Cultural Affairs Manager
Both my parents are from Glasgow, Scotland, although they met when their families moved to England as economic migrants in the 70’s. I’m assured that being from a Scottish clan makes it considerably easier to trace the family tree, so I’m determined to have a go, as I live in the hope there’s an acre or two of unclaimed land to inherit in the foothills of the highlands by the banks of Loch Lomond, the ancient ancestral seat! The MacFarlane clan motto is “This I’ll Defend” (referring to the Imperial Crown) and they fought in the wars for Scottish Independence alongside Robert the Bruce. As a Republican and a pro-Union campaigner, I’m not sure my ancestors would have liked me very much...
Before being asked to join Julie’s team, I’ve worn many hats in the creative industries. As a theatre director and creative arts consultant, I’ve worked with some of the UK’s leading cultural institutions and used my expanding networks to bring about positive social change in communities; for example in healthcare, community cohesion and urban planning initiatives. My work developed to include large scale multi- stakeholder projects, often deploying innovative and cross-sectoral approaches to help renegotiate the role that the arts can play in our everyday lives.
My varied career has seen me work all over Europe and has brought me into contact with people and cultures that have broadened my world view. My experiences have solidified my ambitions to see people from all backgrounds have the same opportunities as those in more fortunate circumstances and as such, my work has always had a political engagement.
I am Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Chair of a multimillion pound community led regeneration project in Manchester and a member of the Homelessness Charter Cultural Action Group.
I am French, coming from Toulouse so I feel very cold in Brussels and even colder when I come to northern England. Before working for Julie I was Policy Officer at Culture Action Europe, the European political platform for arts and culture. This experience provided me with a deep understanding of the EU legislative system that I now use in the service of the people of North West England, knowing that what will benefit them will bring benefits for all Europeans.
I strongly believe in the European Project and in the particular role the European Parliament can play in bridging the gap between the citizens and the EU Institutions. The European Union can only step out from the political crisis it is facing by adopting a new approach based on sustainability and democratic reforms.
The shape the European project will take in the years to come depends on choices we make now. Therefore I believe that it is time for decision-makers and citizens alike to form a broader discourse on the future of European societies, underlining social and cultural development as a strategic necessity. I hope I can contribute to this approach through my work with Julie.
I am from Israel, but have lived across Europe since my childhood, from Switzerland, to the Netherlands, the UK, and Belgium. Israelis tend to have interesting family roots, and mine are Polish on the one side, and Argentinian on the other. Having seen different countries with external eyes, I developed a European perspective, and learned to appreciate the importance of the EU.
I studied music performance in London, and then made a career change to take politics and law at University College Utrecht, in the Netherlands, with an emphasis on human rights law. Having taken an early interest in British politics, I joined the Cooperative Party and the Fabian Society while writing an undergraduate thesis about democratic decision-making in businesses. I then went on to do a masters in European policy at the College of Europe, in Bruges, with a focus on social and environmental policies.
When I was a small child, I went through a phase of wanting to be an astronaut, and a scientist, and much later on I contemplated a life in music. Nevertheless, I always had a strong interest in politics. I signed up for Greenpeace Israel at around 8 years old and I still play guitar with a band in Brussels.
I have greatly enjoyed my first year in the European Parliament. Working for gender equality, human rights, and social justice gives one good reason to get up in the morning. We have been a passionate, determined, and resilient team, as we have gotten our teeth into the work at the Parliament. The coming year will surely be at least equally intensive, and as the EU referendum looms, making a clear stand for the UK’s place in Europe is more important than ever. I look forward to getting stuck in, and supporting Julie and the team as the referendum campaign picks up.
Hailing from Manchester, the city which founded Chartism, the Trade Union movement and the Suffragettes, politics is in the blood.
I’ve been stuffing leaflets through letter boxes for Labour since I can remember (being a daughter of activists) and after trying to create my own political party (The Llama Party) in the 2005 mock elections at high school, I joined the Labour Party not long after. I studied French and International Relations at the University of St Andrews, specialising in terrorism, political Islam, post conflict transition and humanitarian intervention and writing my dissertation on the social and political implications of French hardcore rap music on French society. After working in the USA, Nigeria and France, I founded an independent music publication, which aimed to fuse together the discussion of politics and music, before coming to work at the European Parliament for Theresa Griffin MEP. I spent almost a year with Theresa working on key issues such as energy poverty and workers’ rights before joining Team Ward.
Seeing the huge, positive impact of European Union funding in my own city and knowing of the social protections and benefits that it offers us, I am fervently pro-EU. Indeed, there is always fine-tuning to be done, but we can’t underestimate how enhanced women’s rights, workers’ rights, protections for children and the seventy-plus years of peace that the EU has gifted us has changed the lives of generations of Europeans for the better. I’m proud to be part of the European family!