Three Choirs Festival
Alexis joined the BAFA board in November 2017, and became vice-chair in November 2018. She has been the Chief Executive of Three Choirs Festival Association since January 2016, and prior to that spent five years as Cheltenham Music Festival’s Manager. She has also worked as an Education Assistant at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and in a freelance capacity, she has worked as a composer assistant, arranger, researcher, and everything from event manager to first aid support on festivals from Presteigne to Wilderness. Alexis has a PhD in twentieth century music and culture from Cardiff University and has taught on aesthetics and contemporary music at Cardiff and Salford universities. She is currently a trustee of Goldfield Productions, and in her free time plays violin and viola with various local ensembles.
Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival
Anna joined the BAFA Board in 2022. She brings with her a wealth of experience in festival management and event production across artforms, venues and visions. Highlights include Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival, the inaugural Grange Park Opera, Covent Garden Festival and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames open studios through to The Big Picture Company, Adonais Dance Company, Early Opera Company, Pimlico Opera & the Farnham Maltings. She is currently Administrative Director at opera company Tête à Tête and Senior Silly Administrator at outdoor arts mavericks The Bureau Of Silly Ideas.
Newbury Spring Festival
Ashley Morris is General Manager of Newbury Spring Festival. In his role at the Festival he is responsible for all aspects of the organisation and administration of the annual Festival, now in its 41st year. His current responsibilities are wide ranging and include running the Festival office, securing funding and sponsorship for the Festival, producing printed marketing materials, volunteer coordination, and overseeing the production of the 45 Festival events each year. Ashley has worked in the music industry for his entire professional career. Before the Festival Ashley worked as Manager: Administration & Operations at the International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA). In his role there he was involved with all aspects of IAMA, including membership matters, but focusing on the financial management of the association, and worked closely alongside the Chief Executive and Board to deliver the annual IAMA Conference.
Harrogate International Festivals
Sharon Canavar is Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals. With a background in music and special interest in the travel trade she worked for the country’s most successful specialist tour operator; Kuoni Travel Ltd and a privately owned start up JAC Travel Ltd. Since joining Harrogate International Festivals she has expanded and diversified the organisation which now encompasses a year-round programme of activity attracting more than 90,000 people to its portfolio of activities. She sits as a Non-Exec Director on Harrogate BID and Harrogate Convention Centre.
After training at the Royal Academy of Music, Alison worked as a musician before going into marketing and fundraising at English National Opera. She became Administrator and then General Manager of The Sixteen, where she worked on international and UK touring, and set up the group’s recording label, CORO. After nine happy years Alison moved into freelance work, with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and the vocal ensemble Tenebrae. Alison now works as Festival Producer for Presteigne Festival, and for Brecon Baroque Festival. She is also a consultant with Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants.
Concerts & Events Manager
BBC Proms & Radio 3
Helen Heslop manages the Live Events Team for the Proms and BBC Radio 3, and has done since 1998. In the past she has also worked on BBC Young Musician of the Year and as Tours Manager of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Her main two roles on the BBC Proms are working with the Director of the Proms on the artistic planning and overseeing the logistical planning of the festival. Helen has been involved with BAFA in various guises since 2003.
Dr Jane Ali-Knight
Director of Edinburgh Institute, Festivals, Events and Tourism
Edinburgh Napier University
Dr Jane Ali-Knight is a Professor in Festival and Event Management at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland and a Visiting Professor at Curtin University, Australia. She is currently leading and developing the festival and event subject group as well as lecturing at Universities internationally and facilitating training and development in the field. Her core activities fall into three main areas: event and festival related programmes; research and publications and conferences and professional events. She is currently a board member of BAFA (British Arts and Festivals Association) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Royal Society of the Arts.
Erica Smith is currently the Director of Portsfest an annual City-Wide arts and cultural festival. She has been a programme manager and creative producer in the creative industries for 20 years including the UK wide Creative Partnerships programme where she was at the heart of creativity in education for Hampshire and Isle of Wight. She has devised hundreds of innovative projects and produced thousands of events with a specialist knowledge in mixed media projects. Erica is also the director and Co-Founder of Voice FM radio station in Southampton.