Our Board

The board of The Crescent and Belfast Book Festival helps to drive our development and contributes to our strategy for future success, providing leadership and experience to the board on growing income and the development of activities that also fulfil our purpose and values. Our current priorities are to extend our reach, develop new partnerships, build our profile and create new strategic collaborations. Our current board members include:

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Evelyn Hoy - Chair

Evelyn is an experienced Chief Executive Officer of an Arm’s Length Body and a former civil servant of 30+ years. 

She leads a team of staff working for and supporting the objectives of the Commissioner for Older People and is a corporate governance expert and has a range of responsibilities including the delivery of the corporate objectives, communications and engagement, human and financial resources. 

Having worked in a variety of government departments across a diverse range of policy and service delivery roles, she also set up and developed the Commissioner for Older People’s organisation in 2012 and have worked with both the former and current Commissioners.

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Cormac Maguire - Vice Chair

Cormac started his career in London, moving back to his hometown of Belfast in 2011 to help establish the Belfast branch of FCB Studios. He moved to Queen’s University in May 2023 to take up his current role of Estates Manager - Major Projects.

Cormac has organized numerous educational arts projects in collaboration with local Arts charities, as well larger events such as the annual Open House Belfast architectural festival. Throughout his career he has led the design development and construction of education and cultural projects, most notably the UU Greater Belfast Development, a £250 million project that providing a state-of-the-art campus for Ulster University within the context of a challenging city centre location.

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Michael Campbell - Treasurer

Michael is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland with over 15 years experience working in financial reporting in both the public, private and charitable sectors. He has 6 years of Governance within the Education Sector and his primary experience lies within financial reporting systems development.

Michael has a keen interest in the arts and community engagement in Northern Ireland, with particular regard to music.  He currently sits as Chair of the Board of Governors for Oakwood Integrated Primary School, and was previously the Board's Vice Chair and Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

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Sarah McCullough

Sarah is a Creative Director based across Belfast and London. Schooled in Fine Art at Central St Martins, in the early years of her career she cut her teeth in the fashion departments of style magazines The Face, Arena Homme+ and Pop.

Best known for her unflinching and expansive concept work, as Director of Creative at Selfridges, Sarah was behind the brand's most celebrated campaigns including, Agender, The Beauty Project, EveryBODY, Music Matters and Project Earth. She defined an arts and culture strategy for Selfridges which included a public art program, the launch of a broadcast channel, a fashion talent incubation initiative and collaborations with global luxury brands, emerging designers and artists.

Now an independent Creative Director and Strategist, Sarah consults for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands as part of Ourselves Creative Studio.

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Kate Beggs

Kate was appointed as The National Lottery Community Fund's Director for Northern Ireland in January 2019. She leads the Fund’s grant-making activity, relationship management and operations in Northern Ireland.

Kate was previously Deputy Director in the Northern Ireland Office, leading its strategic external and community engagement. Before joining the NIO, she held a wide-ranging series of roles in the Diplomatic Service, in the UK and abroad.

Niamh Shannon

Niamh is a professionally qualified HR/L&D Manager with 24 years experience within large public and private organisations.  She is a successful senior manager with a track record of aligning the HR/L&D functions to meet strategic and operational corporate goals. She has experience of working on various large and complex HR projects and has had frequent contact with Trade Unions. 

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Rachel Hooper

Rachel Hooper is Creative Director of Walk on Air films, a Belfast based production company making film and tv content for national and international audiences. She has a track record in collaborative film making and co producing, working with UK and international broadcasters. Her films have gone on to win Grierson, RTS, and BAFTA awards amongst others. Recent credits include the critically acclaimed series Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, a co-production with KEO films for PBS and the BBC and double BAFTA winning Lee Miller – A Life on the Frontline.

Rachel also worked for the BBC for 15 years running their radio documentary department and before that as a senior producer in the newsroom. 

Catriona Holmes 

Catriona has a keen interest in the arts from her roles at Audiences NI (now ThriveNI), housing from roles at the Chartered Institute of Housing, multiple estate agencies in Northern Ireland and a position on the management committee of Shelter NI from 2014 – 2017.

Catriona’s background includes marketing, website development, search engine optimisation, designing and managing grant processes, provision of training to arts / community organisations, evaluation of processes including events and audience development.

She currently manages the online marketing for retail clients in USA and Europe and a variety of tourism focused clients in Northern Ireland.

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Jackie Lenaghan 

Jackie Lenaghan is a dynamic Marketing Operations professional with experience across the private and public sector. Jackie has over 16 years experience across Marketing Operations, Project Management and Change and Transformation programmes. She is currently leading Marketing Operations at Kainos, a global software and information technology company. She is also a Marketing Ops Ambassador for a global network.

Jackie is passionate about the arts since an early age and studied Drama and History at Queens University Belfast. As part of her studies she gained a scholarship to study in America where she interned at a theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. When she returned Jackie co-founded a Speech and Drama school in South Belfast for young people age 4-16 years which ran for ten years.

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Babita Sharma 

Babita is an award-winning Author, Journalist and Broadcaster. Babita is the author of the critically acclaimed non-fiction book The Corner Shop and the upcoming children's book series The Adventures of Priya Mistry. A former BBC News Anchor, Babita spent ten years covering major global stories for BBC World News, including Cop 27, the Covid-19 pandemic, the US Elections 2020, the Black Lives Matter protests and the award-winning BBC 100 Women series.

She has presented several television documentaries, including the landmark BBC Two series Dangerous Borders: The Story of India & Pakistan, where Babita followed in the footsteps of her family, who were directly affected by the Partition of India. Babita is on the Board of Trustees for United for Global Mental Health, Patron of the South Asian Heritage Trust and Distinguished Friend of the Migration Museum

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Holly Milne 

Holly graduated from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in 2016 with a BSc Hons degree in Business Management before achieving a Master’s degree in MSc Marketing in 2017. She was then awarded a PhD Studentship from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to conduct research on the deployment of market intelligence in small businesses knowledge management and new product development processes. During this time, she taught digital marketing and business strategy at undergraduate level at QUB. In 2020, she co-founded an artisan food business, which she ran for 3 years.

In November 2023, Holly defended her PhD thesis at Ulster University and will graduate as a Doctor of Philosophy in July 2024. Her current role in Dale Farm involves leading shopper marketing campaigns across brands. Holly has a keen interest in the arts having completed grades up to Gold Medal with Distinctions in Speech and Drama with New Era Academy.



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