Northern Lights Conference: Sparking lasting connections for the Arts and Philanthropy in the North

Northern Lights Conference: Sparking lasting connections for the Arts and Philanthropy in the North

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 -
09:30 to 17:00

Northern Lights Conference: Sparking lasting connections for the Arts and Philanthropy in the North

Wednesday 13 March 2019, The Stoller Hall, Manchester

9.30am – 5pm

A free one-day conference led by Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, supported by Arts Council England.

With the arts remaining one of the least commonly supported causes in the UK's charity sector, the event will seek to reimagine the relationship between the arts and philanthropy by providing ideas and active solutions to the central question:

What does a radical future look like for Philanthropy in the Arts in the North of England?

Including an opening welcome from Sir Nicholas Serota CH, Chair of Arts Council England, Northern Lights will explore how arts organisations, funders and philanthropists can work to stimulate philanthropic giving in the North.

This ground-breaking day of learning, knowledge-sharing, practical workshops and pitches will stimulate new ideas and create a new vision for arts philanthropy in the North.

The day will include talks from high-calibre speakers, panel discussions and practical workshops on topics including:

  • How can we get donors excited about supporting the arts in the North?
  • What can we learn from other sectors?
  • How can we leverage our creativity and tell better stories?
  • How do we attract a diverse mix of donors? 

Breaks and lunch will offer the chance for arts and cultural organisations to meet a range of funders and technology providers keen to develop new initiatives. Break-out sessions will also stimulate ideas for philanthropy which will be compiled for Arts Council England and used to help shape future policy.

Who is it for?

This event is aimed at members of arts organisations in the North of England as well as philanthropists, donors, family foundations and corporate foundations with a vested interest in the region.

Register here for tickets via Eventbrite

Speakers and Contributors

We are delighted to be welcoming some fantastic speakers and contributors on the day from the fields of arts, culture and business. The programme includes:

10am - 10.15am: Welcome note from Sir Nicholas Serota CH, Chair, Arts Council England

10.15am – 11.15am: Keynote from Dave Erasmus, founder of online charity platform Givey and creative community Corcovado

What does a radical future look like for Philanthropy in the Arts in North England?  

Followed by a panel with:

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England

Dave Erasmus, founder of online charity platform Givey and CEO of Corcovado

Stephen Sorrell, Former Senior Estate Partner at Eversheds Sunderland and Chair of the Manchester Library Trust 
Andrea Nixon, MBE, FRSA, Associate at Counterculture Partnership LLP and previously Executive Director of Tate Liverpool
Jane Marriott, Director of Harewood House

Guy Leadbeater, Head of Charity Services, Close Brothers Asset Management


11.30am – 12.15pm: Stimulating Philanthropy and the Art of Storytelling

While digital channels will continue to outpace traditional strategy, the core concept of developing a compelling story aligned with the audiences’ passions remains key. In order to maintain loyalty and long-term interest, charities must reinforce their missions through tangible narratives and experiences.

This discussion with Dr Emilee Simmons, BM, Mst (Oxon), MBA (Leeds) Director of Enhancement at Leeds University Business School and journalist Helen Nugent will explore their research and ideas about how the power of storytelling is a key driver in stimulating philanthropy.

12.15pm – 1pm: Panel Discussion: How do Donors Think? 

To understand what your donors are thinking, you first need to understand how they think. People buy based on emotion and then justify after the fact, with logic. This panel invites representatives from Harewood House, People’s History Museum, Chetham’s School of Music and Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust to discuss their approaches to philanthropy, including the New Radicals scheme at the PHM, and how to reignite philanthropists after the Sir Norman Stoller gift and Capital fundraising campaign at Chetham’s School of Music.

Chaired by Michelle Wright, Chief Executive, Cause4

Katy Ashton, Director, People’s History Museum
Martin Carr, Trustee, People’s History Museum
Eleanor Manson, Head of Development, Chetham’s School of Music
Helen Featherstone, Director, Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust 
Bernadette O'Sullivan, Deputy Director, Harewood House

1pm – 1.30pm: Working Lunch and Case-Study Discussions

During lunch delegates will have the opportunity to speak to representatives from sector support organisations, technology providers and to hear about philanthropy micro-studies as part of these drop in sessions:

1.30pm – 2.15pm: Working Lunch and Case-Study Discussions

Fundraising from the Muslim Community Na’eem Raza, Charity Consultant

N a’eem will share examples from his work with well-known charities like Islamic Relief and Human Appeal which helped raise millions of pounds in income, as well as insights and tips on raising funds from the Muslim Community.

Fundraising from Community Foundations, Adam Lopardo, Director of External Relations, North East Community Foundation

Adam will discuss the opportunities and challenges for charities and arts organisations in partnering with Community Foundations to raise funds.

Demystifying Trusts and Foundations, Virginia Tandy, Arts and Heritage Consultant

Experienced Trustee Virginia Tandy will aim to demystify the world of Trusts and Foundations in this practical session. Delegates will focus on how Trusts work and what makes a successful application.


2.15pm – 4.15pm: Pitching Workshop – Stimulating New Ideas and Partnerships

Facilitated by Michelle Wright, David Johnson and Helen Jenkins with Chris Dessent, delegates will split into groups to generate ideas for stimulating philanthropy in the North. Ideas will be collated into a working document for Arts Council England and funders. All delegates will then come together to hear organisations pitch their projects for philanthropic investment.


4.30pm: Closing Q&A - Making Philanthropy Happen on the Ground

Edith Conn, OBE JP DL BA (Hons), Chair, We Love Manchester Emergency Fund

Since the terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena in 2017, the Manchester community has come together in unprecedented ways. This closing session reflects on philanthropy and its impact on a community in crisis and what we can learn from the positive partnerships that have been developed in the face of adversity.