HEY Creative appoints Chief Officer to accelerate region’s cultural development

Culture partnership HEY Creative has appointed experienced arts consultant Max May as Chief Officer to drive new cross-sector collaborations across the region’s creative sector.

HEY Creative has appointed Max May as Chief Officer with a brief to drive collaborations across the creative sector in Hull and East Yorkshire. Max, centre, is pictured in Hull’s Fruit Market creative quarter with HEY Creative Chair Dominic Gibbons and Vice-Chair Janthi Mills-Ward. Photo: R&R Studio.

Max joins as HEY Creative with a focus on developing creative partnerships spanning business, education, health and the public sector.

Max is a well-known and respected figure on the Yorkshire arts and culture scene. He is currently Strategic Director at North Yorkshire Together, which supports communities across the county to live happy and healthy lives.

Prior to that, Max was CEO at Rural Arts, helping to shape and steer North Yorkshire’s creative and cultural sectors.

HEY Creative is Hull and East Yorkshire’s Cultural Compact – one of over 30 such organisations established by Arts Council England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Cultural Compacts are partnerships designed to support the regional cultural sector to contribute to economic success, placemaking, community cohesion and personal wellbeing.

HEY Creative is a multi-sector partnership with a mission to “to help create the conditions in which culture and creativity can flourish for the benefit of all”.

Max said: “I’m thrilled to be working with HEY Creative and to take on an exciting role at the heart of the region’s cultural sector.

“I’ve always felt passionately that culture and creativity can make everyone’s lives better. Having those more central in peoples’ lives and in decision making can help us all live healthier, happier lives.

“A big focus for me is to champion the region’s creative sector both nationally and internationally. In my recent career I’ve been really focused on the importance of cross-sector collaboration, bringing together the public, private and third sectors and showcasing how creativity is vital in all areas of life, and I’m looking forward to doing the same with HEY Creative.”

Max’s academic background saw him study theatre in Glasgow, before completing an MBA at York Business School.

His career started in theatre general management, before joining Rural Arts and then North Yorkshire Together, where he is remaining as Strategic Director.

Prominent in North Yorkshire’s cultural sector, Max is now broadening his footprint and bringing his experience and acumen to Hull and East Yorkshire.

Dominic Gibbons, Chair of HEY Creative, said: “Max’s background and what he has already achieved in the creative sector meant he was a perfect fit for what we were looking for. He is a strategic thinker and has a proven track record of bringing different people and organisations together in a collaborative way.

“HEY Creative is about getting people to think about creativity differently – instilling a culture of creativity in a business enables it to approach challenges differently and unlock new growth opportunities.

“It doesn’t matter what sort of business or organisation you are, or what sector you are in, creativity is essential.

“Max’s appointment means we can plan ahead at HEY Creative with confidence and apply some of the ideas we’ve had into real-world situations.”

HEY Creative’s highly-experienced Board is chaired by Mr Gibbons, Managing Director of Hull-based commercial property development and investment business Wykeland Group, with Hull Truck Theatre Co-CEO Janthi Mills-Ward as Vice-Chair.

The Board comprises of senior figures spanning the public, private and third sectors. Sitting alongside Mr Gibbons and Ms Mills-Ward are:

  • Francis Ahiakpa, CEO, Humber All Nations Alliance
  • Vickie Bissett, We Are Creative
  • Giles Bridgeman, Head of Communications, City Healthcare Partnership
  • Jan Brumby, CEO, For Entrepreneurs Only
  • Elaine Burke, Arts and Health Consultant
  • Councillor Nick Coultish, Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Trish Dalby, Chair, Generation Hull
  • Katy Duke, CEO, The Deep
  • Anja Hazebroek, Executive Director of Communications, Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership
  • Mikey Martins, CEO, Freedom Festival Arts Trust
  • Darren Mundy, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education, University of Hull
  • Andrew Pearson, Director, E52
  • Councillor Rob Pritchard, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Hull City Council
  • Ian Raynor, Director of Culture and Customer Services, East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Diana Taylor, Managing Director, Future Humber
  • Garry Taylor, Assistant Director, Major Projects, Culture and Place, Hull City Council

Cllr Nick Coultish, East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “This council is delighted to work with HEY Creative and I very much welcome Max’s appointment. This is a very exciting era for the arts and culture in the East Riding and we look forward to working with Max and the team to develop our innovative plans across the region.”

Cllr Rob Pritchard, Hull City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “Max’s appointment is a great next step for HEY Creative and will support culture and creativity in the region at this exciting time. As the strategic lead for HEY Creative, Max will look to engage businesses on the value and contribution culture to makes to the economy and to the wider community.”

For more information on HEY Creative, visit www.hey-creative.co.uk