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The Culture Forward team

Academic Director: Professor Ewan Fernie

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Ewan Fernie is Academic Director of Culture Forward.   He is Chair, Professor and Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute and Director of the lottery-funded ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project: a ground-breaking collaboration with Birmingham City Council, which is reviving Birmingham’s pioneering public Shakespeare collection – the first great Shakespeare library in the world – with the people and communities who actually own it. 

Fernie advised on the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and he believes in the City’s tersely optimistic motto: ‘Forward’.  He hopes that Culture Forward will contribute to Birmingham’s momentum and the sense of palpable excitement in the City.

Partnerships Manager: Sally Delbeke

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Sally is an experienced partnerships manager who works on the University’s behalf to develop and manage relationships with external creative, cultural and education partners. She is responsible for finding ways that external partnerships can enhance student and academic experience, add value to the region, extend the University’s reach and reputation, and support grant capture. With a background in cultural policy, and experience of working in the cultural sector at both a national and international level, Sally is excited by the opportunity to collaborate with a such an inspiring group of local partners on Culture Forward.

Project Officer: Zarah Alam

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Zarah Alam is the Culture Forward Project Officer and a strong advocate for the arts and cultural sector. She has enjoyed collaborating with many organisations in previous years, including the National Literacy Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Sampad Arts and, most recently, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre where she was Chair of the Youth Board (Nov 2021-Feb 2023).

Zarah studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, after which she worked as a Graduate Management Trainee at the same institution, leading numerous projects across Professional Services’ departments. She is also a poet and aspiring novelist.