Preston City Mela is a Charitable Incorporated Company (CIC) which means that we have a board of directors like many other businesses, but we are also set up as a not-for-profit organisation – so any profits made are put back into delivery of the event. At the moment the board is made up of the following people:
Paul Kelly (chair) – role Governance – I have been working within a community development context for the past 30 years, in a range of roles across the housing, regeneration and cultural development fields. This included eleven years as Community Development Manager with Liverpool Housing Action Trust (HAT) as part of a major housing led regeneration programme across the city; 3 years as Public Realm Project Manager with Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art working across the Housing Market Renewal programme on Merseyside and five years as Arts Lead within Cultural Services at Lancashire County Council. Currently I am Community Empowerment Manager with Community Gateway Association based in Preston, where I have worked for the past 4 years.
Abhinandana Kodanda – role Finance & Expenditure – a Lancashire based dance practitioner trained in south Indian classical style of dance Kuchipudi.She also specialises in folk and contemporary dance styles. She has been part of various regional performance projects and commissions including Dancing with god, Nrityanjali dance festival, Bicycle on barefoot-Tour De France, London International Arts festival to name a few. As well as being a performance artist she is also an innovative creative practitioner and articulate arts manager. Having worked in the creative sector for over 11 years Abhinandana currently works as the Artistic Director of Abhinandana Dance Academy & Centre Manager for Gujarat Hindu Society. She is also cultural advisor for community organisations across the country. She holds Masters in Business Administration and English Literature. Mother of two she continues to pursue her passion for dance through innovative projects, performances and sharing skills. Her key interest is in using creativity as the medium to break barriers and bring people together.
Shreya Ghodke – role Marketing & Social Media – Art is in my DNA and over the years my perspective is broadened by observing various cultures. After moving to Lancashire from India, I started conducting workshops inspired by Indian traditional arts and crafts at the Preston Mela. Seeing such an expansive cultural diversity and appreciation bringing people together has been the most incredible part of working in this team. I strive to keep the Mela diverse, encouraging everyone to embrace and share their unique backgrounds. Graduating from an Indian fine arts college, I draw on culturally relevant ideas, simplifying and adapting them for people of all ages to have a go at. Preston Mela is a huge success, and I am excited to see what new cultural and traditional interpretations will carry this legacy forward.
Kim Graham – role Income Generation & Bids – I’ve had over 20 years experience of local authority work in arts and cultural development and economic regeneration.
Prior to this I worked in community arts development using collaborative and participatory approaches and also worked in voluntary sector doing mental health support work.
My links with Mela go back to 2000 whilst working at Preston City council as co-producer, audience member and most recenlty as commissioned artist.
My own practice focuses on printing…creating opportunities for participation is at the heart of my work.
Gulab Singh MBE DL – role Ambassador & Networking – British born Asian Living in Lancashire, married with 3 children and 8 grandchildren. Educated at master’s level in public health at Liverpool John Moore’s University. With a public health career stretching for 40 years, and now retired with expertise in international, national and local public health programmes, community engagement, community development, equality and diversity, community cohesion and South Asian arts. Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire, Honorary Fellow – University of Central Lancashire; and Honorary Preston Guild Burgess. Proven track record of multi-agency partnership working, public health leadership, community development/ engagement and voluntary. Over 15 years of experience and involvement with Mela programmes in Preston. Founder Member of Preston Mela Trust and Production Manager for Preston City Mela Community Interest Company.
Chris Davis – role Organisational Development – Since 1994 I’ve worked on the Brookfield estate in Preston running a creative community development project called ‘alison’. I first started documenting Preston Mela (film & photographs) in 2008 and have had a fondness for it ever since. Working on an estate where there isn’t a broad mix of people, it’s become obvious to me the benefits of ‘mixing things up’ – I think preston City Mela does that very well. An important thing in these ‘divided times’. In particular I’m keen to help young Asian voices keep the Mela relevant – interpreting the wonderful, traditional cultural elements through new mediums & technologies.
We are always looking to add new energy & ideas to the committee, please contact us here if you would be interested in joining.