From work placement to Chairwoman: Burnley woman named MPA Chair

Dr Stephanie Hawke.
Dr Stephanie Hawke.

Having completed work placement at the commissioning agency some 24 years ago, a Burnley-born woman has been named the new Chair of the Trustee Board at Mid Pennine Arts.

Taking over from Cllr Andy Macnae, Dr Stephanie Hawke has been announced as the agency's new Chairwoman after being voted in at last week’s annual general meeting by her fellow trustees.

Stephanie, who had her first experience of MPA on a school work placement in 1993, has previously worked for English Heritage, the National Coal Mining Museum, and a teacher before returning to the company in 2010 as a part-time Education Coordinator while she finished her PhD in heritage studies in Newcastle.

Stephanie, who has presented her research at conferences internationally, then became Creative Learning Programme Manager, initiating some of MPA’s most successful projects for young people, before leaving in 2013 to join Curious Minds ahead of becoming a MPA trustee.

"The organisation has brought vibrancy, colour and texture to Pennine Lancashire for over 50 years, often with little recognition –who doesn’t love the Singing Ringing Tree?" said Stephanie, who also raised funds for MPA by completing the London Marathon in 2016. "MPA make me proud to live in Burnley."

The board and staff expressed their grateful thanks to Cllr Macnae, who had chaired the charity for the last six years, for all his hard work and dedication.

“When I first became Chair we agreed that MPA would continue to strive for ambitious work, despite the challenging financial climate," said Cllr Macnae, who will continue to help guide MPA as a Trustee. "We have developed some excellent projects that are making a real difference for our Lancashire communities."

Nick Hunt, Creative Director of MPA, said: “We are delighted that Steph is taking on the role of leading our organisation. Her academic work at the meeting points of art, heritage, and destination-making is internationally known, and she is the ideal Chair to take us forward."