Wolverhampton - The Next Visitor Destination
September 29th 2021
West Midlands Growth Company
Neil oversees the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC), formerly Marketing Birmingham, which was established in April 2017 to create new jobs, expand existing businesses and attract new investment and visitors to the region, aligned to the ambitions set out in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Strategic Economic Plan.
Under Neil’s leadership of Marketing Birmingham, the city secured the highest number of foreign direct investment projects on record, attracting significant new investments from companies such as HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Jaguar Land Rover and ASOS. The city’s visitor economy has also grown significantly in recent years, with Birmingham enjoying the largest growth in international visitors of any UK city outside London and the tourism sector now contributing £6.5 billion to the local economy, a 22% increase (£1.16bn) since 2013.
Previously, Neil held similar roles in Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a member of the British Tourism Industry Group; Chair of the Midlands Trade and Investment Group and is a former Governor and Board Member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Neil is also a Board member of Creative England
Erica, Director of Culture Central has worked in the cultural sector for over 15 years, becoming Director of Culture Central in November 2019. Since Covid, Erica has been leading on the West Midlands Culture Response Unit. This has been a programme of work that has focussed on the Visibility, Viability and Recovery of the Culture Sector. This is a cross partnership initiative, including regional and local government, the sector, funders and other strategic partners. She is a passionate advocate for the impact and value of arts and culture on the people and places of the West Midlands and the valuable role it plays in economic growth, regeneration and placemaking.
Culture Central: A collective voice for arts and cultural in the West Midlands.
Cllr Ian Brookfield
City of Wolverhampton Council
Ian is the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Wolverhampton Labour Group.
As Leader Ian is also the Chair of the Cabinet, the decision-making body at the council. His priorities focus on attracting businesses to the city which will provide good, well paid jobs and investing in support for children and young people, so they get the best possible start in life.
Before becoming Leader in May 2019, Ian served as Mayor, Chair of the West Midlands Pension Fund and Chair of the City Council finance committee.
He sits on the Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority where he is the portfolio holder for economy and innovation. As part of this regional role he is also the lead for the emerging Screen Industry Body which aims to transform the current screen industry, helping to drive investment, growth and create thousands of new jobs.
Before becoming a full-time politician, Ian worked as a qualified nurse in the North West and the West Midlands and more recently worked at the Royal Mail in Wolverhampton.
Chief Operating Officer
Colin is a qualified accountant and has had a varied career within the entertainment sector. Starting out with CBS Records / Sony Music providing business analysis to the front line record labels, holding the role of Finance Director at what was then the largest UK distributor of physical entertainment product in the UK before transitioning to the Live music industry in 2005. Colin is the COO of AEG Presents in Europe, the second largest global promoter which owns and manages venues across the globe, festivals such as Coachella and British Summertime in Hyde Park and promotes tours from developing acts through the superstars such as the Rolling Stones and Justin Bieber. The last 15 years in the UK has seen the AEG start up establish a major UK promoting business, 2 London metropolitan festivals attracting >500k customers, expanding offices into Europe markets and the acquisition and refurbishment of Hammersmith Apollo, and multiple partnership arrangement, and within the next 12 months will happily add opened up the Wolves Civic to that list!
Grand Theatre Wolverhampton
Vicky has worked in the Arts and Culture sector for over 15 years. Since 2016 she has held the position of Associate Director of Development and Communications at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, leading on Marketing, Sales, Corporate Sponsorship, Events, Fundraising, Access, and Creative Learning.
The theatre attracts over 300,000 visitors into Wolverhampton every year as a number one touring venue and producing house. Vicky along with a dedicated team are committed
to the delivering the theatre’s Audience Development Strategy. Over the last three years there has been a twenty percent increase in South Asian Audiences; collaboration with every secondary school in Wolverhampton and an award-winning Dementia Programme has been launched and continues to grow.
City of Wolverhampton’s ambitious plans to become the events and cultural capital of the Black Country and West Midlands will come into the spotlight at this digital event. With a new five-year events strategy launched, British Art Show 9 hitting the city in 2022, Wolverhampton playing a key role in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the city’s bid to become the next City of Culture - there’s a positive buzz in the air. All of this of course builds on the city’s fantastic visitor offer including theatre, racing, football, art and our historic venues. Hear from key speakers who will discuss the city plans to relight after the pandemic, stimulate economic growth and increase city centre footfall.