Announcing the Federation's Future of Freelance Champions

March 25, 2021

We are thrilled to announce the next steps of our work to support freelancers in the creative industries. Today we launch our Future of Freelance Champions who will shape and guide our activity as we work together with industry and government to drive systemic change. 

This group has been established as a result of extensive consultation with industry and work behind the scenes to join up and add value to existing activity. Throughout the pandemic to date, there have been a number of campaigns, initiatives and funds designed to support the freelance workforce across our sector, with a diversity of fast-paced proactive action ensuring support coverage for each unique area of the creative industries. Now we have an opportunity to convene all parts of the ecosystem and pull together a taskforce which can drive forward systemic change. 

Over the next year, our Champions will: 
  • Be advocates for the freelance community in their subsector or place.  

  • Link their work on the ground with our UK-wide and sector-wide voice, ensuring that our campaigns make every effort to give profile and visibility to the diversity and needs of creative freelancers and entrepreneurs.  

  • Develop ideas for a refreshed set of values for the creative industries, which gives support to all parts of the ecosystem, as well as sharing thoughts on where our policy and advocacy efforts are best focused.  

  • Guide and inform an industry consultation on a new approach for working with creative freelancers. 

The output of the group is due to be defined by the Champions at the first meeting in April and we will share next steps with members shortly after. 

Get involved! 

There will be heaps of opportunities for our creative community to get involved in shaping this work – and we’ll announce more on this soon. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for our Freelance Champions, please drop your thoughts here for discussion at the first meeting in April. 

You can also contact Evy Cauldwell French directly on She’d be really happy to hear about any initiatives we can join this work up with. 

Meet the Champions: 

Paule Constable 

Paule Constable is a Lighting Designer in theatre, opera and dance.  She is an associate director of the National Theatre and of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company.  She is a founder member of Freelancers Make Theatre Work 

John Gilchrist Jon is Executive Director of HOME in Manchester, a venue that presents a year-round programme of produced and visiting live performance across multiple spaces, and serves as the city’s centre for international contemporary art and film. 

Prior to this Jon worked as Executive Director of the Bush Theatre between 2014 and 2018. In this time he led on their major capital redevelopment, and helped expand the organisation’s reach as a centre of excellence for diverse emerging talent. Before this he worked in marketing roles at theatres across the North West for ten years, including The Lowry in Salford, the Octagon Theatre Bolton, and the Dukes in Lancaster. 
Jon is a trustee of HighTide and the Edge Theatre, Chorlton, and a UK Theatre Board member. 

Sarah Hopwood

Chartered Accountant with a long-standing passion for opera. I joined Glyndebourne nearly 24 years ago as Finance Director, following a career in a FTSE 100 company including 5 years in Hong Kong. Proud to lead the largest financially independent opera company in the UK and determined to contribute to getting the Arts back on its feet post COVID. 

Abby Kumar

Abby is a freelance TV Producer. From May to August 2020, she co-founded and ran the BAME TV Task Force. In August 2020, Edinburgh International TV Festival named her one of 30 'Ones To Watch'. Since September 2020, she has been helping organise the 'Coalition For Change' - a cross industry body aimed at improving conditions for freelancers in TV. 

Deborah Light

Deborah is a mover, maker and mother based in Cardiff: she is a self-producing dance artist and choreographer. Deborah is co-director of award-winning company Light, Ladd & Emberton. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally including UK showcasing platforms ‘British Council Showcase’ at Edinburgh festival, ‘British Dance Edition’ in Edinburgh and Bournemouth, ‘A Nations Theatre’ at Battersea Arts Centre ‘Spring Loaded’ at The Place London, and international touring platforms ‘Wales in India’ and ‘Dance Roads’. Her work has been awarded ‘Best Dance Production’ at the Theatre in Wales awards, she has been a Creative Wales Award recipient and shortlisted as a ‘Place Prize’ semi-finalist. 

Deborah’s movement directing for theatre has includes Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, The Other Room, FranWen and Taking Flight. She has performed for Joanna Young, Caroline Sabin, Run Ragged/Jem Treays, Sean Tuan John, Longborough Festival Opera, Diversions, Polish Dance Theatre and the Institute of Crazy Dancing among others. She has an extensive teaching practice and supports other artists as a creative assistant in dramaturgy, mentoring and producing roles. 

Deborah was a founder member of Groundwork (an artist led organisation offering training and development opportunities for dance artists in Wales). She was part of UK freelance taskforce for theatre and performance and Wales Freelance Taskforce. She is also an Arts associate for Arts Council Wales. 

Deborah lives in Cardiff and has 3 small children. 

Matt Lord

Over the past ten years Matt has worked as part of the Fringe Society’s Participant Services team to provide support, advice and encouragement to the amazing artists, producers and venues who create the Fringe. 

Swarzy Macaly

TV and Radio Presenter Swarzy Macaly presents KISS Breakfast every Saturday and Sunday from 8-11am, and a brand new speech radio show called KISS Life every Sunday evening on KISS from 9-10pm. She is also the voice of BBC Sounds and has presented two BBC documentaries: 'Me VS Climate Change' and 'Instagramification'. 

In response to Covid-19 and the first national lockdown in 2020, Swarzy became the official host of My Life My Say's Quarantine Question Time and has hosted a range of conversations with special guests such as Sir Keir Starmer, Reverend Al Sharpton, as well as Former White House Chief of Staff and Counselor to President Obama, John Podesta.   

In addition to TV and radio, Swarzy is the founder of Too Much Source - an annual exhibition with live events dedicated to celebrating Black British creatives who are making history today. Last year's gallery was called 'Joy and Resilience in 2020' - a dedication to two attributes that remain central to the black experience - all in partnership with Roundhouse, KISS, and BBC Creative. 

Most recently, Lord Simon Woolley recognised Swarzy for her charisma, passion for social justice, and work with My Life My Say and nominated her to be part of the Duke and Duchess's list of Black History Month Next Generation Trailblazers 2020.  

For more information or to get in touch with Swarzy, please email and/or contact her @swarzymacaly on social media. 
Contact Details 
Social media: @swarzymacaly  
Photo credit: Feruza Afewerki 

Priya Matadeen

Having always been interested and people and behaviour Priya graduated in psychology and chose to go into marketing. She started her career in creative agencies at Agency Republic, Wieden and Kennedy and BBDO running accounts for blue chip clients mentored by the likes of Justin Pahl and Cilla Snowball. Priya then decided to specialise further in fashion and luxury and moved to Spring Studios to work under Robin Derrick, working with clients like Nicholas Kirkwood, Ferragamo, Peter Pilotto and Lʼoreal amongst others. Priya then moved from Spring Studios to Vice Media where she worked across the Vice and i-D brands. Her proudest achievement as the GM of Virtue (the creative agency by Vice) was partnering with CHANEL to create a platform celebrating female creativity- The Fifth Sense: en_gb/ A year long platform containing daily editorial, film, print and events working with talent like Es Devlin and Harley Weir. Priya then briefly moved to British Vogue before taking the Managing Director role at Dazed Media; working closely with Susanne Waddell and Jefferson Hack to set the strategy for the group; building further on the reputation of the youth culture and pop provocateurs. In Priyaʼs spare time she mentors young talent in the creative industries and is on the board of Creative Equals, Pitch, Media for All and Gal Dem. 

Amanda Maxwell

Amanda Maxwell independently manages London based DJ, TV and Radio host Ellie Prohan.  

Amanda has set up a collective "Freelance Queens" for freelance predominantly black, asian, middle eastern and minority ethnic, LGBTQIA+, female identifying women from music and creative sectors with over 190 members it is a place for sharing of job roles, advice and amplifying one another.It is also the place for businesses of every size to source candidates for their job role needs and championing the community at the same time. 

Additionally a community member of women in music network and a regular contributor to panel talks on subjects related to inclusion, representation and equal empowerment within the creative industries. Alongside this Amanda sits on the Equality, Justice and Advisory Group for the BPI and is Chair to UK Music Futures the millennial board to UK Music. 

Most recently left Boiler Room as their Open Dance Floors programmer and project manager ensuring the company looked across their platform for intersectionality and social political issues intertwined with music culture. 

Sarah Munro

Munro has over 20 years experience of cultural leadership following a distinguished career in Glasgow as both Artistic Director of Tramway and Head of Arts for the city, where she led the bid to bring Turner Prize 2015 to Scotland for the first time. From 1996 until 2008, Munro was Director at the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, and prior to this she was Projects Director at ARTLINK, Edinburgh. 

In August 2015 Munro was appointed as Director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. During this time Sarah has led on a powerful new shared vision and ambition enhancing the social and civic mission of the organisation; refocusing the ambition to ensure diversity is embedded across the organisation from a practice led context; developing a new approach to, and platforms for, Programme that responds to the expanded practice of artists across events, performance, residencies, associate artists and research. 

Sarah was a juror for the 2020 Turner Prize and selector for the British Pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale. Sarah is an external director of Scotland’s Future Forum; and Board member of Creative Scotland. 

Leena Norms

Leena Norms is a YouTuber and poet from the Midlands who has amassed over 6 million views on her channel, where she gives advice on being in your twenties and discusses books, social change and the climate crisis. She was recently named Book Vlogger of the Year by London Book Fair and an official YouTube Creator for Change for her online campaigning and has collaborated with European Commission, NHS, Royal Historic Palaces, the U.S. Embassy London, the Man Booker Prize, Vice, BBC 3 and many more. 

Christopher Onderstall

Chris overseas our studio, focusing on integrated marketing and campaign planning his work includes leading creative campaigns for the World Food Programme, First National Bank, Philips and Thomson Reuters.   

Christopher has worked at the agency for the last 12 years picking up PRWeek’s 30 under 30 and global Rising Star of the Year by the ICCO.    

Andy Payne

Andy Payne has worked in games since 1985. Founder of Just Flight, Mastertronic, Appynation. Investor and/or advisory board member – Flick Games, ESL, TRU LUV, Bossa Studios. Patron BAFTA, Patron/Trustee of The National Videogames Museum & British Games Institute, GamesAid, chair of British Esports Association.   Developed and published George Orwell’s Animal Farm for PC & mobile in 2020 under The Dairymen. 

Lara Ratnaraja

Lara is a freelance consultant specialising in diversity, leadership, collaboration, ideas, innovation and cultural policy within the cultural, creative and digital sector. 
She develops and delivers projects and policy on how culture and digital technology intersect for a number of national partners including universities, as well as programmes around leadership, resilience and business development for the arts. 

Jessica Ryan-Ndegwa

UK based designer and disability advocate Jessica Ryan-Ndegwa was born and raised in London. Her mission has always been to champion for a more inclusive society. She has managed to anchor herself as someone people can look up to, and hopefully gain confidence from; as a campaigner for disability inclusion and equality. Her work includes writing, designing and curating with companies such as the Tate Exchange, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Design Museum amongst others. 

Alice Timmis

A highly skilled handweaver, Alice’s career spans textile design, manufacture, circular R&D and consultancy working with yarn, trend and fashion industries. She founded her award-winning studio in 2012, working collaboratively with fashion clients to create bespoke woven fabrics and embroideries.


A bit of background info...

Conversations with members over the past year of the pandemic has steered us to looking at how we might build a more sustainable ecosystem, particularly one that is fairer to contractors and freelancers (see our 2021/2022 Priorities here). In thinking about the future, we need to think through how we redress the balance towards those value creators who have suffered so acutely, simply because of their employment status.   

Throughout the pandemic to date, there have been a number of campaigns, initiatives and funds designed to support the freelance workforce across our sector, with a diversity of fast-paced proactive action ensuring support coverage for each unique area of the creative industries. Now we have an opportunity to convene all parts of the ecosystem and pull together a taskforce which can drive forward systemic change. 

The Creative Industries Federation is establishing a small diverse group of Future of Freelance Champions which will shape and guide our activity as we work together with industry and government. This group has been established as a result of extensive consultation with industry and work behind the scenes to join up and add value to existing activity. Our Champions will support the coordination of efforts, strengthen our collective voice and act on opportunities for impact on behalf of our sector’s vital freelance community. Working within their own communities and networks, they will bring their diverse perspectives to the table to ensure we drive systemic change that responds to and reflects everyone’s experience. 

It is no secret that the UK’s creative industries have been hit hard by the pandemic. After a year that has turned the world on its head, our sector is left contemplating what the future might hold; for our creative industries, for our country and for generations to come.  

But in times of adversity comes an opportunity to do things differently. Over the next year, in collaboration with industry, we will fight for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers to be supported and enabled to flourish. By working collectively across these areas, by spotlighting the brilliant creative programmes and campaigns that are already happening, and by working in partnership with one another to create new ones, we can do much more than reset our world, we can imagine and, crucially, create a much better one. 

For regular updates and other information please sign-up to receive our newsletter