DJAZZ’s Heather Spencer is our new Programme Manager

“Having been working in jazz for a few years now, I’ve come to learn a lot about the breadth and variety of jazz in the north and have had the chance to meet a lot of the musicians, educators and organisers making it happen.

My work history has been centred up in the North East, as co-director of DJAZZ, Jazz Development Coordinator at Sage Gateshead and co-programmer of Sunday Jazz at Middlesbrough Town Hall. I’ve been involved in lots of event freelancing and was part of the HMUK Jazz Promoter Fellowship in the early days of trying to work it all out.

I met some amazing people, saw some great music and learnt so much whilst volunteering at festivals and making pizza in my brother-in-law’s Chorley market stall. It’s been a fun and rewarding few years and it really has been so much down to the help and support of some brilliant people.

I’ve been working as Programme Manager at Jazz North for just over a month now and I am so thrilled to be part of this small but mighty team – there are only five of us! I was introduced to Jazz North through the fantastic Lucy Woolley who has been doing brilliant stuff in this role before I joined and is now network manager at Jazz Promotion Network (JPN) amongst many other things. Lucy invited me down to the JPN conference in Leeds, following the first edition of DJAZZ in my final year of university. I didn’t really have an idea of what a sector even was at that point, so it really did all kick start from the people I met there.

My role as Programme Manager is based on shaping and delivering activities that support the northern jazz sector. Right now, I manage our artist development programme and lead promoter and artist networking sessions on a regular basis. It’s definitely strange to join a live-music-driven organisation during the most difficult period live music has faced in our lifetime. Despite this, I’ve really felt the togetherness and solidarity of this industry as people have come together to support one another and share experiences.

Come and say hello –

It would be lush to say hello if you’re reading this and wondering about Jazz North and how it can support you as an artist or connect you as a promoter. Or, if you have no idea what we do or if you’ve already engaged with us a million times and would just like to be in touch again. Especially in these seemingly endless times of being apart, it’s so important to have spaces to connect and I hope this is something we can really help with as we make sustainable and resilient plans for the future.

I really look forward to getting to know this scene even more over the coming months and into a time when we can all get back into venues and enjoy the brilliant live music northern jazz has to offer.”

Heather Spencer