Huddersfield Media Centre names Brent Woods as new chief executive
Jul 27 2009 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
A CREATIVE Canadian who has worked with some of the biggest names in music is the new head of Huddersfield’s Media Centre.
Brent Woods has been appointed chief executive for the centre, based at Northumberland Street, in succession to Teo Greenstreet, who is leaving to pursue other interests.
And Mr Woods is keen to build on the centre’s work providing support for the town’s burgeoning creative industries – as well as promoting more collaboration with ‘traditional’ businesses.
Mr Woods, who lives in Sheffield with his wife, Kaye, and daughter Megan, has built up a wealth of experience in the creative industries over the past 20 years.
His most recent role was general manager of Litestructures Studios in South Kirkby – a stage production rehearsal space used by major stars including Kylie Minogue, Elton John, George Michael and the bands Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay.
From 1989 to 1995, Mr Woods was music co-ordinator at Toronto’s acclaimed Harbourfront Centre, where he was responsible for programming 350 performances a year, including 10 consecutive summer weekend music festivals and the Toronto edition of the WOMAD Festival.
In the early 1990s, he established Wide Music, a booking agency which handpicked up-and-coming UK musicians to tour Canada’s festival network.
After emigrating to the UK in 1995, Mr Woods became part of the team that re-launched the Sheffield International Documentary Festival in 1996 and became its director in 2002.
He won major plaudits for supporting young film-makers through programmes including Newcomer’s Day, Channel 4’s Sheffield Pitch and the Jerwood First Cuts Award.
The Media Centre provides a base for 130 creative businesses – employing about 300 people across four buildings in professions including web design, marketing, film and architecture.
Mr Woods said: “Having worked within the creative and digital sectors for many years, I have watched and admired the development of The Media Centre and the talented businesses based here.”
He said part of his role would be to maintain that momentum and ensure that the Media Centre not only supports creative firms, but “contributes to the fabric of the town.”
He said: “Huddersfield needs to be nurturing the best talent. Through such people, the Media Centre can be a magnet for world-class businesses.”
The Friendly Street building, opened by the Queen in 2007, was an example of how the Media Centre was at the cutting edge.
Despite the impact of the recession, negotiations were underway with several potential clients – including businesses keen to demonstrate their own environmental credentials by taking space in the ‘greenest’ office building in the region.
He said: “The new building adds another dimension to the architectural landscape of the town.
“For someone coming into Huddersfield it is an attractive, modern building; it is environmentally sustainable and it is unique in the world.”
Mr Woods said: “We want to make the Media Centre a destination. It is important that the centre is not seen as a closed space, but that it is accessible to the people of Huddersfield.”