Denise Langridge Mellion
About Denise Langridge Mellion
I am an organiser who understands administration as a process to support action. I have worked internationally throughout my career with professional and personal commitment to social justice, access, formal and informal education; supporting artists and the development of arts institutions alike.
I studied German and History at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London and then Arts Management at City University. I am skilled in the facilitation of participatory arts practice and especially interested in developing practice with culturally diverse groups, working in an international context to promote integration.
Since 2015 I have been working at Academy Valand as a guest teacher in Professional Development (part of the MFA: Fine Art) and now in my role as Projekt Ledare för Publik Versamhet supporting the Academy in further developing diversity and equality practices and widening participation.
I manage a number of strategic partnerships with key partners and arts institutions and with local and regional NGO’s (Red Cross, Individuell Människohjälp, Caritas and Save the Children) and actively support student outreach initiatives. Recent projects have included photographic workshops with newly arrived asylum seekers, a subsequent exhibition at one of the local refugee camps, and a lantern procession “River of Light” with 150 young people including Valand students as part of 150th year’s celebration of Valand Academy and UN World Day of Social Justice. It is now standard practice for Valand to conduct tours of exhibitions in other languages (Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Romanian etc.).
Before moving to Sweden in 2013, I was interim Head of Education and Learning at the influential Paul Hamlyn Foundation, UK (PHF) where one of my key achievements was to establish and deliver the second phase of ”What Works? Student Retention and Success Programme” in partnership with the Higher Education Academy. Previously I worked for many years as a freelance consultant in sustaining and supporting change processes in arts organisations including for: Engage; Children’s Music Workshop; Arts Council England; Aldeburgh Productions Ltd; Creative Partnerships; Crying Out Loud and De Nederlandse Opera.
Sir Simon Rattle invited me to research, set up, develop and manage the inaugral outreach programme for the Berlin Philharmonic. This led to me being the first woman appointed to the executive of the BP. The film “Rhythm is it!”, one education project in Berlin, has screened all over Europe, and I have been invited to speak at several such events, including in Sweden. Further work in Germany included research and a report for the Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet, Essen as preparation for Cultural Region 2010 and as an advisor to the Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart, in particular supporting the creation of a new initiative called “Kunst-stück”.
In theatre management, I was Head of Administration for the Leicester Haymarket and in music education, Education Administrator for the London Sinfonietta. I held senior posts in public arts funding for the Arts Council England for almost 10 years. I set up and managed a British Council funded project in the newly post-apartheid South Africa, running creative arts projects in various townships and the first multicultural carnival in Durban to coincide with a Royal visit.
I have recently been elected to serve on the Board of the Bergen Nasjonale Opera, Norway from 2016-2018.