• Twitter icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Instagram icon
  • Youtube icon

Laura Cox

Hubs & Production Coordinator

Laura’s a Hull lass born and bred. With a career in events and being a performer, she knows the buzz of performance and the importance of introducing people to the arts world. Whether it’s igniting old passions or inspiring new generations, she’s here for it.

Laura’s a real people person who loves a gab and meeting new people, and is all about making sure amazing art experiences are accessible to all.

Jennifer Halliwell

Project Manager – Bransholme Chat

Jen grew up in Warrington and came up to Yorkshire to study many moons ago. Since then, she’s dedicated her career to managing large corporate events as well as dabbling with entrepreneurialism as winner of “Warrington’s Best New Business” for her made-to-measure clothing and design business.

Most of all she loves to chat, so you’ll find her most days at our Bransholme Chat shop having a good old natter.

When she isn’t busy chatting, Jen loves watching horror films as well as dancing to a bit of heavy rock or belting out an Abba tune. If she’s not doing that, she’s dreaming of holidaying in the sun and building up her freckles.

Ellie Irwin


Ellie is our resident Canadian who moved to Yorkshire via London to be part of Hull’s City of Culture year. She fell in love with the city (and a Hull lad), so she decided to stay.

Her first love is film; she’s worked operations on Yorkshire’s biggest film festivals, Sheffield DocFest and Leeds International Film Fest. She is a Trustee and lead programmer at Hull Independent Cinema. She is proud to be back working in her city, engaging with residents and learning more about what they want to see in their neighbourhoods!

She can be found at the cinema multiple times a week, supporting her Girlguiding Brownie unit at St Cuthbert’s Chuch, learning German, embroidering a hoop, or out on a walk with her staffy, Kiera.

Emma Sarjo

Bransholme Chat – Engagement Assistant

Emma’s born and bred in Hull. She worked for many years as a teaching and swimming assistant at Frederick Holmes School, taking breaks to have her three boys.

After starting Playing Out in her own street, she now supports other families to close their streets to give children the opportunity to play out on their doorstep and get to know their neighbours. She started her Back to Ours journey planning every half term around our events and later became a Hub member for her area. She’s also one of our Bransholme Chat chatters, so you’ll probably find her having a cuppa and a natter or crafting and engaging with our younger visitors.

Ian Sawyers

Company Administrator 

Ian’s joined Back to Ours after 15 years in the corporate sector. He’s always been passionate about the arts and the cultural offer in his home town and decided to make the leap and join the Back to Ours Team this year. You’ll find Ian organising everyone, keeping our finances up to date and assisting on events throughout the BTO programme.

He loves travelling, visiting galleries, international films, tennis, concerts and collecting Madonna memorabilia.

Nesta Sheehan

Company Manager

After completing her degree in TV & Film Design, Nesta went on to work in film and TV including work with Hull Film and Glimmer Film Festival.

Nesta worked with Freedom Festival Arts Trust for many years before joining the Back to Ours team in 2018, and was part of the cohort of the prestigious Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Fellowship in 2020.

Nesta takes care of company finances, fundraising, policy writing, and cares about Back to Ours being an open and accessible place to work for parents and carers and those with disabilities.

She loves, spending time with her family, visiting outdoor festivals and RuPauls Drag Race.

Louise Yates, BEM

Artistic Director & CEO

Brought up on a mix of the finest working men’s club turns South Leeds had to offer, it’s no wonder Louise took to a career in the arts: she started her acting career as 1970’s cabaret performer ‘Fanny Rogers’, going on to work in TV and theatre whilst teaching acting and directing at Thomas Danby College, Leeds.

With a degree in Theatre and Music Tech from York and a PGCE from Huddersfield, Louise came to Hull 12 years ago to join Hull Truck Theatre’s education team. Like most visitors, she fell in love with the city and made Hull her home, moving on to manage the regional youth arts organisation Creative Connexions, engaging with some of the most hard to reach young people in the region and switching them on to the Arts.

Louise went on to Arts Development Officer at Hull City Council, where she was instrumental in the first conversations about creating what is now Middle Child and Silent Uproar.  Her passion for engaging new audiences was born out of working with the Hull Events Team on large scale events across the city, such as the Lord Mayor’s Parade and the Christmas Lights switch on – it was here she developed those very Back to Ours ingredients of mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar.

As Producer for Hull UK City of Culture, her commitment and passion for engaging communities was evident through Back to Ours and Land of Green Ginger. Placing herself very firmly in areas across the city to find out how people could be engaged and what connected with them, she produced 7 Alleys and The Gold Nose of Green Ginger for the latter by placing herself in the heart of these communities and talking to anyone and everyone.

And when she has time, with a love of indie music, dogs and nights out down the club with her family, Lou’s fave place in the world is Singapore followed closely by Lloret De Mar.

Tare Kagbala

Freelance Shindig Project Manager

Tare’s a mum of 3 who’s a creative. She loves art, music, dance and all forms of expression.

She’s had a varied career and wants to do work that aligns with who she is at her core. She’s driven by social causes and anything that builds and expands community.