Cultural Affairs Manager/UK Office 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.