The speakers on our panel will be leading experts in the world of media, charity, and digital storytelling. We'll be announcing more of our 2020 speakers soon.

Our keynote speaker

 Dan Dewsbury

Documentary Director and Cameraman

Dan is a documentary Director and Cameraman based in London. Originally from Liverpool he studied Anthropology at Lancaster University. He began his career in documentary over ten years ago on a BBC traineeship working on critically acclaimed series such as Wonderland, Storyville, Louis Theroux, The Family and 24 Hours in A&E. Since then Daniel has gone on to work with acclaimed documentary makers until getting his break on BAFTA-nominated series ‘The Detectives’ and Royal Television Society winning ‘Hospital’. He completed his first job as a Series Director and Cameraman working with BBC2 on ‘The Mighty Redcar’ for 72 Films, an exploration through young voices of the inequality of opportunities which exist in some towns in the North East. The series has gone out to critical acclaim with the Guardian, Daily Mail, Radio Times and Independent giving it five stars. It was number four in the Telegraph’s ‘Best Television of 2018’ and was nominated for a BAFTA and Win Two Royal Television Society Awards. He most recently directed ‘Crime and Punishment’ for Channel 4 a documentary examining the Ministry of Justice through the prison system. The series has been universally praised and cited by parliament a number of times as a key piece of research on the conditions of prison and the inability for rehabilitation to happen within the current system.

Daniel recently won the BAFTA Breakthrough award recognising people in all areas of the creative arts who have made a particularly big contribution to a project, creatively, for the first time.

Daniels latest project is about birth for BBC1 – a series looking at what it takes, medically and emotionally to bring a child into the world and trying to capture the reality of that particular situation.  We can’t wait to hear Dan share his insights on storytelling at SMEX20.

More speakers

  • Katie Bryson

    Communications & Events Executive, Action Foundation | @actionFdn

    Katie Bryson is an ex-BBC journalist with many years of experience in digital media, clocking up over a decade at BBC News and CBBC Newsround. Next came her work as an influencer and food writer via her Family Food Blog feedingboys.co.uk, as well as freelance commissions as a digital/social media editor.
    She has now turned her hand to Charity Communications working for Refugee charity Action Foundation, managing their social media, website and press coverage, as well as running events. Katie believes the power of storytelling in Charity Communications is key when it comes to engaging people with a cause.

  • Dave Howard

    Creative Director, Bespoken Media  | @DaveHow4rd

    Dave Howard founded Edinburgh-based podcast production and training company Bespoken Media (@Bespoken_UK) after 17 years as a BBC reporter and radio producer. Bespoken help charities and organisations to create branded podcasts and other audio products. Dave’s BBC work has won awards from the likes of Mind and the National Autistic Society.  He also spent 6 years at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, as politics and New York-based US reporter for Newsbeat.


  • Sam Wonfor

    Freelance Multimedia Writer and PR Consultant | @samwonfor

    Sam Wonfor is an award-winning journalist who spent 16 years at NCJMedia in Newcastle where she specialised in covering the arts and culture scene across the North East.

    Working predominantly for The Journal’s Culture Magazine and dedicated daily Culture pages in the newspaper, Sam was also the creative producer of The Culture Awards from 2006-2017.  Since leaving NCJ in 2017, Sam has been working as a freelance multimedia writer and PR consultant for a variety of clients from arts organisations and charities to fine dining restaurants and country house hotels. Sam also runs a website in her spare time – Only-In-Newcastle.co.uk – which exists to celebrate and signpost the best of the independent scene across Newcastle and Gateshead and all the brilliant stuff you won’t find anywhere else in the world.


  • Seaneen Molloy

    Communications Manager | @ms_molly_vog

    Seaneen is the Communications Manager for MindWise, a leading Northern Ireland mental health charity.  She previously worked for Mind, as the Senior Digital Community Officer managing the online community Elefriends. Her personal blog, Mentally Interesting, has over 1.5 million views and was nominated for a Mind Media Award. It has also been made into a Radio 4 drama.


  • Paul Alexander Knox

    Photographer, AmberSide Film and Photography Collective | @doctorknox72

    Paul is an award-winning documentary photographer working to examine social and cultural structures both locally and globally. He has been twice commissioned by the AmberSide Collective to reflect the stories of diverse and marginalised communities in the North East. He worked for 2 years with the Bangladeshi Community in Sunderland to create We are All Brothers Here. He is currently making work with Emmaus, a charity that supports people to work their way out of homelessness.

    Paul also works with AmberSide to deliver education projects with schools and community groups demonstrating the power of documentary photography to ask wider questions around cultural, historic and environmental change.

  • Katie McSherry

    Project Manager, Activate Collective | @katiemcsherry

    Based in Newcastle, Katie manages the Activate Collective, a national feminist movement that backs women campaigners from local activism to election, with the aim of making politics more representative.

    Katie is an experienced campaigner specialised in working with low income communities. Her achievements have included changing policy on free childcare provision. Katie is a Clore Social Leadership fellow. She was a director for Amnesty UK for six years, and an NGO delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2019.

  • Jes Bailey


    Jes Bailey, founder of Crowdfund 360, is an award winning Crowdfunding Consultant that specialises in social good crowdfunding campaigns. In the last 3 years she has helped 60+ organisations raise close to £3million for their causes. Clients who follow her training are over 4x as likely to succeed than going it alone. Before entering the Crowdfund scene, Jes worked in international charities in fundraising and comms roles.


  • Matt Haworth

    Founder, Reason Digital | @acrim

    A champion of tech for good – Matt is one of the UK’s leading experts on changing lives with digital. Founder of social enterprise, Reason Digital and author of the ‘Digital Fundraising Book’, Matt has grown a team of 50 who, for more than a decade, have been delivering digital innovation for national and international charities such as Age UK, WellChild, the Trussell Trust and BBC Children in Need as well as philanthropists and CSR leaders. Talking to audiences across the UK and internationally, Matt has been said to “inspire people every time he speaks”. His passion and determination to harness technology for good hasn’t gone unnoticed with Matt’s work winning multiple awards including the Guardian Society Award for Digital Innovation.

  • Ben Pearson

    Empowerment Officer, Church Action on Poverty | @benpearson1987

    Ben works on the Food Power programme in partnership with Sustain, supporting alliances to involve those with lived experience across the network and overseeing the peer mentor programme. Previous to working at Church Action on Poverty he worked in advocacy, health and social care and mental health. He’s an associate of the Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation at UCLAN and a passionate activist and campaigner.

  • Penny Walters

    Food Power Newcastle | @pennypotwash

    Penny has been involved in Food Power Newcastle for almost three years now, using her own lived experience to campaign both locally and nationally on Food Poverty Issues. She’s co-designed tools as part of the Leapfrog Project with Lancaster University, attended the
    Closing the Hunger Gap Conference in North Carolina, spoken to MP’s and also been involved in the End Hunger UK Campaign. Penny spoke about her experience of Universal Credit and how it impacted her family to Channel 4 News, she continues to fight on behalf of Byker residents and is now facilitating a series of Conversation Café’s on the estate.

  • Jude Habib


    Jude is the Founder and Director of sounddelivery. She set up sounddelivery to help non-profit organisations and other socially-minded enterprises embrace the changing media landscape and find new ways of telling their stories. As a former BBC producer Jude’s work has always focused on the power of human interest stories and is passionate about giving a voice to stories and issues that don’t get reported and strives to support people with lived experience to be confident to tell those stories themselves.

  • Jason Thompson

    Videographer, Editor, Director and Producer, Sound Ideas Media

    Jason is founder and Director of Sound Ideas Media, and has more than 25 years of experience in creating digital content, including online video for a wide range of clients throughout the UK and Europe. He has a background in teaching, having qualified in 1992 before going on to set up his successful digital media business in 1995.
    He has worked with a very diverse range of organisations and charities to help them tell their stories through video, and is passionate about the power of social video, vlogging and short films to reach and to engage an audience. He created and presented the TV series Introducing for Made in Tyne & Wear, and has worked with many music, arts and entertainment clients in the region. Over the last 5 years Jason has been in increasing demand to create video content for creative projects, and has filmed in Poland, Sweden, Lithuania, Portugal, Greece and Italy.
  • Jen Laws

    Campaigns Project Manager, North East, Asylum Matters | @AsylumMatters

    Jen works as Campaigns Project Manager for the North East with Asylum Matters, a campaigning project that works in partnership to improve the lives of people seeking asylum through social and political change. Asylum Matters co-leads the ‘Lift the Ban’ campaign, a coalition of 230 organisations who have come together to advocate for the right to work for people seeking asylum.

    Before her role with Asylum Matters, Jen worked internationally with the humanitarian NGO MOAS, leading on campaigns focusing on search and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea and the rights of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

  • Anup Manota

    | @asmanota

    Anup Manota has been with Karma Nirvana since 2007 and has played a significant role in the strategic development of the organisation, post-recession and funding cuts. As the Operations Manager he is responsible for funding, financial & charity reporting, communications, structural and strategic developments within the charity. Anup also supports Karma Nirvana through delivering training and raising awareness nationally. With over seven years’ experience of public speaking, Anup offers a male’s approach to these heinous crimes.

    Anup has supported victims on the Karma Nirvana helpline, and now will support the team around any advocacy and safeguarding concerns. Approaching his busy workload with a high degree of commitment and good-humoured intelligence, it’s no wonder Anup is a man who says he likes a challenge!

  • Amber Wilson

    Business Development and Marketing Manager, Basis Yorkshire | @BasisYorkshire

    Amber Wilson is Business Development and Marketing Manager for Basis Yorkshire whose role includes leading on supporting the delivery of the comms strategy for the charity Basis Yorkshire – a charity supporting, advocating and campaigning for sexworkers and adult and child victims of sexual exploitation.

  • Abbie Foster

    Fundraising and Marketing Manager, The Key | @abbiekeyfoster 

    Abbie has been working in fundraising and marketing in the North East youth charity sector for over seven years. Passionate about inspiring belief in young people and collaboration, she is keen to harness the unique experiences, ideas and knowledge of young people in meaningful ways for both charities and the young people themselves.


  • Jeannie Swales

    Press Officer, the Stephen Joseph Theatre | @thesjt

    A former journalist, Jeannie Swales now works with cultural, arts and heritage organisations across North Yorkshire, including the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough Museums Trust and the North York Moors National Park’s Inspired by… gallery to promote their events.