Imaginate is governed by a Board of Directors whose members come from a range of backgrounds including finance; government; media; arts, education, youth work and health. Councillors are appointed to the Board by the City of Edinburgh Council. The Board meets regularly and plays an active role in the planning of the organisation’s activity.
Lynne Halfpenny (Chair)
Lynne has over 35 years of experience in Scotland’s cultural sector. She recently retired as Director of Culture for the City of Edinburgh Council where she had responsibility for a staffing complement of c.140, cultural venues, the civic museums service, arts, festivals and events and public safety for the Council. She has been instrumental in supporting Edinburgh’s Festivals and the city’s cultural venues to ensure that they continue to thrive and function as local, national and international beacons of success. She has championed the development of cultural programmes that can be experienced and enjoyed by all of Edinburgh’s communities.
Diline has been volunteering and working in the third sector for a few years. She works at Multi Cultural Family Base supporting refugee families and children settling into Edinburgh and overcoming their traumas. Alongside with that, she works at ELREC helping the African community to live eco-friendly lives and doing their bit to sustain the environment. She’s also a board member of Hadeel/Palcrafts, supporting social enterprise art projects in Palestine. Diline has many passions and art is a one of them. She’s particularly fascinated about the healing power of art and how it brings people together from different nations and backgrounds. In her free time, she enjoys painting, writing, photography or growing things!
Daniel is the Manager of Unicef in Scotland. He is passionate about sustainable development, children's rights and the importance of culture. At Unicef, he works cross-departmentally as part of a growing team within Unicef UK to promote children's voices, to unlock resources for programming for children and to advocate and create change. His role requires the ability to adapt rapidly and flexibly to a broad range of subject-knowledge requirements and interdisciplinary activity to achieve better outcomes for children. He has previously worked as Development Officer at National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Youth Theatre.
Pauline was elected as an Edinburgh City Councillor for Southside Newington in May 2022, the ward where she resides. She has over thirty years’ experience in Education as Senior Teacher (Pastoral) and as theatre practitioner, including multiple participation in NT Shell Connections Programme, Channel 4 Shakespeare Schools’ Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe. She has an on-going interest in Applied Arts and Social Practice, Life-Long Learning and Youth Representation. Since being elected Councillor, she's been involved in the Housing, Homeless and Fair Work Committee, and the Licensing and Personnel Appeals Board. She is also on the board of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and James Gillespie’s High School Trust. Her skills-set includes, Presentation and Speech-Making, Communication, Group Facilitation, Negotiation and Project Management.
Serena has been working as a primary teacher for the past 10 years and is also the Expressive Arts Coordinator for her school. The arts have always been a passion of hers, having grown up performing in bands and orchestras. She was part of the first cohort for Imaginate's Teachers' Theatre Club and liked it so much that she went on to join the board.
Councillor McNeese-Mechan holds a Ph.D. from the School of Political & Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, and a dual honours bachelor's degree in Biology and Asian Studies. She worked for the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Chicago, and was then recruited for the inaugural Mombusho Teaching Programme in Osaka. After 10 years, Amy moved to Scotland to undertake her M.Sc, then joined the SNP and was elected as a trade union representative for PCS and later Unison. She worked in the civil service for Scottish Natural Heritage, before establishing a fair trade social enterprise working with women’s and community groups in Africa and Central America. Amy was first elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2022. As a city Baillie, she particularly enjoys taking part in citizenship ceremonies welcoming new Scots. She is a board member of the Edinburgh Science Festival and Capital Theatres Trust.
Zoë is a Chartered Accountant who has spent over 20 years working in financial and commercial roles with Diageo, RBS Group and AG Barr. During these roles Zoë worked with Global and UK Brands on financial planning and analysis in Scotland, Jamaica and Amsterdam. Most recently she was Head of Business Planning at Edinburgh Airport where she was responsible for the Operational short and long term capacity planning and analytics. At home with lots of numbers and highly analytical, she is a huge fan of the arts having grown up in Edinburgh seeing the benefits of theatre and dance for young people.
Laura Turney (Vice-Chair)
Laura is Head of Public Service Reform & Public Bodies Unit at Scottish Government. She’s also currently supporting the Scottish Government’s work on volunteering during the Pandemic. Laura has worked for the Scottish Government for almost 20 years and her career includes a number of roles that include, most recently, the reform of public services, but she has previously led work on cultural strategy and policy with a particular focus on inclusion and tackling inequalities.
Natalie Wilson is a theatre director and facilitator whose work explores the relationship between art, activism and personal agency. Previously she was Artistic Director/CEO of Theatre Centre, specialising in new writing and artist development, promoting theatre in schools and the role of the arts in children’s and young people’s learning and wellbeing. Natalie’s early career was with 7:84 Scotland before she became Associate Director at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme. She has continued to have a rich and varied freelance career working across many regional producing theatres, drama schools and independent producers. She is passionate about drama training, theatre in schools, LGBTQ+ representation and diversifying talent in the wider industry.