth University and was made a Fellow of AU in 2013.

On television, he has appeared in Switch, a BBC drama for the hearing impaired, as Ted, a bullying businessman.  In 2004 he appeared as an expert on cinema accompaniment in Who Do You Think You Are; which investigated the musical background of soprano Lesley Garrett.

Other work for the BBC has included musical compositions and radio plays.[1] He also composed the score for Channel Four's three-part documentary series on the Crimean War in 1997.[2] One of his plays, Stan, was broadcast as a radio-play[3] in 2004 on BBC Radio 4 and then dramatised as a television-play first broadcast on BBC Four. It documents Stan Laurel's touching last moments with best friend and comedy partner Oliver Hardy, who lies bedridden after a stroke. Another play broadcast on Radio 4, in 2007 Seeing It Through, dealt with Charles Masterman and his efforts to coordinate writers and journalists for the British propaganda effort in World War I.


Siân Melangell Dafydd

Author, poet and translator, Siân Melangell Dafydd’s first published novel, Y Trydydd Peth (The Third Thing; Gomer, 2009) won her the coveted 2009 National Eisteddfod Literature Medal. She writes in both Welsh and English and often collaborates with artists of other disciplines (dancer Sioned Huws’ Aomori Project; book Ancestral Houses: the Lost Mansions of Wales/Tai Mawr a Mieri: Plastai Coll Cymru with poet Damian Walford Davies and artist Paul White [Gomer 2012]).  In 2013, she was selected as one of the British Center for Literary Translation Mentorship Programme.  She publishes her short-fiction and poetry widely, for example 2014's Best British Poetry and Best British Short Story. She is currently working as a Creative Writing Lecturer at the American University of Paris.

She is the co-editor of which nurtures new voices as well as the literary review, Taliesin – both in the Welsh language.  The alchemy of collaboration interests her – translating between words and movement (dance, yoga) as well as between words.

Forthcoming are her second Welsh language novel, a collection of pair poems with Malayalam poet, Anitha Thampi and yoga storytelling books for children.


Anne Desmet

Anne Desmet was born in Liverpool, UK, in 1964. She gained a BA & MA at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Printmaking at Central School of Art and Design, London, UK. In 1998, her first retrospective exhibition, Anne Desmet: Towers and Transformations, opened at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, before touring the UK. In 2008, Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery launched a new retrospective: Anne Desmet - Urban Evolution, which toured until 2010. Her exhibition: Anne Desmet - Olympic Metamorphoses toured the UK from 2010-12. Desmet's prints feature in selected solo and group shows worldwide. Since 1987 she has received over 30 national and international awards including (1989-90) a British School at Rome Scholarship in Printmaking. She has had 16 solo shows in London since 1990. She has taught wood engraving widely, inc. at the RA Schools, British Museum and Middlesex University. An Honorary Fellow and former External Examiner (BA & MA Fine Art) Aberystwyth University, she was also External Examiner at Kingston College of Art from 2010-13. In 2011, Desmet was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and is only the third wood engraver ever elected to the RA in its entire history. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) and the Society of Wood Engravers (SWE). She lives and works in London.

Anne was editor of Printmaking Today (from 1998-2013) - the quarterly journal of international graphic art. She is co-author of Handmade Prints (2000), author of Primary Prints (2010) and co-editor of Printmakers - the Directory (2006) all published by A&C Black (see Bloomsbury). Other publications include: Anne Desmet: Towers and Transformations - catalogue raisonné (Ashmolean Museum, 1998); Private Views: Artists working today (Serpent's Tail, 2004); Wood Engraving and the Woodcut in Britain c.1890-1990 (Barrie & Jenkins, 1994); The Times, RA Magazine, Art Review, Art Monthly, Burlington, The Guardian and The New York Times.

Commissions include engravings and drawings for the Royal Mint, V&A, British Library, British Museum, National Gallery, Sotheby's, The Times, Vital Arts (London) NHS Trust, Balliol College Oxford and Oxford University Press.              

Public and private collections holding her work include the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; V&A, National Art Library, The Museum of London, British Museum, British Library, all London; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Manchester University; School of Art & Museum, Aberystwyth Univeristy; Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate; Bradford Museums & Art Galleries; Ex Libris Museum, Moscow, Russia; Musée d'Art Contemporain, Chamalières, France; Ostrobothnian Museum, Vaasa, Finland; Lahti Art Museum, Finland; Museu de Arte do Espirito Santo, Vitoria, Brazil; Municipal Art Gallery, Lodz, Poland; Museo Civico, Cremona, Italy; H M The Queen; The National Grid PLC; Slaughter & May, London and IMG Corporate, New York, USA.

The focus of her work shifts between Italy and London. Her subject matter pulls in two directions: one is essentially topographical, yet subject to metamorphoses; the other is concerned with intuitive architectural fantasies, urban myths and histories of urban destruction and regeneration. She aims to suggest the sense of timelessness and solidity that buildings can convey, as well as their impermanence and vulnerability.


‌‌Sampurna Chattarji

Born in Dessie, Ethiopia in November 1970, Sampurna Chattarji grew up in Darjeeling, graduated in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi and is currently based in Mumbai/Thane.

Her thirteen published books to date include four poetry books—The Scorpion (e-book, Harper21, 2013), Absent Muses (Poetrywala, 2010), The Fried Frog and other Funny Freaky Foodie Feisty Poems (Scholastic, 2009), Sight May Strike You Blind (Sahitya Akademi, 2007); and two novels—Rupture (2009) and Land of the Well (2012), both from HarperCollins. The most recent among her books for young people is her Young Adult novel Ela: The Girl Who Entered the Unknown (Scholastic, 2013). Dirty Love (Penguin, 2013) is her collection of short stories about Bombay/Mumbai; and Selected Poems (Harper Perennial, 2014) her translation of the renowned Bengali poet Joy Goswami. Sampurna is also the editor of the anthology Sweeping the Front Yard (SPARROW, 2010), which brings together poetry and prose by women writing in English, Malayalam, Telugu and Urdu. Her poetry has been translated into Welsh, German, Swiss-German, Scots, French, Gaelic, Estonian, Arabic, Portuguese, Frisian, Tamil, Manipuri, Kannada, Bangla and Bambaiyya; and her children’s fiction into Welsh and Icelandic.


  • Selected Poems: Joy Goswami [translation] New Delhi: Harper Perennial, HarperCollins Publishers India, 2014
  • Dirty Love [short stories] New Delhi: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 2013
  • Ela: The Girl Who Entered the Unknown [novel] New Delhi: Scholastic India Pvt. Ltd., 2013
  • The Scorpion [poetry, e-book] New Delhi: HarperCollins Publishers India, 2013
  • Land of the Well [novel] New Delhi: HarperCollins Publishers India, 2012
  • Absent Muses [poetry] Mumbai: Poetrywala, 2010
  • Rupture [novel] New Delhi: HarperCollins Publishers India, 2009
  • Sight May Strike You Blind [poetry] New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2007, reprint 2008
  • The Fried Frog and Other Funny Freaky Foodie Feisty Poems [poetry], New Delhi: Scholastic India Pvt. Ltd., first edition June 2009, reprinted September 2009
  • Wordygurdyboom! {Abol Tabol} The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray [translation], New Delhi: Puffin Books, Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 2008
  • Three Brothers and the Flower of Gold [fiction], New Delhi: Scholastic India Pvt. Ltd., June 2008
  • Mulla Nasruddin [fiction], New Delhi: Puffin Books, Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 2008
  • The Greatest Stories Ever Told [fiction], New Delhi: Puffin Books, Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 2004
  • Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray [translation], New Delhi: Puffin Books, Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, 2004


Damian Gorman

Writer and/or director of many documentary programmes for the BBC and Channel Four, including two series commended by the BMA, and the verse documentary Devices of Detachment (BBC 2, dir: Hugh Thomson), which was selected for INPUT as one of the twelve best public service broadcasts in the year of its making. (This programme was subsequently broadcast across the United States on the PBS network and had a sold-out cinema screening as part of the 2013 Belfast Film Festival.) He was the subject of a number of television documentaries, including A Private Resort (C4); Personal Visions (BBC NI); and Would You Believe? (RTE).

Damian works as a consultant and facilitator on City University London’s unique Olive Tree Programme involving Israeli and Palestinian students. Over almost twenty-five years has worked with thousands of people as a creative writing tutor. Has worked on behalf of the WEA, An Crann, the Creative Writers Network (as a mentor), Ards Council, Derry City Council, Down District Council, Fermanagh District Council, Corrymeela reconciliation centre, the ‘TELL’ mental health group and many other bodies in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Was playwright-in-residence with the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts at Queen’s University Belfast. (2006/7). In January 2009 he was appointed the first long-term writer-in-residence at a Northern Irish School, based at St Patrick’s High School Downpatrick, working there and in other schools in the surrounding area. This residency was extended twice. In November 2010 he gave a series of workshops and seminars in universities and schools in the greater Boston area.

Damian was a writer-in-residence at Belfast’s new Metropolitan Arts Centre (The Mac), until July 2013. In 2011 he produced a verse documentary around 9/11 with the Emmy-Award winning director Hugh Thomson and the editor Ben Taylor. This film has been warmly received and highly regarded, Neil Astley describing it as “an extraordinarily effective masterpiece of great integrity” . He is currently working with young Israeli and Palestinian scholars on the innovative Olive Tree project (based at City University, London) with Professor Rosemary Hollis. He is also developing a ground-breaking community creative writing project in conjunction with Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Aberystwyth University.

Ciliau Aeron, Ceredigion, June 2014.

Ben Thompson

After graduating from Aberystwyth University in 2003 Ben Thompson left Wales to head to New York. Shortly after arriving he joined the Tribeca Film Festival, a festival established a year earlier by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal to revitalize downtown Manhattan after the September 11th attacks. While there he discover a passion for short form storytelling and creativity and began working with the filmmaker and programming teams watching short film submissions. In 2010 he became the Shorts Programmer for the festival.

In addition to his role at Tribeca, Ben spent several years working in the UAE at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and has consulted for a number of other festivals in a programming capacity. He is fascinated by the influence film has had on our world and culture and is constantly on the lookout for new stories from all the corners of the globe. By most recent count he has watched over 7,000 short films for Tribeca alone. An avid filmmaker himself, when taking a break from programming shorts he has directed and produced dozens of short films and documentaries. His multi-award winning short film, The Yellow Balloon went on to screen at over 20 festivals around the world and was selected as part of MOMA’s educational department permanent collection in 2012.