We begin our journey of celebrating creativity in Leeds - a hub of culture, technology and innovation. Leeds is a city in transition as the creative industries are expanding throughout the region, bringing opportunity to the diverse talent the city has to offer.

Be More Leeds: Overview

Introducing a ground breaking new celebration of regional creativity and entrepreneurialism

BE MORE: CREATIVE is multi-year celebration of the innovators, the mavericks and the pioneers fuelling the explosion of creativity across the length and breadth of our country’s cities and regions.

We are proud to start our journey in Leeds; the home of the world’s first film seemed a fitting location for the launch of our new flagship celebration of creativity.

This is the start of a series that will highlight the strengths of creativity within our cities and regions; to showcase the diverse and distinct voices that reflect each area; and to celebrate those innovating individuals and businesses, producing creative content that pushes technology to its very limits.

Be More Creative: Leeds took place in Lambert’s Yard; the last surviving triple-storey house in the centre of Leeds, originally built circa 1600. It used to house George Lambert’s grocery store, but it’s been home to a wide swath of businesses. And now, with the imagination of some of the best design, décor, fashion, and architecture minds in the UK, it’s the gorgeous space you see today – home to one of the earliest fashion incubators hosted by the College of Fashion Enterprise outside of London. 

The day started out with a bang with an enticing and mesmerising performance by the glorious Pheonix Dance Theatre. Nicola Mendelsohn presented the key note speech of the day discussing her strong magnetism to Leeds and the impact and the growth of the region and the creative industries as a whole.

Following this, our CEO, Caroline Norbury’s speech welcomed the audience, followed by an in conversation with BFI CEO Amanda Nevill. We heard from a selection of Leeds City Region SME’s as well as a panel discussion of screening in the North with with Iain Smith (BFC), Sally Joynson (Screen Yorkshire) and Bekki Wray-Rogers (Duck Soup Films).

The night ceased with a keynote from Chief Officer Cluny Macpherson from Leeds City Council, discussing how they approached their bid for European City of Culture 2023.

The post event saw exhibitions from games, tech and digital businesses, screenings from Mojo and Studio 12 and perhaps too much wine.

We present to you, Be More Creative

What will we talk about?

  • Telling the authentic, diverse and distinct stories of the various, borderless regions and their pioneers, showcasing how they are all unique and brilliant in their own ways, shining a light on cities and connecting these creative communities together
  • Showcasing the power of the creative industries to drive productivity and rebalance the economy across the country 
  • Inspiring and giving talent a platform to express a creative life in all areas across the country 
  • Exploring the intersection of creativity and tech across film, TV, games and tech Start the conversation and create debate
  • Make our regional superstars famous!

Be More Leeds: Speakers

Nicola Mendelsohn, CBE, Facebook VP EMEA & CIC Chair

Nicola Mendelsohn is currently the Vice President for Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Facebook. A role she has held since 2013.

In addition, she is currently the co-chair of the Creative Industries Council alongside Secretaries of State for DCMS and BEIS – a joint forum between the UK creative industries and government. In September 2014, she became a non-executive director of Diageo.  She is also a Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and serves on The Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Board. She and her husband are co-presidents of the charity Norwood. 

In 2015 she was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the creative industries in the UK.

Prior to joining Facebook, Nicola worked in advertising for over 20 years, beginning her career at Bartle Bogle Hegarty then moving to be deputy Chairman of Grey London. In 2008, she became partner and executive chairman at the advertising agency, Karmarama.

Prior roles include, first female President of  the IPA (the advertising industry trade body) Trustee of The White Ribbon Alliance, Chairman of Women’s Aid Development Board and former President of the Women in Advertising and Communications London club (WACL).

Her greatest joy in life comes from her husband Jon and her four children Gabi, Danny, Sam and Zac.

Amanda Nevill CBE - CEO of the BFI

I have the huge pleasure of leading the most exciting and dynamic cultural organisation in the world. Surrounded by a wonderful team we have transformed the BFI – bringing the great heritage collections out from the dark – millions viewed films on the BFI Player last year; turning BFI Southbank into the destination for all film lovers; creating the BFI Film Academy giving opportunity to young talent from every background across the UK; ramping up the BFI London Film Festival for the greatest filmmakers from around the globe and shining a spotlight on exciting talented newcomers.

There is more to do – to bring greater diversity into the heart of decision making across our industry; for our fantastic cultural programme to ignite debate and make change happen. Most of all we are ambitious for the future.

Amanda is an Honorary FRPS, holds an Honorary Doctorate Bradford University; Bradford College and the University of York; and was awarded a CBE in 2015.

Cluny Macpherson, Chief Officer for Culture and Sport at Leeds City Council

Cluny has been Chief Officer for Culture and Sport at Leeds City Council since 2013, where his responsibilities include oversight of the city’s venues including Leeds Town Hall, its nine museum sites, and portfolio of leisure centres.  He is also the Council’s lead officer with respect to major events such as Tour de France, Light Night and the World Triathlon Series.  He leads Leeds’ bid to be European Capital of Culture 2023.   

In addition to previous jobs as market trader, youth worker and, for 10 years, a professional musician he was most recently the Regional Director of the Arts Council in Yorkshire.

Sally Joynson, CEO Screen Yorkshire

Sally has been central to Screen Yorkshire’s operation since
its formation in 2002, first as Head of Industry Development and, since 2006, Chief Executive.  A high profile champion of the screen industries in Yorkshire and the UK, Sally has extensive experience in cultivating businesses, establishing networks and forming high level partnerships in the TV, Film and Games sectors. She has played a pivotal role in the growth of some of Yorkshire’s most successful indies.

Sally has led her team to secure significant investment for the screen industries in the region:  In 2012 she relaunched Screen Yorkshire as a commercial content investor, managing the £15m public/private Yorkshire Content Fund, which has attracted nearly 40 major film and TV productions to the region. In 2015 Screen Yorkshire launched a major new film and TV production space, the Church Fenton Yorkshire Studios, now home to ITV’s Victoria. That year, Screen Yorkshire, in partnership with Sheffield Doc/Fest and Game Republic, also submitted the first and to date only successful bid to the BFI’s Creative Cluster Challenge Fund, which aims to support the growth of emerging screen sector centres outside London. Sally sits on several Advisory Boards including National Science and Media Museum, Yorkshire Film Archive and Digital Creativity Labs.

Bekki Wray Rogers, Managing Director Duck Soup Films

Bekki Wray-Rogers is Managing Director of Duck Soup Films. Established in 2015, the Yorkshire-based indie has built a burgeoning slate of bold, authored, scripted content for TV and Film, working with an eclectic and diverse mix of regional, national and international talent. A collaboration between Bekki Wray-Rogers, Libby Durdy and Jessica Holyland, the company recently announced a 25% investment from global production outfit Fremantle Media.

Prior to Duck Soup Films, Bekki Wray-Rogers produced high-end TV drama productions - most recently, Shane Meadows’ THIS IS ENGLAND ’90 for Warp Films / Channel4 and previously Meadows’ THIS IS ENGLAND '88 for Warp Films / Channel 4 and the UTOPIA series 1 & 2 for Kudos Film & TV/Channel 4. Bekki won BAFTA’s for THIS IS ENGLAND ’88 & ‘90 for best Drama mini-series in 2012 & 2016 respectively and UTOPIA has won a FIPA, a clutch of RTS awards, and an International EMMY in 2014 for Best Drama Series. 

Bekki lives in Leeds with her husband and two children.

Be More Leeds: Agenda

Date: Thursday 13th July 2017

13:00 Welcome – Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO Creative England

13:25 Creative Industries in the Regions – Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, Facebook VP EMEA & CIC Chair 

13:50 In Conversation with Amanda Nevill CBE, British Film Institute CEO 

14:40 Be More Entrepreneurial - An SME Showcase, 4 cross-sector companies from the region will have 5 mins to present their business in a creative way

15:45 Screen in the North – Putting the spotlight on the North through film and television with Iain Smith (BFC), Sally Joynson (Screen Yorkshire) and Bekki Wray-Rogers (Duck Soup Films)

16:40 Closing comments – Cluny Macpherson, Chief Officer, Culture & Sport at Leeds City Council

16:45 - 19:30 - Be More Connected - Drinks reception & exhibition – An immersive insight into Leeds bubbling creative scene with the opportunity to experience moving image and be entertained by some of Leeds brightest creatives

Be More Entrepreneurial: Leeds

SME Showcase - presentations

Production Park

Production Park is an international centre for the live events industry. It is made up of several leading brands that range from music and TV to motorsport and collectively they have worked with international artists such as Rolling Stones, Lady GaGa, U2, Jay-Z and Foo Fighters.  Creative England has supported their mission to scale the park and build five new development stages. This will support new facilities as part of the campus offering, particularly as part of their Backstage Academy - a  centre of excellence for live events training and specialist degree courses. The expansion project will help position the company to capitalise on growth by servicing demand and also develop a new pool of skilled and experienced talent.


We are BetaJester, a start-up consisting of 3 software engineers. We have extensive experience in making digital experience that are creative, inspiring and a lot of fun! We've been around for the last 4 years, formally becoming a company in early 2015. Since then we have expanded our skill set and now focus on delivering creative and effective solutions to a range of clients across development of applications, web solutions, games, and virtual reality, each bespoke to our client's needs. We are constantly working on new and exciting projects and are regular competitors in hackathons and development competitions across the country. If you want to keep up to date with us or get in touch about hiring us, please don't hesitate to get in contact!

We will be showing Decrypt, our brand new IP funded by the Creative England.

ADI Healthcare

ADI are a leading digital healthcare provider and consultancy. They combine the creative use of digital technology and behavioural science to transform the way healthcare is delivered. Creative England provided ADI with investment (£200,000) to accelerate the development and commercialisation of their product ‘PainSense’ which supports self-management of chronic pain.  The investment has helped the ADI evolve the product rapidly to market need and enable the company to grow.

My Knowledge Map

Rob is Founder and Chairman of MyKnowledgeMap. Before founding MyKnowledgeMap Rob spent over 20 years with IBM in various senior management roles. For over 5 years this included being Location Manager for IBM Yorkshire & Humber based here in Leeds. MyKnowledgeMap are a small learning technology company based in York that now has clients worldwide including schools, universities, professional bodies and large corporates.  This includes high profile clients such as the General Medical Council, the Chartered Management Institute, Cambridge University and Siemens.

Be More Connected: Leeds

Drinks reception & exhibition – An immersive insight into Leeds bubbling creative scene with the opportunity to experience moving image and be entertained by some of Leeds brightest creatives

Be More Leeds: Photography

A snapshot of a great day, great content and a great audience. Image credit Alex Mead www.thisisdecoy.co.uk

Be More Leeds: Live

Watch the live stream of BE MORE LEEDS right here:

Nicola Mendelsohn, CBE, Facebook VP EMEA & CIC Chair - Creative Industries in the Regions

Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO Creative England

In Conversation - with Amanda Nevill CBE, British Film Institute CEO & Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO Creative England

Screen in the North – Putting the spotlight on the North through film and television with Iain Smith (BFC), Sally Joynson (Screen Yorkshire) and Bekki Wray-Rogers (Duck Soup Films)

Closing comments: Cluny Macpherson, Chief Officer for Culture and Sport at Leeds City Council