Be More Birmingham

Venue: The Bond Company, Birmingham, 1pm – 5:30pm


Register your interest for Be More Birmingham, an unbeatable event celebrating the city region’s creativity. Spanning film & TV, tech & digital and games, Birmingham is at the bull’s eye of the creative sector. This will be a celebration of creative revolution, where we will shine a light on this vibrant, youthful and diverse city region.

Be More Birmingham will bring together SMEs, policy makers, broadcasters and talent within the creative industries for a day filled with high-profile keynotes and discussions. Hosted by BBC1’s Midlands Today presenter Elizabeth Glinka, with keynotes from the mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and an In Conversation with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, this event will celebrate Birmingham’s creative past whilst looking ahead to its exciting future.


Speakers for this event include:

Andy Street

Mayor of the West Midlands 

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs. Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government. Outside of work, Andy is passionate about the arts, particularly in the West Midlands, having previously served as Vice Chairman of Performances Birmingham Limited, which is responsible for running the City’s Symphony and Town Halls.

Steven Knight

Writer and Director

Steve is hugely experienced, having provided freelance writing material with Mike Whitehill for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Steve has had four novels published, and received many awards for his screenplay Dirty Pretty Things, including four BIFAs and an Oscar nomination. His directorial debut, Hummingbird, starred Jason Statham and Agata Buzek which won him a 2013 BIFA for Best Screenplay. Steve is also the creator and Executive Producer/writer on BAFTA Award winning Peaky Blinders, starring Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory and Paul Anderson. In November 2016, he received the highest honour from the Royal Television Society’s Midlands Centre – the Baird Medal – in recognition of his career.

Caroline Norbury 

MBE - CEO Creative England

Prior to establishing Creative England Caroline was the Chief Executive of regional screen agency South West Screen; the public body responsible for the leading the strategic development and promotion of the film, TV and digital content industries in the South West of England. She has extensive experience of the media industry as a producer, director and commissioning executive and was previously an independent producer and Chief Executive of First Take Films. Caroline is a member of BAFTA, the Royal Society of Arts, the UK Trade & Investment Creative Industries Sector Advisory Group and leads on the work of the Creative Industries Council Access to Finance working group. She was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to the film industry.

Jenny Tooth 

OBE - CEO UK Business Angels Association 

Jenny is CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, the trade body for angel and early-stage investing, representing over 18,000 investors around the UK. Jenny has over 20 years’ experience of facilitating SMEs’ access to investment, both in the UK and internationally. She ran her own consultancy on access to finance for SMEs, including spending nine years based in Brussels, working closely with the EC. In 2009, Jenny co-founded Angel Capital Group which incorporates London Business Angels, one of the most established and active angel networks in the UK and which was a sold to Newable in April 2017.

Joe Godwin

Director BBC Midlands and BBC Academy Appointed Director of BBC Birmingham 

In December 2014, Joe was given responsibility for pan-Birmingham BBC initiatives, developing external partnerships and the overall leadership of the three BBC sites in the city. Joe has led an increased investment into BBC Birmingham over the past two years, establishing it as the BBC’s new centre of excellence for skills, recruitment and talent development for the whole UK. Prior to this role, Joe was Director of BBC Children's 2009-2014, where he was responsible for all of the BBC's services for children on CBBC and CBeebies. He was also at Nickelodeon UK, holding a number of posts including Head of Original Production and VP Interactive Director.

Faye Pressly

Chief Operating Officer Vanti 

As COO for Vanti, one of the UK’s only Master System Integrators with a Smart Building reference site, Faye is currently working with the best and brightest minds to collaboratively imagine and engineer technology solutions that positively change the way people live, learn and work. As Chair of Birmingham’s ‘Women in Tech’ working group, she is a key advocate for encouraging women and girls to enter careers in Technology.

Oliver Clarke

Studio Director Lockwood Leamington 

Oliver Clarke is a Games Studio Director striving to create compelling experiences that connect people.   He is the Studio Director for Lockwood Leamington, a production studio developing content for the hit social mobile title, Avakin Life. A Lockwood Publishing game. His extensive range of game development skills have been earned over eighteen years of hands on work. Selected as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2013 he was privileged to serve on the BAFTA Games Jury in the Game Design Category in both 2017 and 2015 and the Young Game Designer Jury in 2015.  A proud ambassador for Special Effect, the games charity helping people with disabilities to enjoy video games.

Mehj Patrick 

Chief Finance Officer Creative England 

Mehjabeen is our Operations leader, responsible for the implementation and running of all operating functions across Creative England. With extensive experience as a Finance Director, Mehjabeen also oversees the financial functions ensuring that all areas of Creative England are aligned with the strategic objectives set by the CEO and Board.

Michael Gubbins

Senior Project Manager 

Michael Gubbins is senior project manager for the West Midlands Screen Bureau's Creative Cluster plan. He will share insights into a project, which is using research, active networking and agile development methods to drive a diverse, sustainable and internationally-competitive screen sector.

Host: Elizabeth Glinka

BBC 1 Presenter, Midlands Today 

Elizabeth is the political reporter for the West Midlands working for BBC WM, Midlands Today and the Sunday Politics. Elizabeth started her career as a researcher for Radio 4's Farming Today, before moving onto working for Asian Network news in Birmingham and Leicester.  

Alison Grade

CEO Producers’ Forum 

Since taking the helm at the Producers’ Forum Alison has been working hard to reposition the organisation into a membership organisation that fully represents the full breadth of screen creatives in the region. As well as heading up the Producers’ Forum Alison runs Mission Accomplished a consultancy offering training, mentoring and strategic advice to start-ups and established SMEs in the Creative Industries. She is also working on her soon-to-be-published book about how to succeed as a freelancer.

Mr A Singh, 

Creative Director, Arist, Public Speaker and Content Creator

Amrit Singh (MrASingh) is a multi-award winning creative director, artist, public speaker and content creator from Birmingham. With over ten years of graphic design industry experience combined with art and social media expertise, Amrit has worked with many top brands directing successful campaigns around the world. MrASingh is one of today’s most inspired artists and one of the top creative live streamers in the UK with broadcasts reaching over six million views and racking up over seventeen million hearts likes. Through his unique way of using of social media, MrASingh has grown an influential brand and dedicated global community, that follow and support him on his journey. Due to this he launched his international art brand, InkANIMA and social initiative, NowHumanity and in the last two years, he's exhibited his work in 15 exhibitions from San Francisco, Berlin to London as well as publishing two books.

Solomon Nwabueze 

Solomon previously ran PaperPlaneMedia, a visual media business helping to evolve strategic commercial relationships with talent, producers and distributors for clients such as Warner Bros, ITV, Sony Pictures and Universal Music International. Prior to this, Nwabueze was SVP, Content/IP and Co-Productions for EMEA and Asia-Pacific (Fremantlemedia). In this role, responsible for identifying partnership opportunities and acquiring new content in EMEA and Asia-Pacific; focusing on IP to be exploited across multiple platforms. Also, he established Sony BMG’s visual media division, working as part of the senior management team to expand the company’s UK business. He also held the role of Director Acquisitions & Mergers at Warner Music International, during which time he was responsible for the acquisition of The Sopranos and Sex And The City and devised and negotiated the output deals with Comedy Central that spawned the South Park series, which went on to become one of the most successful animated sitcom properties of all time. Prior to this time he worked for BBC TV, Polygram International and Sony Music.


Agenda


13:00    Registration and refreshments

Register early for some networking time with our speakers, Creative England staff and fellow guests.


14:00    Introduction 

by Elizabeth Glinka

Our host, Elizabeth Glinka (Reporter, Politics Live) welcomes the audience and introduces the theme for the day, a celebration of the city’s creative revolution.


14:05    Be More Inspired: 

Amrit Singh, Creative Director and Artist

Amrit Singh is a multi-disciplined and multi award winning creative director, artist, content creator, live streamer and inspirational public speaker.


14:15    Be More Creative: 

Caroline Norbury MBE, Chief Executive Creative England

Caroline will give an overview of the purpose of the day, Creative England’s work in the region and vision for the future.


14:30    Be More Birmingham: 

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

We are honoured to have Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, discussing the unique creativity of Birmingham, and the role the creative industries play in the region’s economy.


14:45    PANEL: Be More Productive

High-level discussion on how creative businesses can scale in the UK, discussing the recently announced DCMS Scale Up programme, and exploring what support creative businesses would benefit from, in order to grow and scale.

Hosted by Mehjabeen Patrick, Chief Finance Officer, Creative England

Mehjabeen is responsible for the implementation and running of all operating functions across Creative England. With extensive experience as a Finance Director, Mehjabeen also oversees the financial functions ensuring that all areas of Creative England are aligned with the strategic objectives set by the CEO and Board.

Jenny Tooth 

OBE, CEO, UK Business Angels Association

The UK Business Angels Association is the trade body for angel and early stage investing, representing over 15,000 investors around the UK. Jenny has over 20 years’ experience of facilitating SMEs’ access to investment, both in the UK and internationally. Jenny was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to small businesses.

Simon Jenner, 

Board Member & Investment in Tech Lead, Silicon Canal

Simon has a passion for supporting other entrepreneurs and for the last 10 years has been working with entrepreneurs from across the world, firstly through running Birmingham’s only technology incubator and then moving to become the CEO of a leading technology accelerator. Simon has helped over 50 startups go from idea to investment, raising in excess of £10 million equity investment.

Julian Dennard, 

Fund Principal, Mercia Fund Managers

Julian joined the Group in 2016 and is the Fund Principal for the Midlands Engine Investment Fund with responsibility for the wider Midlands region. His focus is to invest in high-growth technology businesses, with a particular focus on the Software & the Internet, and the Electronics, Materials, Manufacturing & Engineering sectors. Julian currently sits on the Board of W2 Global Data, VoxPopMe and Living Map.

David Furmage, 

Creative Industries and Cultural Lead, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership

David leads on the development and delivery of the Creative Industries Action Plan, including developing cultural assets, high-growth creative clusters along with innovation policy, business support, skills and promotion. David is also responsible for leading on the development of the Local Industrial Strategy across the West Midlands Combined Authority region, working with a wide-range of cross-regional stakeholders.


15:30    Be More Ambitious: 

Amit Pate, Co-founder and CEO, Snaptivity                

We hear from Amit Pate on his start-up journey in Birmingham, sharing how he has built award-winning company Snaptivity which is revolutionising sport spectatorship.


16:00    Break & Networking


16:20    PANEL: Be More Strategic

Panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the region when it comes to attracting and nurturing creative talent.

Hosted by Joe Godwin, 

Director, BBC Midlands and BBC Academy

Joe has led an increased investment into BBC Birmingham over the past two years, establishing it as the BBC’s new centre of excellence for skills, recruitment and talent development for the whole UK and moving 300 jobs to The Mailbox. As Director of the BBC Academy - the UK media sector's biggest skills trainer – Joe is responsible for maintaining and growing the skill levels of the BBC's world class content makers, journalists and digital creatives across the UK and overseas.

Solomon Nwabueze, 

Chief Content Officer, Creative England

As Creative England’s Chief Content Officer, Solomon engages and enables potential creative and commercial partners. Solomon previously ran PaperPlaneMedia, a visual media business helping to evolve strategic commercial relationships with talent, producers and distributors for clients such as Warner Bros, ITV, Sony Pictures and Universal Music International.

Faye Pressly, 

COO, Vanti and Chair of the Women in Tech Group

As COO for Vanti, one of the UK’s only Master System Integrators with a Smart Building reference site, Faye is currently working with the best and brightest minds to collaboratively imagine and engineer technology solutions that positively change the way people live, learn and work. As Chair of Birmingham’s ‘Women in Tech’ working group, she is a key advocate for encouraging women and girls to enter careers in Technology.

Alison Grade, 

CEO, Producers Forum

Since taking the helm at the Producers’ Forum Alison has been working hard to reposition the organisation into a membership organisation that fully represents the full breadth of screen creatives in the region. As well as heading up the Producers’ Forum Alison runs Mission Accomplished a consultancy offering training, mentoring and strategic advice to start-ups and established SMEs in the Creative Industries. She is also working on her soon-to-be-published book about how to succeed as a freelancer.

Oliver Clarke, 

Studio Director, Lockwood

Oliver Clarke is the Studio Director for Lockwood Leamington, a production studio developing content for the hit social mobile title, Avakin Life. A Lockwood Publishing game. Oliver was selected as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2013, and was privileged to serve on the BAFTA Games Jury in the Game Design Category in both 2017 and 2015 and the Young Game Designer Jury in 2015. He is a proud ambassador for Special Effect, the games charity helping people with disabilities to enjoy video games.


17:05    Be More Open: 

In conversation with Steven Knight, Creator of Peaky Blinders

Insightful conversation with internationally acclaimed writer and director Steven Knight on the proposed Mercian Film Studios development

Steven Knight, 

Writer and Director

Steven Knight is an English screenwriter and film director, and the creator and writer of Peaky Blinders. He wrote and directed the films Locke and Hummingbird. Also, he has written the screenplays for the films Closed Circuit, Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises. Furthermore, he is one of the three creators of the television game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

As well as Peaky Blinders he has written for BBC programmes Commercial Breakdown, The Detectives and Taboo.


17:30    Be More Connected

Join us for food, drinks and networking


18:00    Be More Informed

Michael Gubbins

We hear a few words from Michael Gubbins, Strategic Project Leader, West Midlands Screen Bureau on how the WMSB is helping to support the creative screen sector in the region.


Due to limited capacity, we’re prioritising Midlands based creatives and businesses for this event. You can register your interest to attend and a member of our team will get back to you within 2 working days to confirm your place.

Please note that the event will begin at 2pm and the registration desk will open at 1pm to allow for a prompt start. Refreshments will be available on arrival. Please ensure you leave enough time to register.

For more information on our previous Be More Creative events, please find webpages for Manchester, Bristol, & Leeds here.