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Speakers


Michelle Provoost (Director of the International New Town Institute)

Dr. Michelle Provoost is an architectural historian specialised in urban planning history, postwar architecture and contemporary urban development. She co-founded the office of Crimson Architectural Historians in 1994, and has been the Director of the International New Town Institute (INTI) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, since 2008. Under her direction, INTI has grown into an internationally known center for education and research relating to New Towns.

Dr. Provoost is the head editor of the INTI publications. She teaches at various universities in the Netherlands and abroad and continues to be in great demand as a public speaker. She lectures regularly throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, and has been involved in many municipal, national and private committees and juries.


Shane Downer (Heritage Officer, Milton Keynes Council)

Shane Downer has been Milton-Keynes’ Heritage Officer since 2003, coordinating the strategic heritage programme in Milton Keynes. Through these Strategic Plans he works with colleagues and local, regional and national public, private and third sector partners to implement major heritage provision change for a current resident population of 260,000 and over 200,000 heritage visitors a year to the six major heritage venues.

As Milton Keynes is set to almost double in population over the next thirty years, Shane coordinates the major building projects around new heritage, archive and museum provision including a new city Museum for 2019 a new City Archive and city centre cultural showcase for 2021, and refurbishment of other heritage sites. 2017 has been ‘MK’s’ 50th anniversary and he is part of a team planning cultural step-change and a bid for Milton Keynes to be the UK’s European Capital of Culture in 2023.


Mark Clapson (Professor at University of Westminster)

Mark Clapson is Professor of Social and Urban History at the University of Westminster. He has written A Social History of Milton Keynes: Middle England/Edge City (2004) and co-authored, with Mervyn Dobbin and Peter Waterman, The Best Laid Plans: Milton Keynes since 1967 (1998)



Will Cousins (DipARCH DipUD RIBA, Design Director, Chair of MK Gallery)

Will is a qualified Architect and Urban Designer with considerable experience of working in both the private and public sector on large scale strategic projects. He has been a Director at David Lock Associates since 1991 and has been personally responsible for the management and leadership of several of the Company’s major commissions.

Before joining DLA, Will worked for London Docklands Development Corporation leading the Urban Design work of the Wapping and Limehouse Area Team, managing and delivering waterside regeneration and infrastructure projects during a time of intense development activity. Prior to that he worked on the implementation of the Master Plan for Milton Keynes Development Corporation and was responsible for the preparation of several master plans for new neighbourhoods, including proposals for the innovative Energy Park.

In addition to his position at DLA, Will is a Director of DLA Architects Practice Ltd; he is also a Founding Director of David Lock Associates (Australia Pty) with offices in Melbourne and Sydney, and regularly contributes to the Australian Practice’s master planning work. Outside of the office, Will is Chair of Milton Keynes Gallery.


MK Academy Cultural Ambassadors, with Deborah Gockelen (Director of Business and Enterprise) Milton Keynes Academy)

The MKA Cultural Ambassadors are a group of students representing Years 8 upwards who came together in June 2017 to explore cultural opportunities in Milton Keynes, to research attitudes to their city and to promote their ideas about what makes MK so special.

The students have conducted research in the school and the local community, have ‘Taken Over’ Milton Keynes Museum, attended performances of ‘ Home Sweet Home’ and ‘Our Town’ and taken part in a workshop to provide a cultural map of Milton Keynes reflecting their views now and how they wish to see MK in the future. They wish to share their research and their vision for MK’s development with you on the 23rd November!


Mike Kasibo (Chair and Founder of the Global Outreach Foundation Milton Keynes - GOF:MK)

Mike Kasibo is the founder and Chair of Global Outreach Foundation MK. Mike is also the co-founder of African Diaspora Day Event and the initiator of Build In First Concept. Mike is currently undertaking his MSc in Global Cooperation and Security from Birmingham University. Mike has a BSc (Hons) Social work and Applied social studies from the University of Bedfordshire. He also has a diploma in Business Communication and a certificate in Community Organising. With over eight years’ experience in Social care, police and Community organising, Mike has contributed to the programmes geared towards the integration of refugee and migrant communities in East and West Midlands, through activities, events and skills development such as power analysis mapping, Leadership Training, Connecting, Speaking Out, Building Power and Mentoring. (Activities and events includes; African Diaspora Day Event, Black History Month, African Forum, Youth clubs, Show Racism Red Card and Breakfast Club)


Fiona Boundy (Public Art Officer, Milton Keynes Council)

Fiona Boundy is a freelance curator and creative producer who for the last eight years has specialised in the development and delivery of large-scale public realm commissions.

Past projects include delivery of Artlands North Kent, an award-winning public realm programme, which formed part of Parklands - Farrells green infrastructure scheme for the Thames Gateway; curation and delivery of a two-year programme of artists and makers residencies in the Olympic Park for the London Legacy Development Corporation; the delivery of Greenland Street, Liverpool – a temporary art space which delivered a three-year programme of major new commissions in the lead up to Liverpool Capital of Culture and led on the development of a strategic plan for the Baltic Triangle, Liverpool’s new creative quarter, and a series of six public realm commissions in Athens, as part of the launch of a major new cultural hub.
Fiona works as part of the Economy and Culture team at MKC, working on the development of a number of public art commissions, alongside strategic cultural futures projects including Milton Keynes bid to become European Capital of Culture and the new future cultural model for the city.


Mike Moore (Senior Planning, Milton Keynes Council)

Michael Moore is a Chartered Town Planner in the Planning Department of Milton Keynes Council. He has worked on several plans for the development of Milton Keynes over the years and is currently working on a new Local Plan (Plan:MK) for the development of Milton Keynes up to 2031. Michael’s work in producing planning policies and related planning obligations guidance has been used by the Council to secure major financial contributions for the infrastructure and facilities made necessary by new development. While at the Council, Michael has worked on regeneration initiatives and prepared and managed external funding bids, including an EU funded project for the development of an Arts and Craft centre within the city. Michael is a graduate of the University of East Anglia and his work on planning obligations and the MK Tariff was the subject of his Master’s degree thesis. He is a former director of the East of England Tourist Board.


Simon Peart (Conservation and Archaeology Manager, Milton Keynes Council)

Simon has been Milton Keynes Council’s Conservation & Archaeology Manager since 2006. Simon is responsible for advising the Council, Stakeholders, commercial organisations and the wider public on the rich and varied heritage of Milton Keynes, which ranges from historic market towns through Victorian railway works, the WWII code breaking at Bletchley Park to its unique, late C20 new town. This advice is given at both a strategic level, helping to encourage sustainable growth, and at a detailed level on specific development proposals affecting heritage assets.

Simon is the project manager of Milton Keynes’ New Town Heritage Register, a ‘local list’ focused specifically on the Development Corporation period of the new town. The register seeks to recognise the unique character and heritage value of Milton Keynes, increasing awareness and appreciation, ensuring that it informs important decisions about its future and, where appropriate, that it is preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations.


David Gleeson (Managing Director of Your:MK)

With more than 25 years’ experience, David has worked on complex and high profile housing development and regeneration schemes across London and the South East. He has delivered innovative and community centred programmes in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Camden, Westminster and Surrey. David, as Managing Director of Your: MK, is responsible for directing the company to achieve its objectives. He currently lives in Bedfordshire with his family.


Roger Kitchen (Founder of Living Archive)

Roger joined the Development Corporation’s Social Development Dept. in 1971 as a community worker on the first new housing estates. In 1975 he came ‘inside’ the Social Development Dept., specialising in Education and Youth Liaison helping in the establishment of Inter-Action, the Youth Information Service and the Urban Studies Centre (now the City Discovery Centre). In 1978 he became the co-Director and later Director of Inter-Action Milton Keynes. In 1992 he left to become General Manager of Living Archive Milton Keynes, an organisation he’d co-founded with Roy Nevitt in 1984.


Cllr. Liz Gifford (Cabinet Member for Place, Milton Keynes Council)

Cllr Liz Gifford is one of the two Labour councillors in Stony Stratford Ward which includes the areas of Stony Stratford, Fullers Slade, Galley Hill, Calverton and Crownhill. She is the Cabinet Member responsible for Place, and her Portfolio includes Strategic Planning, Economic Development, Business Growth, Transport, Culture, Skills, Parish Partnerships, Libraries, Leisure Centres and Community Assets and Events.


Anouar Kassim (Founder of MK Islamic Arts Heritage and Culture / Community Connects UK)

Anouar is founder and chair of the Milton Keynes Islamic Arts, Heritage and Culture group and has been instrumental in bringing diverse groups and communities together across all nations and faiths to raise the profile and importance of culture to creating social inclusion, acceptance and an identity of belonging to the city. Key successes include the work with the Police, Schools and Colleges and the annual major city centre ‘Art in the Park’ event which attracts almost 10,000 people annually.


Francesca Skelton (Chair, MK Arts and Heritage Alliance)

Francesca moved to Milton Keynes in 1977 and spent the first 14 years commuting to London, first working on the commercial side of The Guardian newspaper, later moving over to IPC magazines where she worked on the launch of a new women’s magazine OPTIONS. She later became publisher of Ideal Home magazine. On the birth of her second child she decided to work locally and she moved from the private sector to work in the voluntary sector, where she managed Relate MK for ten years. The community of Milton Keynes became her focus and she later became a trustee of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, where she also served a three year term as Chair. She joined the Board of Governors at MK College and served as Chair for six years from 2007- 2013.

She is a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire and was High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2015/16. In 2016 she took on the role of Chair of the Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes, which has 39 members. AHA-MK champions the rich heritage and creative future of Milton Keynes and 2017 is an important year for arts and heritage as Milton Keynes submits its bid to be chosen as European Capital of Culture 2023. Thriving culture is the key to successful cities as investment in arts and heritage has a significant impact on the economy, skills, education, recruitment and retention, tourism, integration, mental and physical health and our overall wellbeing.


Noël James (Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre)

Noël James is the current Director and CEO of the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre. She comes from a research background, and has over 25 years’ experience working in the heritage sector. She has a particular interest in the built environment and has recently left post as Director of the Historic Towns Forum, an umbrella organisation specialising in urban planning in historic towns. Noël gained her Doctorate in Medieval Law from the University of York in 1999, and has published widely on Medieval Law, Landscape History, Social History and Historical Geography. In the past she has held posts at the Prince’s Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Policy and Public Affairs Directorate at a Regional Development Agency, and at the Living Archive. She is an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism, a recent Trustee for the Battlefields Trust, and has been an expert panel member on the Revive & Thrive Challenge. She is also a mentor for the British Legion, mentoring returners to the built environment.