Makefest Founder Denise Jones Receives British Empire Medal

It’s been a while hasn’t it? We shouldn’t have left you, without a strong rhyme to step to, and so on and so forth. Well today I am glad to be back to announce some amazing news. We’re all very proud here at MakeFest Manor because one of our own has been honoured by the Queen, not the band, the actual monarch… I know right?

One of the original Liverpool MakeFest founders Denise Jones has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her many public services and we couldn’t be happier for her. Go Denise! I don’t know if this means we have to bow or curtsey now. I will check the protocol. One thing is for sure, I would wear that medal everywhere. On the bus, in the queue for lunch, wherever. “Oh this old thing… I don’t like to talk about it” hehehe 🙂

An Auspicious Letter

Denise has worked for over 30 years in the community to make knowledge and training accessible through the power of libraries. After spending her early years in many libraries across the region, in 1994 she was tasked with establishing a library at the Blackburne House Centre For Women in Liverpool, a job she tackled with typical gusto. In 1996 she project managed the creation of the first newly built library in the service for 12 years at Breck Road in Anfield. An area facing great deprivation and many social challenges. The front line for public services. Straight after this she became senior library manager for Walton Prison and worked with the education department on skills and literacy programmes for inmates and staff alike.

I will skip forward a little here because quite frankly Denise has done so many amazing things we don’t have time to list them all. She needs an IMDB page!

Denise Jones with Star Wars droid R2D2
Denise even knows R2D2

In 2014 the library service restructure meant an appointment to the more senior role of Development Manager, developing and delivering new initiatives across a range of services in the region. Light Night has become a big feature of the library programme under Denise’ guidance. An evening of performances, art installations and activities within Central Library which attracted 4000 people in 2019. Along with the Get It Loud In Libraries initiative, where musicians and bands play gigs in libraries. Turning the traditional image of boring, stuffy libraries right on it’s head.

Theatre performance and touring shows through partnerships with the Unity Theatre, 20 Stories High, Luma creations, Rubbish Shakespeare Company and the Empire Theatre. Brouhaha International Festival – 3 years of a multinational music and performance festival.

A group shot of the LivMF18 crew stood in the foyer of the library
Team MakeFest 2018 (Denise front left with flowers)

From our point of view of course we have to mention the creation of Liverpool MakeFest with fellow founders Mark Feltham and Caroline Keep. An event which, as you can see from this site, has continued to grow and reach thousands of budding makers and artists over the last 5 years.

Denise now leads as service representative for the British Library Living Knowledge Network, a network of UK libraries all working together to extend the reach of cultural and information offers in public libraries. She is also the health development lead for the service and is working on a partnership project for 2020 to focus on Men’s mental health outcomes and social prescribing, and will be bidding into the Carnegie Engaging Libraries fund.

Denise can now rock one of these bad boys

Phew! So in short, Denise is ace and we’re glad that Liz agrees too. MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to Denise from all the Liverpool MakeFest. Richly deserved (and some might say overdue) recognition for someone who does so much to ensure public services reach those who need them most.

Much love,

Team MakeFest

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