Name: Ali Wilson
What do you do for a living? artist and creative producer
How did you first get involved with Contact?
I moved to Manchester from Leicester in 2013 to study Contemporary Performance at Salford. We were encouraged to see as much live work as possible, so I came along to as many shows at Contact as I could afford. In 2014 I was invited to perform in SHIFT Festival at Contact with Facade Theatre. I remember standing on the stage in Space 1 for the first time in the dress rehearsal and thinking ‘this is one of the best days of my life.’
What happened next?
I continued coming to watch shows at Contact and then applied to join Re:Con, the young producing and programming team in 2017.
What is your happiest Contact memory?
Being part of Re:Con has directly informed the career I have today. We facilitated the restaging of the Section 28 protests, on the 30th anniversary, with local activists and allies to the LGBTQ+ community. I’ll never forget seeing the crowd move down Canal St with banners and loudspeakers, rightly interrupting the city to remind them of this historic protest.
This project allowed me to discover a producer in myself, which has led to loads of opportunities since. Contact hired me as a producer in 2019 to work on a community project, and I’ve sat on 12 hiring panels as a young person.
What made you apply for the Board?
I applied to join the Board because Contact has made me who I am, and I’d like to contribute to the work they do. As a Trustee, I saw the opportunity to support Contact, whilst also ensuring that the work that is done here is innovative and forward thinking. I’m really keen to develop my leadership skills and joining the Board will definitely help me in doing that.
What things do you want to see Contact do more of?
I’d like to see Contact champion more democratic distributions of wealth in the creative sector. Contact has made important strides to increase access provision, and I’d like to see this methodology shared across salaries and employment, to ensure that the mass wealth divide between high earners and low earners in the arts begins to minimise.
I’d also like Contact’s board to increase its visibility, and create more direct pathways of communication with those that Contact serves (audiences, artists, and staff). As a young Trustee, I will seek every opportunity to talk about this position and encourage more cultural organisations to purposely seek young Trustees. The voice of young people in the creative sector at Board level will be crucial in designing our industry to become more resilient and democratic.
What three words sum up Contact for you?
Friendly, exciting, community