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Wendy Parvin

Business Development Manager, Creative Fuse Tees Valley

Business Development Manager for Creative Fuse Tees Valley, Wendy Parvin is an entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity educator with over 30 years of experience wo...

Lynn Retallick

ERDF Project Coordinator, Research & Innovation

Lynn joined the Creative Fuse team at Northumbria University in February 2021.  She brings over 15 years’ experience within the education sector managing project fi...

Hannah Draboczy

Communications and Events Coordinator

Hannah is a Communications and Events Coordinator for the Teesside University-led initiative, DigitalCity, where the Creative Fuse Tees Valley part of the project sits...

Samiullah Paracha

Research & Development Specialist

Dr. Samiullah Paracha is the Research and Development Specialist of the Creative Fuse North East team at the University of Sunderland, exploring how to stimulate and f...

Ann Howard

Creative Fuse Coordinator

Ann joined the Creative Fuse team in September 2020 moving from Durham University English Department and has been enjoying getting to know the team and the people invo...

Aarron Toal

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Aarron is a researcher at Durham University working as part of Creative Fuse North East. He supports innovation research projects and collaborates with SMEs in the Cou...

Suzanne Nestor-Robson

Deputy Director / Policy Academy Co-Director

Experienced in public service roles and higher education support service leadership and management at organisational and regional levels.

Possesses over two dec...

Jennifer Allinson

Project Development Manager

Jennifer became Project Development Manager at Northumbria University in February 2021, having led the writing of the original Creative Fuse bid in 2015, under the dir...

Rachel Murphy

Project Development and Compliance Manager : Research and Innovation Services

Rachel has worked in the management of projects and funding for over 20 years now, covering contracts related to economic regeneration, working with unemployed people ...

Ollie Hemstock

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Ollie Hemstock is a Research Fellow in the School of Design at Northumbria University, where he is involved with developing, piloting and delivering collaborative d...

Gill Hagan-Green

Research and Innovation Specialist

Dr Gill Hagan-Green is the Research and Innovation Specialist of the Creative Fuse Sunderland team, she was also a Reader in Business Technology at the University of B...

Lord Vaizey of Didcot

Chair, Creative Fuse North East Advisory Board

Lord Vaizey of Didcot was the Member of Parliament for Wantage between 2005 and 2019. He served as the UK Government Culture and Digital Minister from 2010-16, and is ...

Jonathan Sapsed

Principal Investigator, Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Jonathan Sapsed is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Newcastle University Business School. He is Principal Investigator of Creative Fuse North East, a £...

Mark Adamson

Project Director, Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Mark became Project Director in March 2018, having previously led and coordinated the delivery of the University of Sunderland’s Creative Fuse activity.

As Pr...

Mandy Barker

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Mandy is sole founder of Sail, a creative branding and design studio in the North East focussing on social impact. Mandy proactively speaks out about equality and radi...

Caroline Norbury

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Caroline Norbury MBE is the founding chief executive of Creative England and the Chief Executive of Creative Industries Federation, and is dedicated to championing the...

Jenny Lang

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Jenny is responsible for overseeing the delivery of Digital Catapult activity across the North East and Tees Valley. She has overall responsibility for regional monito...

Catherine Johns

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Catherine was appointed as CEO of Kielder Observatory in September 2019 and brings a wealth of knowledge of the space industry. As Director of the North East Centre of...

Phil Jackman

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Guerrilla Worker, strategic thinker, occasional maverick and reluctant over-achiever with an interest in culture change, creative opportunities and regional developmen...

Alan Welby

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Alan is Director of Innovation at North East Local Enterprise Partnership. His role focuses on the delivery of key programmes and stimulate investment in innovation an...

Hannabiell Sanders

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Hannabiell is a bass trombonist, an African hand percussionist, and a composer. She is a progressive music teacher who strives to teach her students different ways of ...

Cassian Harrison

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Cassian Harrison is Channel Editor of BBC Four, one of the BBC’s most distinctive and much-loved television services. Under Cassian’s leadership, BBC Four has grow...

Jane Tarr

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Jane is national Director for Organisational Resilience and Environmental Sustainability and is Director of the North East Arts Council office. Arts Council England is...

Simon Green

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Simon is Chair of the Innovation SuperNetwork, a network supporting innovation in business across the North East and includes the established VentureFest North East an...

Paul Meller

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Dr Paul Meller is Associate Director of Programmes at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), responsible for the Council’s investments in the creative indu...

Sevra Davis

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Sevra Davis became the Director for Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council in November 2019.

Sevra is an experienced designer, design advocate and l...

Sophie Craggs

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Sophie is Innovation Specialist at Digital Catapult NETV, which is delivered by Sunderland Software City, and focuses on the Creative and Cultural Sector. Engaging loc...

Paul Stewart

Research Associate

Paul is an artist and researcher based at Teesside University. He will be researching the role that digital tools can have on creative opportunities for collaboration ...

Simon McKeown

Researcher and Digital Specialist

Simon McKeown is a Reader in the School of Computing, Media and the Arts at Teesside University. He is an active researcher involved in digital practice and culture, h...

Alistair Brown

Postdoctoral Researcher

Alistair is a part-time postdoctoral researcher at Durham University. He supports innovation projects and collaborates with SMEs in the County Durham area. Through the...

Ladan Cockshut

Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

Ladan is a senior postdoctoral researcher at Durham University. She is involved with social innovation research projects and uses action research in her collaboration ...

Paul Richter

Co-Investigator and Project Advisor, Creative Connections Business Innovation Programme

Paul is running the “Creative Connections” business development strand with Fiona Whitehurst, Mo O’Toole and Anna-Maria Steel.

Paul is a Lectu...

Jill McKinney

Innovation and Delivery Manager (Digital Business Innovation Programme)

Jill is part of the Digital Business Innovation Programme. She will be working across the North East in the fastest growing sector, supporting software businesses to g...

Rachel Peacock

Engagement Lead, Digital Business Innovation Programme

Rachel is the business engagement lead within the Creative Fuse Digital Business Innovation Programme.

She is employed by Generator as the Digital Union Networ...

Elena Gorman

Project Development Manager (Northumbria Strand)

Elena manages the development and delivery of Northumbria University’s Creative Fuse activity. She is the first point of contact for Northumbria’s

Anna-Maria Steel

Programme Consultant (Creative Connections)

Anna-Maria has been involved in the design, implementation and delivery of Creative Connections, a Creative Fuse project based at Newcastle University bringing innovat...

Tamara Gilbert

Project Administrator, Creative Fuse North East

Tamara provides project management support in the coordination, administration and financial management of Creative Fuse, liaising with all the partner universities, S...

Jon Swords

Creative Fuse Mapping Team

Jon is part of the mapping team which has been examining the scale and scope of CDIT businesses in the North East.

He is interested in the special nature of the...

Nate Sterling

Research Assistant

Nate is a Research Assistant at Northumbria University. His role within the project is to explore what interventions can be tested and piloted to develop new models of...

Suzy O’Hara

Innovation Development Executive

Dr Suzy O’Hara is a digital art curator and researcher based at the University of Sunderland. Through her role in Creative Fuse North East, Suzy seeks to understand ...

Declan Baharini

Cultural Sector Engagement Broker

Declan has been appointed to work with all five university partners.  Her role is to engage the North East’s wider cultural sector in Creative Fuse, covering b...

Faye Harland

Events Coordinator

Faye manages Creative Fuse North East’s events programme, including our monthly CAKE (Collaboration And Knowledge Exchange) events.

She is committed to findin...

Frances Hardcastle

Network and Communications Coordinator

Frances is responsible for external and internal communications for the project. She manages the website, newsletter, external mailings and social media accounts.


Sam Murray

Creative Fuse Researcher

Sam’s research interests include creative policy-making and examining the impact of devolution on cultural policy. He is also interested in how the arts can be u...

Sophie Anderson

Project Administrative Assistant (Sunderland Team)

Sophie provides behind the scenes administrative support for Sunderland University in the delivery of the ERDF elements of Creative Fuse.

This includes liaising...

Paul Lancaster

Steering Group Member

Award-winning ‘SuperConnector’, published author, content marketing & social media expert.

Malgorzata Gosia Ciesielska

Creative Fuse Investigator

Gosia’s research interests focus on cross-section of organisational behaviour and innovation management, and particular areas of hybrid organisations, diversity...

Manos Chatzakis

Design Research Fellow

Manos is part of the Design-Led Innovation team at Northumbria, working on the design and delivery of the Get Ready to Innovate scheme.

Manos’s research f...

Neil Smith


Neil believes that design and design-thinking can bring light to complex and wicked problems, both within manufacture, industry, technology and societal issues.

Huseyin Seker


Big data is transforming almost every aspect of science and the humanities. Turning big data into actionable, personalized and profitable outcome depends on collaborat...

Giselle Stewart OBE

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

As Director of UK Corporate Affairs for Ubisoft, I am primarily focused on ensuring the optimal environment for games development to flourish in the UK, as well as loo...

Jim Mawdsley

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

As CEO of Generator, Jim Mawdsley oversees the agency’s work to build and strengthen regional music and creative digital businesses.Jim is currently an active board ...

Herb Kim

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Herb is best known as Founder of the long-running Thinking Digital Conference. The 8th Annual Thinking Digital Conference takes place in...

Phil Jones

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Phil Jones is currently Managing Director of Wired Sussex. In this capacity he advises a wide number of digital media companies and oversees the agency’s various pro...

Darren Jobling

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

As COO of Eutechnyx, Darren Jobling helped build one of the world’s largest independent developers, specialising in racing and driving games.

He established Z...

Lorraine Heggessey

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Lorraine Heggessey was the first ever female BBC One controller and is now a lauded keynote speaker, media consultant, and television producer.

Successful and ...

Arwen Duddington

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Arwen DuddingtonRead more

Laura Dyer

Laura leads the delivery of the Arts Council’s second strategic goal: that everyone has the opportunity to experience and to be inspired by the arts, museums and lib...

David Dunn

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

David is the current CEO of Sunderland Software City, a nationally recognised technology sector support body.

Prior to this regionally important role David held...

David Docherty

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

David Docherty is Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business, and Chairman of the Digital Television Group, the industry body for digital tel...

Frank Boyd

Board Member, Creative Fuse North East

Frank Boyd is Director of the Knowledge Transfer Network leading its programmes in the Creative Industries, the Digital Economy and Design....

Mariann Hardey

Principal Investigator (Durham)

Mariann Hardey is an Associate Professor at Durham University Business School and part of the Directorate for the Advanced Researc...

Xiaoxian Zhu


Dr Xiaoxian Zhu is a senior lecturer in Human Resource Development at Teesside University.

She is a member of CIPD and a subject examiner of international exami...

Louise Kempton

Senior Research Associate

I’m particularly interested in the role of universities in supporting local growth and innovation and whether the drivers and barriers for businesses in the CDIT sec...

Mersha Aftab

Senior Lecturer in Innovation

Design means business!

My interest is in the role design plays in the strategic innovation process in multinational industries.

My ambition is to fit des...

Georgios Theodoropoulos


I’m a stout believer in interdisciplinary research as a vehicle to shift mindsets and move from entrenched, siloed thinking to long-term contextual perspectives....

Barry Hodgson

Manager, Digital Institute,

I manage the Digital Institute at Newcastle University where our work spans research, teaching and innovation through engagement with external organisations.


Heather Robson

Strategic Lead

Working in partnership, collaborating and engaging in the Region is at the heart of my work and central to teaching learning and research making a real difference to p...

Fiona Whitehurst


Fiona was involved in the mapping exercise that led to the Creative Fuse Initial Report and is now running the Creative Connections business development strand with Pa...

Ewan Mackenzie

Presently I am a Research Associate on phase of the project which aims to understand the nature of the creative, digital, and IT sectors in the North East of England.<...

Paul Vallance

Research Associate

I’m interested in the use of design and other creative practices across a broad range of economic activities, both inside and outside the CDIT sector.


Nick Holliman

Visualization Lead

Nick Holliman is Professor of Visualization at Newcastle University, he researches the science and engineering of interactive media including the fundamental challenge...

Alan McKinlay

Professor of Human Resource Management, NUBS

I’ve done a lot of research into changes in the television industry; and advertising.

Fusion is a great opportunity to work with the creative sector to produc...

Gretchen Larsen

Creative Fuse Co-Investigator

Gretchen’s expertise is in consumer research, at the intersection of consumption, markets and the arts. In particular she is interested in how people’s eng...

Nick Spencer

Senior Lecturer in Design Innovation

When we suspend traditional boundaries of discipline or company or community and the agendas they serve, how might we work together and what could we do?

How ca...

Cathrine Degnen

Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Interdisciplinarity and innovation are powerful sociocultural concepts.

As an ethnographer I am keen to understand better how people in their everyday lives mob...

Audrey Verma

Postdoc Researcher

I am an interdisciplinary social scientist fascinated by how new technologies alter the sociocultural landscape, mediating the ways in which we understand the world ar...

Sharon McDonald

Sharon is a reader at the University of Sunderland and a psychologist who specialises in Human-Computer Interaction. My research focuses on understanding and improvin...

Lynne Hall

Professor of Computer Science

Lynne Hall is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Sunderland. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and of the British Computer Society. She...

Andrew Richardson

Senior lecturer in Interactive Media and Motion Graphics

Andrew works as a senior lecturer in Interactive Media and Motion Graphics and his background combines both academic and practical work. His research has included exam...

Gerald Moore

Lecturer School of Modern Languages and Culture

My area of research expertise is human-technology interaction, with a particular emphasis on how our ways of thinking and experiencing the world are transformed by the...

Richard Clay

Professor of Digital Humanities

I firmly believe that collaborations between universities and other sectors mutually benefit all involved, collectively identifying problems that are best addressed to...

Mark Bailey

Institutional Lead, Northumbria

Meaningful innovation happens at the intersection of different disciplines where the knowledge, know-how and expertise of multiple actors comes together around a commo...

Arabella Plouviez

Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries

Prof. Arabella Plouviez is Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries and Professor of Photography at the University of Sunderland and is Sunderland’s aca...

Hamid Seddighi

Senior Lecturer Business & Management

Hamid is a Senior Lecturer in Business and Law at the University of Sunderland and leader of the University’s Enterprise Research Cluster.

As a Senior lecture...

Savvas Papagiannidis

Chair of Innovation & Enterprise

I am looking forward to testing our innovative clustering methodology in order to map the the Fusion related business clusters.

The findings should provide inte...

Rebecca Strachan

Faculty Executive Lead, Engineering and Environment, Northumbria Team

Rebecca’s research focuses on improving the lives of people by providing enhanced technological solutions and opening up new opportunities for their academic and...

Eric Cross

Principal Investigator

Eric has a central role in Creative Fuse, providing strategic direction and leadership along with the core team. He sees bringing the project’s wide range of par...

Paul Watson

We collaborate with companies regionally, nationally and internationally to allow the skills and methods we develop in our research projects to be applied to real-worl...

Carl Gregg

Electrical and Design Technician, Sunderland FabLab.

Carl has an interest in a broad range of design areas and has worked for a number of years teaching on various Animation and Design programmes at the University of Sun...

Lee Hall

Academic Lead

Lee’s background is as an experienced multi-platform journalist. He started his career by launching the Liverpool Student newspaper then began a long and continuing ...

Beryl Graham

Academic Lead

Beryl Graham is Professor of New Media Art at the University of Sunderland, and is co-founder of the CRUMB platform for curators of new media art. She has curated the ...

Anthony Eddison

Academic Lead

He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Television Society and the Design Research So...

Erin Dickson

Manufacturing and Design Technician, Fablab Sunderland

Erin trained as an architect before moving to glass, and then on to digital technology. She has experience in digital drawing, modelling and production, and enjoys wor...

Helen Ross

Project Manager, Creative Fuse North East

Helen project manages Creative Fuse North East, including operations and delivery, long-term strategy and legacy planning, and project compliance and reporting. She ha...