Meet the Team
Helen Thackray, Director
Helen has been Director of Blaze since March 2021, leading on strategy, vision and fundraising. Helen previously worked in cultural venues across Yorkshire, Nottingham and the North West working with communities, increasing access to culture and developing innovative co-creation models. Helen is passionate about creating spaces where young people can explore their creative potential, develop their own support networks and achieve their own goals.
Meet the Trustees
Jasleen Kaur, Chair
Originally from Preston and currently studying Business Management at Liverpool University, Jasleen has a background in Libraries and Museums. She has worked with the Harris in Preston to deliver events for children and young people: ranging from music concerts to comic cons. Her aim is to break the stigma behind libraries and encourage more young people to use their space. Jasleen currently works with Hewlett Packard Enterprise on their campaigns and communications which enables her to continually develop skills in producing events and global marketing strategies.
Calum Bayne is a Scottish curator based in Manchester (UK). He is a Programme Producer for In-Situ (Brierfield, UK), an interdisciplinary organisation working between arts practice, community engagement and ecology. Through this role, Calum contributes to the delivery of In-Situ’s programme, alongside developing artist, archival and curatorial research.
In 2022, he was the inaugural Connect Fellow with Newcastle University and The British School at Rome. Through the fellowship, he researched the potential of non-hierarchical and collaborative governance models, artist-led activity, and the impact of ephemeral happenings within regeneration schemes.
Previously based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Calum completed the Fine Art BA(Hons) at Newcastle University in 2018 and was a member of The NewBridge Project’s Programming Committee 2020-21.
Since graduating with a BA in Performing Arts, Sara has developed a career as a socially engaged artist, creative producer and programme director that spans 25 years. She has worked across artistic mediums that include theatre, dance, music, film, photography, installation and interactive digital technologies with a diverse range of organisations, communities and people. She is passionate about developing the next generation of creative producers and as a director of Blaze from 2009 to 2013 is delighted to be a Blaze trustee.
Joe Clegg is a Manchester based actor, writer, producer, podcaster and marketer with over six years experience working in the arts, having trained with the Royal Exchange, Contact, the National Youth Theatre and Reform Radio to name a few. Joe is also a writer and producer for new writing theatre company Hung Theatre, and Marketing & Communications Officer at music organisation Brighter Sound.
Dr Tom Chadwick
Tom is a doctor based in West Yorkshire and has a keen interest in youth health and well-being. When not working, Tom loves going to the theatre and listening to music and can usually be found listening to anything from Dolly Parton to Jon Hopkins to show tunes. He is passionate about arts performance and facilitating opportunities to nurture and develop the creative abilities of young people. He also has an interest in safeguarding.
Russell has over 20 years working in arts and culture for local authorities, education and the independent arts sector. He is passionate about giving arts opportunities to a wide range of people and helping unleash the creative potential of young people. He has been involved in Blaze from the very beginning. He currently works as an Investment Manager for the National Lottery Heritage Fund.