Julian Tait

Chief executive officer

Julian is a passionate advocate for technologies that build stronger communities, encourage new forms of economic activity and give people a stake in decision-making.

He’s spent more than a decade creating projects that prove the benefits of open and accessible data.

While working at FutureEverything, Julian co-developed Manchester’s Open Data Cities programme, and he’s been involved with many local, national and international initiatives. He is a co-author of the Open Data Handbook, The Open Book and other papers.

Sam Milsom

Programme development manager

Sam designs and delivers ODM’s programme including training, workshops and projects such as Data for Communities and the lottery funded Our Streets Chorlton.

He is a skilled workshop facilitator with experience of making data accessible to ‘non-data people’ and building strong community and stakeholder engagement.

Previously Sam has worked for Code Club and ReadingWise. In 2011, he co-founded Time/Image Online, responsible for the digitisation and cataloguing of the British Council’s film archive. He can sometimes be heard co-hosting the Tech For Good Live podcast.


Kirsty Styles

Communications manager

Kirsty is a journalist, campaigner, researcher and performer. In 2019, she became the first PhD candidate supported by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, where she’s looking at the environmental impact of the media.

She’s brought civictech stories to millions through business and consumer media, including working as an editor for the New Statesman, created a public speaker training scheme for women in tech in the North and launched a British Podcast Award-winning podcast for the New Economics Foundation. She also helped open the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s award-winning local investigation files.

Recent work includes the Standup For Journalism comedy training and performance night, offering journalists a new way to talk about the public interest, and acting as selection advisor for Nesta’s government-backed Future News Pilot Fund.


Sophie Walker

Project manager

Sophie is the COO and co-founder of Dsposal a clean-tech company, which along with its sister social enterprise Your Dsposal, is on a mission is to empower people to make better decisions with their resources and waste by increasing transparency and accountability to make a positive impact on our environment.

Prior to founding Dsposal, Sophie gained a degree in Conflict Resolution, cycled 8,700 miles around North America and enjoyed a winding career encompassing supply chain, the food industry and sustainability.

She is shortlisted for the NPW Outstanding Entrepreneur award 2020, was voted joint 5th in the 2019 Resource Hot 100, is the group coordinator of the Waste Compliance Taskforce and is an alumna of the CSC Leaders Programme.

Nathan Khadaroo-McCheynne

PhD Researcher

Nathan is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Manchester. He is writing his thesis in collaboration with Open Data Manchester on “Citizen Science for the Public Good”.

Nathan completed his BA in political science at the University of Manchester. His current research interests include citizen science, exploring statistical methodology for new and unconventional forms of data, contemporary debates in philosophy of statistics, open-sourced software (in particular R and Julia languages), communicating uncertainty, and cooking.

He is also a passionate advocate of open research practices and co-organises the university’s open science journal club.


Clara Parada

User researcher

Clara is a ‘tech for good’ user researcher based in Manchester. She has worked with clients in a variety of spaces, such as education, social care and homelessness.

She currently works with Diverse and Equal researching issues around ethnic diversity in tech, as well as upskilling people in Agile, User-centred Design and Research.

In her past life, Clara got a Master’s degree in Digital Media Management at Hyper Island, as well as a PGCE in Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University.

In her spare time, Clara likes to crochet, eat chips and go hiking!

Maura Hunt

Data architect

Maura is a PhD candidate in the Decision and Cognitive Science Research Centre at the University of Manchester. She is writing her thesis on cognitive shortcuts used in decision support systems.

Before her doctoral studies, Maura received her MSc in Business Analytics – Operational Research and Risk Analysis at the University of Manchester. She also completed aBSc in Psychological Sciences at Kent State University in the USA.

Maura’s research interests include multi-criteria optimisation, rationality, cognitive and resource constraints, human-computer interaction, open-source software (mainly in R programming language) and open-science practices.

Personally, she likes to watch Netflix, explore cute coffee shops, go hiking and travel.

Board of directors

Michelle Brook

Until January 2020, Michelle was Vice-President and UK Managing Director of The Democratic Society, before leaving to work as a consultant supporting NGOs and charities to work better with communities and citizens.

She is currently developing and implementing the community strategy for the ground-breaking Icebreaker One project, bringing together financial institutions, academics, and NGOs to explore how open and shared data can deliver innovative financing for a carbon-zero future.

With prior roles at Cambridge University and Open Knowledge Foundation, Michelle is passionate about increasing access to knowledge and social justice, and empowering individuals and communities to have their voices heard.

Andrew Clarke

A principal at global philanthropic organisation Luminate, Andrew focuses on investments in financial transparency and leads its work in Manchester.

Previously, he was advocacy manager at Publish What You Fund (PWYF), where he campaigned for aid transparency by engaging with the US government, the European Union and the World Bank. He also represented PWYF on the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

Before this, Andrew was public affairs manager for political consultancy Ranelagh International. He also worked at the Overseas Development Institute.

Nathan Day

As a co-founder of data startup Rockshore Ltd in 2004, Nathan was heavily involved in the early open data movement in Manchester, where he worked with national government and the transport sector to liberate real-time information.

Nathan is a member of the Manchester Tech Trust and is active in a number of mentoring programmes, nurturing local talent and developing local businesses.

Jane Eckford

Jane is known for her pioneering approach to improving customer service and community engagement in the public sector, which focuses on getting actionable insights by combining empathy and open data.

She has long-advocated for better practice here, and has contributed to standard-setting efforts within the industry, regionally and nationally, as well as in central government.

After 30 years working in local government and joint-venture companies, she’s now supporting Age Concern in Sefton, Liverpool as a non-executive director and is part of the organising team behind the People’s Powerhouse. She’s also an executive coach.

Linda Humphries

Linda is founder and chief executive of Paper Frogs Ltd, which provides digital and open-standards advisory services.

She was head of The Federation digital and social innovation hub in Manchester and continues to work on delivering the Federation Programme along with other partners.

She was previously a senior technology adviser at the Government Digital Service, where she devised the UK government’s Open Standards principles and worked to ensure interoperability across Europe. She now co-chairs the UK Government’s Open Standards Board.

Linda is also chair of 360Giving’s stewardship committee, which maintains an open-data standard for charities’ decision-making.

Doctor Caroline Jay

Caroline Jay is a reader in computer science at the University of Manchester. She is both a qualified psychologist (BA, CPsychol) and a computer scientist (MSc, PhD), and undertakes research crossing these domains. Caroline is the research director of the UKRI Software Sustainability Institute, and is an advocate for open and reproducible research.

She is also a fellow of the city’s Alan Turing Institute, and leads her university’s arm of the BBC Data Science Research Partnership.

Alison MacKenzie-Folan

Alison is Wigan Council’s chief executive. She is passionate about public services and is determined to make a difference for her residents. That’s why she’s committed to collaboration, innovation and technology, and inspiring new female leaders.

Alison is a board member of Unify Credit Union and a digital spokesperson for local government network SOLACE. She was named in Northern Power Women’s 2017 Power List and, in 2019, Wigan Council won the Large Organisation award for its diversity work, as well as being named Local Government Chronical’s Council of the Year.

Professor Farida Vis

Director of the Visual Social Media Lab, where she leads interdisciplinary research on social media images at the intersection of academia and industry. She has researched social media since 2005.

She is Professor of Digital Media at the Manchester School of Art. Prior to this she was a Faculty Research Fellow for five years in the Information School at the University of Sheffield.

She has a PhD in Media and Communication from the Manchester School of Art and is a regular public speaker. She grows her own food and for the last ten years has on and off been training to become a horse whisperer.

Jamie Whyte

Jamie has been a director since Open Data Manchester became a community interest company. Before this, he helped run the community’s activities.

Jamie has worked with open data for eight years, first in local authorities, now through Propolis, his own company. He has advised on and delivered projects with government, charities and companies.

As a civic technologist, Jamie is passionate about making sure people understand that data is used to make decisions about them – but they can use it to support their own goals.

Jamie has three children, cooks and walks, and is a trustee of a local multi-academy trust.

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