Chris Slann, Executive Director
Chris has spent over 25 years working in mainstream carnival and community arts development, 21 of these within a local authority context. Whilst working for Luton Borough Council from 1989-2002, he, alongside his colleague and partner Frankie Goldspink, established Luton International Carnival as Britain’s Biggest one-day Carnival and, as a consequence, set up the UK Centre for Carnival Arts.
Since moving to the Isle of Wight in 2002 he has worked within the council as Principal Arts Development Officer, Arts Lead for the Adult & Community Learning Service and was Development Manager at the Carnival Learning Centre before becoming Executive Director of The New Carnival Company in January 2012.
Chris is responsible for implementing strategy and vision of the organisation, developing partnerships, international relations, fundraising and organisational development.
Frankie Goldspink, Creative Director
Frankie began her career in community arts in the late 70’s, cutting her teeth working in hard-to-reach communities in Norwich and across the Eastern region before taking up an Arts Outreach post in Luton. Her passion for carnival developed there and this has since taken her all over the world creating opportunities and collaborations most notably with Rio Carnival, Trinidad Carnival, Viareggio Carnival in Italy and Junkanoo in the Bahamas.
As Carnival Arts Development Officer for Isle of Wight Council from 2002 to 2011 Frankie developed the first nationally accredited Carnival Learning Programme for adults and young people in the country.
Frankie is responsible for the development and delivery of creative projects, celebratory events and lead officer for accredited arts learning programmes
Alison Knapman, General Manager
Alison worked as a schoolteacher for 20 years, with a specialism in English as a Second Language. She moved to the Island in 2003 where she took up a post within the Council’s Arts Unit as project co-ordinator for a community arts learning programme in Ventnor. During that time she developed the local Community Café as a venue for learning and creativity, established Ventnor’s first community Carnival Club, and initiated the now annual Winter Lantern Parade.
From 2007 to 2011 Alison worked as Carnival Learning Co-ordinator at The Carnival Learning Centre in Ryde, playing a pivotal role in the successful development and management of in-house, education and outreach programmes.
Alison is responsible for the day to day running of the organisation, completion of all monitoring requirements and the organisation of logistics of small and large scale events.
Gina Dyer, Lead Artist, community engagement
Gina has been involved in the Island carnival scene since a young child, taking part in carnivals herself and then designing and creating winning costumes for her own children. She joined the IW carnival learning programme in 2004 as an adult learner to validate her broad experience and learn new skills and quickly progressed to higher levels, gaining her NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Carnival Crafts in 2007 and in 2011 a first class honours degree in contemporary fine arts from Portsmouth University.
She has extensive experience in delivering carnival learning programmes on and off the island and is passionate about the power of carnival to transform lives, as it has her own.
Gina is responsible for community engagement and arts delivery in diverse settings including rural, isolated and hard to reach communities.
Helen Burns, Community Arts worker
Helen joined the NCC in 2014 and is our in-house Freelance artist, contributing to specific projects such as our annual Mardi Gras parade and other outdoor celebratory events. Her background is in new circus and she is an experienced circus leader and accomplished stilt walker.
Helen’s passion for carnival was ignited through her interest in street arts. She attended costume master classes and accredited carnival learning on the island and has worked with Colin Spalding, Rampage, Ali Pretty and Tony Mason amoungst others. She is especially committed to working with young people and opening up opportunities for them to gain confidence, skills and life changing experiences through making and performance.
Helen both leads and supports arts workshops in the community and at our base at the Coaching House.