Stella Barnes is announced as Creative Director of CAN

Stella Barnes joins CAN as its new Creative Director.

6 December 2018

CAN is delighted to announce the appointment of Stella Barnes as its new Creative Director, succeeding Cilla Baynes MBE, CAN’s Creative Director and Co-Founder of CAN when it was first established in 1978.

Stella joined us at the end of January 2019. She comes with a wealth of experience including consultancy for Counterpoint Arts, London, as an Associate Artist and Advisor.  Stella helped establish Platforma, a national network for refugee-related arts. Other freelance work includes work for A New Direction, Graeae Theatre, and the British Council in South Africa. In 2017 she was artist-in-residence with idle women, living and working onboard a narrowboat in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.  Stella recently directed STRANGER TALES, an immersive, verbatim theatre piece about Britain’s relationship with strangers, performed at the Southbank, London, and the Platforma Festival in Newcastle Upon Tyne.  A passionate advocate of equality, community, and arts for over 30 years, Stella’s work is defined by a long commitment to diversity and equality; challenging elitism in the arts, and an interest in voices not heard in the mainstream.

I feel privileged to succeed Cilla Baynes as Creative Director of CAN. Cilla’s work has had a huge impact on community arts regionally and nationally and CAN is a hugely respected organisation. There are exciting plans ahead and I am thrilled to be part of CAN’s future. I grew up and studied in the north of England and I am delighted to be heading north again.  With its inspirational arts scene and political history, Greater Manchester is the beating heart of this country.”

Stella Barnes

“CAN would like to pay tribute to Cilla for her inspirational leadership. Wider than this, her contribution to, and influence on, arts with marginalised communities and individuals has been immeasurable.  On behalf of the Board, staff, volunteers, the countless number of artists she has inspired, the communities she has worked with, I would like to thank her and wish her well in her future work.”

“We are excited that Stella Barnes is joining us. We are sure that the values and principles that have been at the core of CAN’s work and success will be in safe hands. Stella is a proven leader in the sector and we feel lucky in recruiting her.”

Martin Hazlehurst, CAN’s Board of Directors

“Cilla has been a passionate and influential leader for Community Arts North West for many years and the fact that the organisation is marking its 40th year in 2018 is an indication of what an important contribution she has made. We wish her well for the future and look forward to working with Stella as its activities continue to have a big impact both locally and nationally.”

Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England



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