The Staff

Selina McGonagle - Director

Selina began her career as a dancer, graduating from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance with a Performing Arts (Dance) Degree in 1999. She then went on to perform and deliver dance in education and community setting across Yorkshire and the North, initially though an apprenticeship role with TIN Arts and later progressing into management, working with children, young people and adults with a focus on inclusive practice and making dance accessible to all. In 2004, she became Education and Community Manager at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and established the Centre for Advanced Training, the first pre-vocational contemporary dance training centre outside of London. In 2007 she became Director of Learning at Northern Ballet, a post she held for 8 years, creating long term audience development strategies, including ‘Short Ballets for Small People’, and establishing the importance of continually engaging new audiences within the organisation. She joined the Geraldine Connor Foundation as Director in 2016.

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Hannah Finnimore - Communications Officer

Hannah graduated from the University of Surrey in July 2020 with a BA in Dance, training in styles incluHannah seatedding bharatnatyam, contemporary African and release.

Throughout her studies she performed and choreographed as part of the competitive Dance Squad teams and student led dance company, Actual Size.

During her degree she worked with the Hofesh Shechter Company, including her involvement with the East Wall project 'Storm The Tower', HSC Professional Intensives and Hastings Reimagined.

Since graduating, she has worked in fundraising for the arts organisation Fabula Collective, supporting their Associate Artists and professional development courses.

Since moving to the North, Hannah is keen to support opportunities locally for aspiring and emerging artists. She joined the Geraldine Connor Foundation as Communications Officer in 2021.

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Umi Mistry - Administrator

Umi joined the Geraldine Connor Foundation as Company Administrator is 2015 and is responsible for all the financial and administrative dealings of the Foundation. She also works part-time as a freelance administrator for another arts charity, Alchemy Anew.

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Jawara Blanchette - Assistant Producer

Jawara's journey into Performing Arts started at the age of 8 years old as a member of Leeds Young Author’s Poetry Group. This gave him the opportunity to perform all over the country and perform in some amazing venues.  It was soon realised that he had a talent for hosting events and was asked to host the Leeds West Indian Carnival Prince and Princess show for a number of years and the local poetry slam events. 

Throughout his journey as a performer he has worked with some amazing groups such as Life Force Productions, Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse, Compass Performing Arts, and was given the opportunity to be the youngest member of the first ever Geraldine Connor Foundation Project when he was 13 years old which helped solidify his love for the creative arts even further.

He has written, produced and mentored for individuals and continues to write and produce for his own individual projects. We are so excited to have him onboard as part of the Kickstart Scheme.