signal's crew

Meet the core team and freelancers that provide the wealth of knowledge and skills here at Signal Film and Media

Kerry Kolbe
Loren Slater
Sophie Broadgate
Rachel Capovila
Karen Bird
Adam Pickford
Julia Parks
Joanna Roy
Phil Northcott
Jon Borgia
Kezz Turner
May Davies

The Co-Directors

On returning to the area after university, former school mates Kerry and Loren returned to their hometown in nearby Ulverston to pursue their dreams of working in film and to provide access and opportunities for likeminded people. Back in 2001, they set up the first version of what later became Signal Film and Media in Barrow, to offer activities for people who would otherwise be excluded from the creative and digital sector.

After a few different homes, Loren and Kerry raised over £2 million to transform the derelict Victorian ‘Cooke’s’ building on Abbey Road into the creative media centre, which opened in December 2011.

Since those early beginnings, Kerry has finished a full-time, two-year MA Screenwriting course at the National Film and Television School near London while Loren and her partner, Director Matt Palmer have recently finished their award-winning feature film & Netflix original CALIBRE (15).

They are both still incredibly active and passionate filmmakers within the industry whilst balancing their executive roles here at Signal.

The Freelancers

Sophie Broadgate: Youth Project Manager 

A Manchester-based filmmaker whose work spans across Narrative, Documentary and Art Film. She has seen her work screen at BFI Flare, Queer Lisboa and Palace International film festival. As a writer/director, Sophie is currently developing a slate of short films with the aim of moving into features. Independently she maintains a youtube channel (The Rainy Day Video) and her own production company, Pikaia Films. She is a passionate advocate of Queer rights & is also fluent in French. 

Rachel Capovila: Project Executive

A freelance artist & filmmaker from and based in Barrow, having worked within the performing and fine arts for 20 years and an experienced project manager within the community. Rach’s work is a cross-disciplinary practice exploring the relationship between memory and historic narrative, finding the links that connects us all.  Common themes across her projects are in heritage and the legacies within our communities that impacts upon our everyday lives. Rachel’s practice encompasses film, textile and installation.

Karen Bird: Youth Project Delivery / Trustee

A rare female director who created pop promos for ‘Godfathers of music video’ Godley and Creme in the late 80s, working with artists including John Lydon, Trent Reznor and Van Morrison. Karen returned north to hone her storytelling skills and pursue her passion for helping others develop their creativity after working for many years for the UK Film Council as a mentor on crew trainee schemes on productions such as Channel 4’s SHAMELESS and the BBC’s WATERLOO ROAD. Primarily a writer/director, Karen has overseen production of over 30 short films at Signal which have screened at festivals around the world and won numerous prizes. She is currently in post-production on her own latest short film.

Adam Pickford: Project Assistant / Editor

The youngest member of the Signal team, but by no means the least accomplished. An award-winning cinematographer with 15 years editing experience under his belt, Adam’s 2017 short was nominated for Student Widescreen Film of the Year and Best Drama at the Southern Royal Television Awards. He was also awarded runner up prize for the 2018 Bill Vinten Guild of Television Cameras University Award for his cinematography skills on The Fence, which has also since gone viral on Youtube, clocking up nearly 2 million views. He works across all strands here at Signal.

Julia Parks: Heritage Project Manager 

An artist encompassing film, animation and photography, Julia works in series of photographs and with projected 16mm film, exploring the different relationships between landscape, place and people, often focusing on the west-coast of Cumbria. She graduated from Central Saint Martin’s School of Art in 2015 and has since exhibited work in exhibitions and film festivals in the UK, Europe and Japan. In April 2018 she was also featured on BBC COUNTRYFILE where she demonstrated how to develop 16mm film using seaweed. 

Joanna Roy: Digital Art Project Manager 

Leading an ambitious digital arts programme strand here at Signal, Jo has brought a wealth of national and international talent from artists around the world here to Barrow as part of the project. Having worked previously at the Whitworth Museum in Manchester and for Abandon Normal Devices festival, she also lectures at Manchester School of Art doing research in Higher Education, Communication Design and Graphic Design. Jo also works as a freelance Graphic Designer and is responsible for Signal’s new branding and website overhaul.

Phil Northcott: Curator / Project Assistant

A curator and arts coordinator who has over 15 years experience working with national and international artists on multidisciplinary exhibitions and projects. He coordinated the first UK re-staging of Daniel Buren’s Voile Toile / Toile Voile in the Lake District and a significant exhibition for Cumbria of US Abstract Expressionism, Guston in Grasmere, for The Wordsworth Trust. He has a masters degree in Curation in Fine Art after studying at The University of West of England. Phil works on the development and delivery of our digital arts programme.

The Core Team

Jon Borgia: Technician / Project Coordinator

The person to fix all things here at Signal, able to support sound, lighting, digital media and more technical skills than you can shake a stick at. From exhibition curation and coding to website design and multimedia engineering regularly called upon, Jon’s background is in software design for the arts, media and computing and in events management, having coordinated artists gates at festivals & events for many years.

Kezz Turner: Marketing / Admin / Project Coordinator 

Recruiting across all strands here at Signal, she also helps support the project managers with day-to-day administration and coordinating delivery for the year-round programme of events. Having a background in visual arts and performance, she’s usually visible through a variety of client-facing roles. Kezz is also training to be an actor through the Jim Cartwright drama studio.

May Davies: Project Executive / Fundraiser

Originally a Project Manager here, May is now often found as a project executive and funding bid writer for many of the programmes here at Signal, working from her base in London. Primarily May is an art director and production designer for a variety of acclaimed award-winning films (Swallows and Amazons, Mea Culpa, Calibre) and tv series (People Just Do Nothin’, The Importance of Being Oscar). She is a BAFTA crew mentor who regularly supports students at the Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts. 

The Connected TalenT:

Emma Dalesman | Ben Salavati
Award-winning cinematographer Emma and editor/ director Ben have worked on a number of our BFI Film Academy productions over the last 7 years, bringing their wealth of experience in supporting our young filmmakers.
Samantha Harrie
Director and mentor Sam has supported our BFI Film Academy over the years in addition to leading delivery our Runner Ready project supporting young filmmakers into industry positions
Robert J Brown
Sound recordist and mentor Rob has worked with us during the BFI Film Academy and as part of our Cooke's Crew young filmmaker projects on foley, recording and booming.
Jack Coghill | Martin Salomonsen
Sound recordists, designers and composers, Jack and Martin have supported our BFI Film academy as mentors, tutors and during post-production in Sound for a number of years
Matt Palmer
Director Matt 'cut his teeth' here at Signal both as a sound designer and recordist, but also as a Director and mentor on a number of short film projects and has since returned as a guest speaker for our BFI course.
Sam Meech
Digital artist and tutor at the Manchester School of Art, Sam Meech has been a lead mentor during both years of our digital arts programme, leading the development of artists across the north west into new ventures.
Hwa Young Jung
Hwa Young is a multidisciplinary artist who has facilitated some fantastic and creative digital coding workshops for both our digital arts and youth projects here at Signal.

The Connected TalenT:
trustees & partners

Labour Councillor for Walney South and Nominated Official Spokesperson for Wildlife, Heritage and Culture for Barrow Borough Council. Helen also joined us in 2019 as trustee.
Head of Media Studies at Barrow Sixth Form College and a keen guitarist, Chris is one of our longest serving trustees and advocates amongst young people in the area.
Director of Programming at Lakeland Arts, managing Abbot Hall Art Gallery and the Museum of Lakeland Life in Kendal, and Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House in Bowness and the Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam & Stories. Helen joined us as a trustee in 2017.
Nicola joined us as a freelance fundraiser in April 2019 and has been supporting our overdue need for new kit and in building towards a plan for continuous youth involvement year-round.
Sam is currently supporting our fundraising efforts and development of high quality projects as a development consultant from her company S Millar Consulting, formerly Head of Development at Lakeland Arts & Development Manager at Heritage Lottery Fund
Kate is the Women's Officer for Westmorland and Lonsdale Labour with a back ground in art history & research. She has graciously joined us recently to support updating policies & procedures and with our youth projects as Team Assistant here at Signal
Wendy is a talented painter, ceramicist and community organiser who has supported Signal for years as a team assistant, mentor & tutor, often supporting our Signal Starters and Get Digital youth projects.