Advice and Expertise

The Advice and Expertise advisory scheme provides Hub Members with access to FREE 1-2-1 specialised advice on a range of topics from effective marketing to introductory programming.

If you feel you are lacking in a specific area of expertise we can provide you with the assistance and knowledge you require to help your organisation develop and grow through our A&E Scheme.

A group of sector specialists are available to book for half day 1-2-1 sessions. Sessions can take place on the phone, Skype or face to face and will be followed up by a report covering key next steps for your projects.

Take a look at our advisor’s biographies and specific key expertise here: - password is FAN1617.

If you’re interested in arranging a session with any of our advisers or want to discuss the scheme further please email:

Our Advisors

David Owen

Areas of Expertise: Monitoring and Evaluation, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education

David Owen is a freelance consultant specialising in public engagement and systems approaches to managing change. Over the past ten years he has worked extensively with universities, museums and cultural organisations to develop and embed public engagement strategies including reviews of training, reward and recognition structures, leadership support and   communications.

David is passionate about cinema exhibition and has worked on a number of projects with Watershed inBristol, including directing the Bristol Palestine Film Festival. He is currently an associate with National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and a visiting Research Associate at the University of Bristol.  He was formally Head of Research, Engagement and Impact for Exeter University Business School.

Laura Silverman

Areas of Expertise: Press and Marketing

Laura loves a compelling story on paper and on screen. It was a near-obsession with film that led her to become a journalist – she was captivated by the glamour of His Girl Friday and Citizen Kane. Having worked at the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and The Times as a staff writer and editor for the past ten years, she knows how to sell an idea to the press – and, crucially, who to speak to. She also has extensive digital and social media experience: launching a popular and profitable section of the Telegraph website, developing the editorial strategy, commissioning content, looking after the budget and working with the commercialbackers. Laura is obsessed with words, and will happily advise on all material from fundraising proposals to posters. She has also worked in TV and Radio.

Tara Judah

Areas of Expertise: Programming, Public speaking, Copy-writing

Tara Judah is an Australian critic, broadcaster and programmer based in the UK. Director at 20th Century Flicks video shop, Curator and Online Editor for Cinema Rediscovered, Co-ordinator for Bristol Scalarama and co-host of film podcast Cinema Blindspot, Tara is passionate about cinema-going and photochemical film.

​She is also a regular contributor to Monocle24’s Arts Review and Cinema Show, Senses of Cinema, Desist Film, The Big Issue and a Contributing Editor at Metro magazine. Her work has appeared in various other online and print publications and she has participated in a number of international film festival juries. ​

Jay Arnold

Areas of Expertise: Bid-writing/Fundraising, Monitoring and Evaluation, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education, Working with Staff and Volunteers, Business Development, Marketing, Press, Public Speaking

Jay worked at Sheffield’s independent cinema The Showroom from its opening in 1995 until 2003. He then joined the newly formed Regional Screen Agency Screen Yorkshire working with the region’s cinemas, film educationalists, film archives and film festivals. As national structures were re-organised in 2011 he became Head of Film Culture with Creative England from where he moved to the BFI in 2013 to work on the BFI Film Audience Network.

He left the BFI in October 2014 but retains links to FAN through freelance roles. He has been working on Nottingham’s bid to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Literature, and has been appointed a Trustee of Cinema for All.

Catherine Waddington

Areas of Expertise: Audience Development, Marketing, Brand Management

An experienced professional specialising in arts marketing and management, with more than 15 years in the cultural and events sectors. Catherine trained in Business Management and has spent most of her career working in strategic communications and project management roles for a variety of organisations. This range of projects has been diverse in scale, with budgets ranging from £0 to £3million so she has developed the ability to be truly audience focussed while being able to understand and work within the wider business and operational context.

She is driven by developing creative partnerships to deliver communication strategies and has worked in Senior Management roles for more than 10 years with relationships being key to her success. Her core experience and interest is in brand management and the development creative and effective communications campaigns alongside strategic audience development. Now self-employed, She is currently working with Abandon Normal Devices delivering their Marketing & Communications. Previous roles include: Programme Manager for WE PLAY, the North West cultural legacy programme for London 2012; Marketing Manager for Imperial War Museum North, Roadshow Manager for London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, Brand Marketing Manager for Liverpool 2008, Events Executive for the London 2012 Olympic Bid team, Finance & Administration Manager for Greenwich & Docklands Festivals.

Melanie Iredale

Areas of Expertise: Bid-writing/Fundraising, Income Generation, Programming, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education, Working with Staff and Volunteers, Business Development, Budgets and Financial Management, Marketing

Melanie is Deputy Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest – one of the top three documentary festivals and marketplaces in the world. Melanie’s role involves overseeing the film programme, industry conference and marketplace teams. She is a film curator and festival producer with experience of working in film exhibition and events across the North of England for the past ten years. Starting her career at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, Melanie went on to manage Northern Lights Film Festival in Newcastle-Gateshead, and then work as film programme director at the Scandinavian mixed arts event, NICE-Festival in Liverpool, while freelance work included project coordination for AV Festival and Northern Film & Media. Before moving to Sheffield Doc/Fest, Melanie was director of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival on the English-Scottish Border, leading the festival artistically and strategically, and responsible for a dramatic growth in audience numbers, national profile and commissions during her five year period there.

Jen Skinner

Areas of Expertise: Programming, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education

Jen Skinner loves film and is passionate about the magic of cinema. Having spent 14 years working in the creative sector, most of which has been based in cinemas, she has developed partnerships with a wide range of organisations and venues including the BFI and ICO. She has worked with diverse audiences through programming film festivals, screenings and live events and has worked as an educator in formal and non-formal settings. From lecturing at degree level through to being a creative practitioner in gallery settings. Jen has delivered and devised workshops for students as part of their syllabus and engaged families with gallery and museum collections.

Jen recently joined the Reel Solutions team as their Audience Development Manager and is looking forward to new projects and ways of working within the independent cinema sector. She helps to screen great films and foster a further interest in film through a wide range of learning opportunities. Her passion for the shared experience drives her to develop audiences for cinema, now and for the future.

Bill Lawrence

Areas of Expertise: Programming, Audience Development, Working with Staff and Volunteers, Business Development, Budgets and Financial Management, Public Speaking

Bill set up Reel Solutions in 2006 to pursue his passion for supporting all forms of cinema. He was Creative Director  at  Showroom Cinema, Sheffield, one of the UK’s leading independent cinemas, and Head of Film at the National  Museum of Photography, Film & Television (later the  National Media Museum), Bradford. He set up three of the city’s  film festivals – Bradford International Film Festival, Bite the Mango Film Festival and Bradford Animation Festival.

In  2006 Bill was one of the key people to set up the partnership board of  Bradford: City of Film and was involved closely in achieving the UNESCO designation in 2009. Bill is chair of  All Animated  Limited  and is a director on the  Board of Creative England and previously Screen Yorkshire.

Sylvia Wroblewska

Areas of Expertise: Bid writing/fundraising, Income generation, Monitoring and evaluation, Working with staff and volunteers, Business development, Marketing, Press and Public Speaking

Sylvia is the Business and Marketing Director at Sheffield Doc/Fest – the UK’s largest and most exciting documentary and digital media festival. Prior to this, Sylvia worked in documentary film and TV production, beginning her media career as Production Coordinator on the feature documentary The Age of Stupid. She then joined Current TV as an Associate Producer, working alongside the commissioning editor to manage both single and series documentaries from development through to broadcast. Before joining Doc/Fest, Sylvia was the Business Development Director and Film Festival Producer at digital short film platform The Smalls.