Hi, I’m Martin…….. Creative Producer, cultural activists, polemicist, Jobbing Muso, AHRC researcher and hot head. Im interested in the place where creative practice, research, activism and social worlds intersect.
I worked as a burger flipper, salad bar refresher, shed dipper, pie poker*, teacher, record label manager and small-time music impresario, before cutting my teeth as an Arts Officer in one of the least glamorous, most socially deprived, run-down boroughs in the UK.
*My pie poking experience became the subject of ‘Stories to Tell in the Middle of the Night’ a theatre piece by Francesca Millican Slater: **** “the bleakest thing I’ve ever heard” – Lynn Gardener
Over the 18 years that followed I managed to eke out what I generously refer to as a ‘career in the arts’. This involved:
- Building an Arts Centre (The Brindley)
- 100s of engagement projects with 1000s of amazing people
- Programming 1000s of shows (theatre music dance)
- Produced and directed Many festivals, shows, projects and happenings.
- Filling in 100,000 miles of arts administration paper work (funding bids, evaluations, letters of apology, more evaluations, NPO reports, business plans, evaluations, strategy documents, evaluations)
- Directing heavy weight boxing champion Tony Bellew in a contemporary dance show
- Transforming an M.O.D Landover into a fire-breathing dragon
- Directing rowdy, heavily medicated elderly ladies in a synchronised mobility scooter show
- Driving 50 drunk desi pub landlords back from the exhibition of their lives (literally) at Southbank 2016
- Winning countless arguments with a lot of people as well as losing many, but learning from them.
- Inventing ‘disco dog walking’ – This hasn’t taken off yet.
Before focusing on developing cultural policy through my Research, The following was written on my CV:
‘I am an experienced, skilled and energetic artistic director, producer, fundraiser, project manager, strategic planner, musician, music programmer and educator. I thrive when developing creative ideas and finding ways to connect people to transformative cultural experiences. Years of inspiring projects, bringing together teams of artists and professionals, developing complex partnerships and responding to creative opportunities have established my reputation as a specialist in quality, multi-disciplinary arts development work. My work has been cited as good practice by ACE, Department for Culture, Media and sport and DFES and received international media recognition.’
Current Research Work
Title: Art and Cultural Impact: Exploring Alternative Models for Creative Practices, Policy and Sustainability in Contemporary Urban Space.
A not insignificant amount of my life has been devoted to observing and articulating the tensions and systemic problems that exist within cultural policy and funding, or as described by Higashi 2005 ‘bitching about work’*
*Higashi K., Reasons to end relationship; volume 12, (2005)
My PhD is a step back from my professional life to gain a wider view of cultural funding, cultural inter-mediation and the potential role of arts in urban rejuvenation. Working with industry partners my research will explore alternative resourcing models for arts activity in urban environments, critically examining the effects of cultural mediation on practice and outcomes. As diminishing resources are centralized within institutional frameworks that are limited by inequality of access and reliance on traditional funding networks, the role of alternative funding models to rejuvenate cultural ecology in urban regeneration remain under-evaluated.
The Subtle Art Of Community Engagement – Arts professional 2016 read here
Desi Pubs: History Of Bhangra, Bargies and Boozers in the Black Country 2017
The elusiveness of everyday culture – Arts Professional 2018 Read here
The potential of grassroots culture arts professional, most read article 2018 Read Here
The fire and the furies – Arts professional 2018
The Emperors New Ecology; The metaphor that masks the naked truth – Pending
2016 Desi Pubs, Creative People and Places
2014 Flat Out, Family Arts Campaign
2014 Simmer Down Festival
1013 Shock Mobility, Illegal Money Lending Campaign
2012 Punchline, Cultural Olympiad
2012 Going Underground, Castlefields Regeneration
2008 Singout, Liverpool Capitol of Culture
2000- 2005, The Queens Hall, Widnes
2005 – 2013, the Brindley, Halton
2013 – 2015, The Drum Birmingham
2017 Mac Birmingham
I also work professionally as a musician and composer; mainly playing double bass for various very talented people. Selected Music Work;
Double Bass – Jool’s Holland
Double Bass – Ronnie Wood
Double Bass – Jarrod Dickenson
Guitar – Jah Wobbles English Roots Band
Double Bass – King Pleasure and Biscuit Boys
Composer – Mighty Zulu Nation
Guitar – Kirsty Almeida
Composer – The Case of The Shrunken Moon (Theatre)
Handpan/multi-instrumentalist/live improvisor – Stream Project
Double Bass and Guitar – Electric Swing Circus
Double bass – My Darling Clementine
Double bass – The Toy Hearts
Double Bass – Drugstore Cowboys
Guitar, Double Bass, Composer – Kiriki Club
Double bass – JG and the Ultimate’s
Double Bass Jukebox Jets