MK Skate is led by local MK skaters and supported by a team of professional skate journalists and cultural specialists.
Neil Bowen is an award-winning creative director and has run London based creative studio Zip Design for the last 10 years. He trained in graphic and media design at both Arts University Bournemouth and The London College of Communication (UAL). Since the late 1990’s his career has been rooted in design for music, creating iconic work for a variety of artists including: Aretha Franklin, Black Sabbath, U2, Groove Armada, Depeche Mode, Paul van Dyk, McFly, Busted and so many more. His passion for producing imaginative ideas and creative work has given him opportunities to work with a wide spectrum of clients from The United Nations, UNESCO, to globally iconic brands such as Aston Martin, Braun, MTV, Swatch and Paul Smith. His artwork has been featured in a number of publications and venues all over the world. Neil is still an active part of the Milton Keynes skate community and is delighted to bring his experience to this project. Website: zipdesign.co.uk
Originally from West Yorkshire, Ryan Gray can currently be found residing in Towcester, has been skateboarding for over two decades and is a part owner of the UK board brand The National Skateboard Co. He spent eleven years working for Sidewalk Skateboarding Magazine, serving as the title’s assistant editor, chief video content producer and website editor. Alongside this, he has produced full length videos such as Baghead Flats and In Progress with fellow MK Skate contributor Ben Powell, Albion with Dane Crook and Kevin Parrott, and most recently he was solely responsible for the production of The National Skateboard Co’s debut untitled DVD offering. Since relocating to Northamptonshire in 2017, Ryan has released two locally focused online videos – Maternity Leave featuring Zeta Rush, and Middelton Kaynes, featuring the likes of Sean Smith, Rob Selley, Josh Gregory, Jamie Staples, Mark Stern and more.
Born in Bletchley, James played an important role in MK skateboarding in the 1980’s and 1990’s. He now lives and works in London and Glasgow. His work is a transcription of found materials incorporating classical paintings, as well as 1970’s subway art photographs and images deriving from them. He bends and moulds forms that most appeal to his eye, playing with linking Rubens and De Kooning to tagging/graffiti through the aesthetics of the work creating explosions of energy. James’ work has been exhibited all over the world, including: Artmossphere, Russian Art Biennale, Moscow 2018; In Memoriam – Francesca Lowe, The Old Truman Brewery, London 2017; Burning Candy Ten Years Leeds College of Art, (also curated by James Jessop) 2017; Kong Mania Horrific Gallery London 2016; Street Art Against Slavery with Sotheby’s auction for Anti-Slavery International, Village Underground 2012; and Primary Flight – the world’s largest, site specific street level mural installation, Miami 2010.
Jen is a freelance curator and project manager, specialising in community and contemporary collecting. She has worked in roles including Senior Curator of Contemporary History at the Museum of London, and Audience Engagement Manager at the Science Museum, before going freelance in 2015. She has since curated exhibitions with community organisations, local history museums and national collections, on subjects ranging from punk to working class rowing, disability rights to tattoo culture. Jen is passionate about making museums and heritage sites engaging and accessible for people from all backgrounds and as such is well experienced in collaborative practice. She co-edited a book, ‘Museum Participation: New Directions for Audience Collaboration’ in 2015 and published a toolkit in 2019 for museum peers who are looking at conducting their own contemporary collecting. Website: jenkavanagh.com @_jen_kavanagh
Lindsay Knight was raised in Milton Keynes and is now a freelance digital filmmaker based in London. His job involves partnering with young people, vulnerable groups, aficionados and the elderly to project their voices on a wide variety of subjects, including; faith, migration, race, health, war and perfect fried chicken. Lindsay’s work has won various awards, including a BAFTA, a Promax Gold medal, the Unicef film award and the 2012 Adobe Youth Voices award for best documentary. Website: humanstories.co.uk
Caterina is an experienced arts and heritage programmer and producer, most recently working with Milton Keynes creating their European Capital of Culture bid. During 2015, with partners across the UK, she ran a large-scale cultural programme for the Houses of Parliament to mark the anniversaries of Magna Carta and the Montfort Parliament, designed to increase engagement in and understanding of democratic heritage. More recently, for the House of Commons, she managed an artist-in-residency programme to commemorate the 1968 Race Relations Act and established an outdoor arts programme for the City of London. For the London 2012 Games, she was the Creative Programmer for the Cultural Olympiad in the south east of England.
An avid skateboarder since the early 1980’s, after a stint running the original Rollersnakes skateboard store in Nottingham during the early 1990’s, Ben landed a job as the assistant editor of newly established UK skateboard magazine Sidewalk Surfer in 1997. After a few years in that role, Ben was appointed as the editor-in-chief of Sidewalk where he stayed until the magazine’s dissolution in 2018. Alongside his work for Sidewalk, Ben has helped to film numerous celebrated UK skate films over the last three decades including Playing Fields, the Viewfinder series and Baghead Flats, as well as filming and producing the two official Sidewalk videos In Motion and In Progress alongside Neil Chester and Ryan Gray. Since moving on from his role as Sidewalk editor, Ben has taken up various jobs within the education sector and still regularly contributes to a variety of skate media outlets including Free and Vague skate magazines, Slam City Skates and various others.
Websites: sidewalkmag.com , ukskateforum.co.uk
Growing up in the concrete mecca of Milton Keynes, Leo Sharp spent his 20’s and 30’s travelling around the world’s grimiest skate spots. A good proportion of his double decade spanning career in skate photography was spent working as Photo Editor at the UK’s leading skate magazine: Sidewalk. His work has also been published in many other magazines throughout the world including Thrasher, Transworld, Skateboarder, Free, Grey, Sugar, Kingpin, Color, Concrete, Manual, Slam, The Skateboarders Journal, The Journal, Monster, North, Vague, A Brief Glance and many more. Leo has more recently worked as a Lecturer in Photography at Falmouth University, and exhibited in a number of exhibitions, most notably: 2019 Sidewalk Surfer – Skateboard Photography in Cornwall at Falmouth Art Gallery; 2015 Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France; 2010 Skate, Surf, Snow Photo, Moscow; and 2009 Solo exhibition: 15 years of UK skate photography – Bristol, Manchester, London.
Website: leosharp.uk @sharphoto
Following his early skateboard photography being printed in the UK’s Read and Destroy and Skateboard! magazines, Wig was appointed the very first photo editor at Sidewalk Surfer magazine and led the photo department there through its rebranding to simply Sidewalk, and into the 21st century. Simultaneously, Wig was Senior Photographer at California’s Transworld Skateboarding magazine. A prolific contributor to many other skateboard titles around the world throughout the 1990’s and subsequent 2000’s boom, Wig went on to turn his attention to the world of commercial photography. By popular demand he’s now shooting skateboarding again, contributing to Thrasher and Grey Skateboard magazines and is enjoying digging into the archive for many upcoming projects.
Website: wigworland.com @wigworland
Special thanks to Professor Iain Borden, Men in Sheds for the bespoke furniture for this exhibition and to The Winter Night Shelter for letting us use The Buszy.
Project partners: Living Archive Milton Keynes, Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies; Bletchley Park