A woman looks at the camera and is smiling. She is white skinned and has redish brown, shoulder length hair. She is wearing a bright turquoise necklace, and a black short sleeved t shirt.

Joanne Wain – CEO and Executive Director

Joanne holds the position of CEO and Executive Director, drawing from a professional journey that spans over two decades. Her role is collaborative and encompasses responsibilities such as leadership and business development, strategy formulation, event and project management, and the leadership of a creative team, all contributing to the realisation of the company’s vision.
Joanne is an accomplished arts professional with a rich portfolio in the cultural industries. Her expertise encompasses a wide array of art forms, covering both management and production aspects. She has been involved in various projects, including indoor and outdoor theatre, digital and online art events, and the coordination of large-scale outdoor spectacles.

How long have you been with IOU and what has been your highlight?

“I’ve been part of the IOU team since 2014, contributing to over 40 productions and events. There have been many highlights, from the successful transformation of a double-decker bus into a rear-facing mobile auditorium for Rear View, to conducting workshops, with a personal favourite being ‘how to stick things together.’ I appreciate the diversity of my role, from simple tasks to more complex ones, from meeting audiences or managing shoots from the front of a train using an IOU-engineered camera rig.”

Tell us about your professional journey before joining IOU?

“Before joining IOU, my professional journey began in Manchester from 1992 to 1999. My entry into the world of arts followed a successful career as a Freelance Journalist for publications such as The Face, Mixmag, and Muzik. At that time, I also served as an Editorial Assistant for Jockey Slut magazine and worked as the Director of Freestyle PR. My path to my current role was preceded by an 8 year tenure as a Senior Event Producer at UZ, a leading events company based in Glasgow, overseeing the production of various festivals, where I honed my skills.”
“From 2007 to 2011, I moved to Hebden Bridge and returned to Manchester as the General Manager at FutureEverything, a digital festival of Art, Music, and Ideas. Continuing my arts journey, I worked as a freelance Producer for NVA’s Ghost Peloton during the Tour de France in Leeds, and a variety of other projects, including at Quays Culture’s NVA’s Speed of Light, WE PLAY Expo, and the Cultural Olympiad at Preston Guild Festival before arriving at IOU”

Tell us about any stand out productions or exhibits you’ve experienced that left their mark on you?

“My passion for music was significantly influenced by the ‘90s acid-house music scene in Manchester and the North of England. Electronic music was already a part of my life, from artists like Brian Eno to David Bowie and Bauhaus, even before the music scene’s emergence.”

“My journey in outdoor arts began as a project assistant with Improbable Theatre and World Famous premiere of Sticky in 1999. This production remains a memorable part of my artistic journey, marking a pivotal moment in my career.”