Helen Ward - JDA Managing Director

Helen joined Jack Drum Arts as a director in 2001.  She grew up in Singapore and Devon and after 4 years travelling the world attended Plymouth University to study photography, film and media. Upon graduating Helen lived in London and then Yorkshire where she quickly established herself a freelance career working as lead artist for Corridor Arts in Barnsley.

In 2009 Helen took part in a Cultural Leadership Programme managed by Visiting Arts being selected as one of only 3 people in the UK.  After spending 3 months working in New York with the award winning youth media organisation Listen Up! she returned to the UK to develop a special focus of work devising and managing international projects and subsequently founding Kids for Kids; a community interest company that provided filmmaking opportunities for young people alongside an international film festival and young filmmakers competition.

In 2012 Helen was awarded a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship to travel to Asia to undertake research into youth film festival and filmmaking.  Her trip took her to China, South Korea, Japan and Laos PDR where she developed work in partnership with a number of film festivals alongside work with a charity helping young people in Laos to tell their stories through film.

Helen is strategic lead for all projects within Jack Drum Arts taking responsibility for the management, programming and design of a wide range of creative projects as well as supervision of staff and contracts and the development of our international work.

Julie Ward – Co-Founder / Member of the European Parliament

Julie co-founded Jack Drum Arts in 1986 – the same year that her first son Jack was born! She had previously worked as a director of Northern Shape, a regional arts and disability agency, as a festival director in Coventry and Nottingham and as an arts journalist for the Guardian. However, it was her work at Contact Theatre in Manchester, developing youth arts, which formed the basis for a life-long career in performing arts and education.

Julie has worked as a writer in residence for many organisations including Age Concern, the Poetry Society, English Nature and various schools and health projects, and travelled around the world running writing workshops for universities, colleges and community groups. In 1996 she travelled in Australia, Canada and the USA as a Fellow of the Churchill and Commonwealth Trusts, visiting health and Trade Union arts projects.  In 2003 she was voted NE Woman Social Entrepreneur of the Year. She has been a board member of Culture North East and a member of Arts Council England, as well as a governor at Wolsingham Comprehensive School.  In 2012 Julie completed a Masters in Education and International Development at Newcastle University and in May 2014 was elected as an MEP for the North West of England.  Although not active in the day-to-day running of the organisation at present, Julie sits on the advisory board and will remain as a director during her 5-year term in the European parliament.

Jack Burton – Freelance Musician and Sound Artist

Jack Burton was born and raised in County Durham on a diet of fresh air, football and drumming. He went to London and graduated with a degree in music from Goldsmiths College in 2008, spending much of his time locked away in a studio carefully editing strange noises. He missed the more familiar and natural sounds of sheep and cows however, so he moved back to the north and has since performed and composed for a number of companies across the region.

Jack is a talented multi-instrumentalist, although these talents end firmly at the mouthpiece of a trombone. He has designed sound for a number of prestigious projects; Canary Gold, a theatrical collaboration between Theatre Sans Frontieres and Teatro Tamaska and performed at Edinburgh Festival; Penumbra, a projection mapping commission for Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in collaboration with video artist Gareth Hudson. Jack is also a highly regarded electronic artist. His current project, Dog and Fox, has received considerable acclaim on the ambient and electronic scene with a listenership spanning from the UK to New Zealand and beyond.

Michele Armstrong – Head of Volunteering, Auckland Castle Trust and Kynren

Michele is a southerner by birth but a northener by choice. Moving to County Durham in 1993, Michele has made the Durham Dales her home. Working in the Voluntary and Community sector for 20 years, Michele is skilled in helping organisations develop and utilise their resources. Jack Drum Arts has played an important part in Michele's life, as a professional, a parent and someone who, although not an expert in arts and culture, can indulge herself in a world that is full of surprises. Michele was previously CEO of 2D - The Durham Dales Volunteer Bureau, and is now Head of Volunteering at the Auckland Castle Trust and Kynren.

Jack Drum Arts

E: info@jackdrum.co.uk
T: 44 (0) 1388 765002

St Cuthbert’s Centre
Church Hill, Crook,
County Durham,
DL15 9DN

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