New Programme Directors Announced

New Programme Directors Announced

We are thrilled to announce two new appointments in the Programming Team: Rachel Mellor becomes the new Children and Schools Programme Director and Noëlle Cobden joins us in a brand new role as Communities Programme Director.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said "The creation of the Communities Programme Director role represents an important step for the Book Festival in its ambition to work in new ways, with new audiences - and I'm convinced that our year-round community activities will also lead to new ideas for the August festival. The new role will allow the Children and Schools Programme Director to focus on maximising the opportunities to deliver a world-leading programme for young people every August. In Noëlle Cobden and Rachel Mellor we have found two talented programmers whose ideas and experience will greatly enhance the Book Festival team."

Rachel Mellor is an events specialist who has programmed literary events for festivals, venues, charities and publishers.  Joining Pan Macmillan in 2017 to work across author events, Rachel also worked on the publisher's year-round programme of public events to celebrate their 175th anniversary.  Prior to her role at Pan Macmillan she has worked for the Southbank Centre, The Tate, and Faber & Faber.

Noëlle Cobden joins the Book Festival from Horsecross Arts in Perth where she has held the post of Head of Creative Learning since 2013. Under her leadership Horsecross Arts won a number of awards for their work in the community. Prior to Horsecross Noëlle was Head of Learning at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and alongside her role at the Traverse, she was the Street Arts Coordinator at WHALE Arts Agency, Edinburgh from 2010-2013. An experienced arts practitioner Noëlle has a demonstrated history of working creatively with a range of communities and is passionate about ensuring culture opportunities are accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

The Communities Programme Director role will continue to build our programme of activities that takes the Book Festival on the road, including the Citizen programme which we launched earlier this year in locations around Edinburgh and in Musselburgh. These initiatives, which are made possible thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland), are designed to build new partnerships with organisations and audiences across Scotland.

The new communities role will enable the new Children and Schools Programme Director to focus on building on some of the innovations introduced by her predecessor Janet Smyth during her 8-year tenure. Rachel and Noëlle will both take up their positions after the 2019 Book Festival.

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