Hello Culture, is an ongoing series of events that explore how digital technologies and media are disrupting the way cultural and heritage organisations produce, interact, create and curate content, by transforming how audiences can connect and engage with cultural experiences.

Physical editions include Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester and it has for the last year taken part online as part of the BBC Academy’s Digital Cities Programme.

This online edition is curated by Lara Ratnaraja and will involve her production team that has raised the bar for accessible and inclusive live zoom events and with high quality production values.

Panels and speakers are routinely praised for their diversity and inclusivity and the team itself represents gender, race and neuro- diversity. Our latest online 5-month programme with the BBC saw 5 keynotes and 5 panels of 25 speakers delivered to nearly 1000 attendees with speakers ranging from Jonty Claypole Director of Arts for the BBC, Home Manchester, Le Gateau Chocolat and Cold War Steve. Panels have covered digital and queer culture, digital and protest, disability and telling stories in lockdown.



Meet Our Team

Hello Culture started in 2011 and in response to the ever-changing cultural landscape it has grown to encompass new partners and collaborations with universities, policy bodies, cultural institutions, venues,  producers and artists. Hello Culture continues to demonstrate the agility and resilience it has been arguing are essential for cultural and arts organisations to develop by transforming its programme model in order to be responsive to the needs of the sector with conferences and Labs bringing together artists, arts organisations, academics and creative technologists. Hello Culture is curated on themes such as identity and representation, disruptive cultural experiences, and diversity in story telling.

In 2018 a new strand Hello Culture: Remix was born. Delivered as part of BBC Academy’s Digital Cities in Birmingham and Manchester, the Remix strand platforms new thinking to help artists, organisations and academics remix their practice in response to new applications of technologies and meet the myriad ways audiences engage with culture.

Lara Ratnaraja
Programme Curator

Lara is a freelance cultural consultant specialising in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration and cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sector.

Craig Ashley

Craig Ashley is a curator and producer based in the West Midlands. He led the visual arts programme at Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) from 2009 to 2016. Notable exhibitions for MAC include By the Rivers of Birminam (2012), an important retrospective of the work of renowned photographer Vanley Burke, and Barbara Walker’s Shock & Awe (2016), newly commissioned drawings acknowledging the contribution of Black servicemen and women to British war efforts over the past 100 years. From 2016 to 2020 he was Director of New Art West Midlands, the contemporary visual arts network for the region, and has worked as consultant curator with clients including Coventry City of Culture Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He serves on the board of Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, and is Chair of Dash, a leading Disability Arts organisation. Craig is currently Associate Head at the School of Art & Design at Coventry University where he leads on enterprise and innovation.

Chris Brown

In August 2013 Chris established Polaroids and Polar Bears, a culture guide for West-Midlands featuring the latest news on dance, theatre, visual arts and music. As part of this role, he has delivered various workshops on audience development and engagement for cultural organisations, artists and startups. In addition to Polaroids and Polar Bears, Chris is also communications manager at Colmore BID, a business improvement district located at the heart of Birmingham's business district. Over the course of his PR career Chris has worked with clients such as LOCOG, Birmingham Hippodrome, Library of Birmingham, Chinese Cultural Administration, Visit Denmark, Birmingham City Council and Colmore Business District.

Emilia Moniszko
Digital Content Producer

Emilia is a founder of Blunt & Brave and a creative brand strategist with 10 years of experience working in the cultural and education sectors. Blunt & Brave is a multi-disciplinary brand and content agency created to nurture sustainable and socially-conscious brands. As part of her work, Emilia works with organisations, delivering digital solutions that help organisations cultivate positive change, educate and inspire.

Wendy Osmond

Wendy is a stenographer who began her career as a court reporter and now provides live remote captioning (also known as speech-to-text or CART services) via Zoom, YouTube Live and other platforms for online events such as conferences, meetings, lectures and webinars, with a particular interest in the cultural and digital spheres. Other work currently includes live TV broadcast subtitling, specialising in sports coverage and current affairs.

Shirley Benson

Shirley is a freelance events producer, content curator and consultant, with a passion for digital storytelling, mental health awareness and developing the next generation of content creators. She brings with her a wealth of experience and contacts developed over a 25 career at the BBC –covering Entertainment, Children’s, BBC Learning and The Academy – and is highly experienced at influencing, persuading and generally wrangling, multiple partners and contributors towards the delivery of brilliant events

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