Donna Close is a creative director and cultural strategist with more than 25 years’ experience as a cultural leader working across the private and public sector, developing strategy, training programmes and creative programmes all over the world. Donna has developed award-winning multi-disciplinary arts festivals, provided advice and support for hundreds of festival organisations and developed strategies for governments, local authorities and their partners to help them create the conditions for culture to thrive.
Donna headed up the Arts & Culture team at Brighton & Hove City Council for nine years where she developed cultural placemaking strategy and policy, led on the Public Art and Section 106 and developed new creative programmes such as the award-winning White Night / Nuit Blanche festival. Donna began her professional career at Zap Art programming and producing 32 events across the UK as part of the National Street Arts Festival amongst other events including the Matsuri 2001 for the Japanese Embassy. As a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Brighton Donna developed the projects XR Circus, 5G:XR Brighton Istanbul and Arts DRIVA which all explored artist engagement with tech and data. More recently Donna developed the award-winning 5G Festival for Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival – the world’s first 5G powered festival.
Donna has worked with FEI since 2016 becoming a director in 2020. Her projects include new creative concepts and business plans for Halloween in Ireland, Glasgow Winter Events and Scarborough Fair and leading on cultural strategies for cities, towns and regions across the Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Donna speaks regularly at festivals and conferences, particularly about the role of new technologies in festivals and cultural production. Donna is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, a qualified arts and culture researcher and PRINCE 2 practitioner.