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“Indepen-dance represents the cumulative hard work of a great many people…”
Karen Anderson, MBE

Karen Anderson, MBE

Artistic Director (She/Her)

Karen, the founder of Indepen-dance in 1996, is driven by the core principles of access, participation,
and integration. As the Artistic Director, she provides a robust and imaginative framework, playing a
pivotal role in the ongoing success and evolution of the company.

With a background in social work spanning over 13 years within Strathclyde Regional Council, Karen
developed her skills through various training programs focused on working with disabled individuals.
Utilising dance, creative movement, music, Touch Trust, and Watsu, she firmly believes in the
transformative power of these art forms, offering profound benefits to people of all abilities and ages,
fostering social inclusion, and empowering individuals to realise their artistic potential to the fullest.

Karen’s collaborative spirit shines through her close work with esteemed choreographers such as
Royston Maldoom, Wolfgang Stange, and Lucy Bennett, among others, ensuring that all participants
in Indepen-dance’s core activities are exposed to high-quality dance and creative movement
experiences. Her extensive artistic connections locally, nationally, and internationally have
significantly expanded the reach of Indepen-dance’s work, spanning across the UK, Ireland, Europe,
Canada, Paraguay, Australia, Colombia, and South Korea.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the arts and sciences, as well as her dedication to
charitable and welfare organisations and public service, Karen was honored with an MBE in 2021.
Notably, she spearheaded the inaugural International Inclusive Dance Festival in Scotland, “Gathered
Together,” in 2014, which has since become a biennial event, growing in reputation and significance
within the Scottish arts community

Claire Reda

Claire Reda

Dance Development Manager (She/Her)

Having danced since she was little, Claire holds a variety of BATD dance qualifications and a BA degree in Community Arts from Strathclyde University. Claire has a wealth of experience of working in the arts as a freelancer before and during her time when she joined Indepen-dance on placement in 2003 and became a full time member of staff in 2005.

She then progressed to Dance Development Manager in 2009, where she manages the development of Indepen-dance’s creative programme and its many staff and freelancers. She enjoys the ethos of the Indepen-dance and has seen the company grow and develop over the years. Claire still enjoys delivering classes and meeting all the members when she can get out to classes.

She now holds a qualification in management and mental health first aid. She strives to support
wellbeing and the development of her team throughout the programmes she delivers.
Claire enjoys working closely with many schools and establishments to support a creative outlet for
all.

She enjoys the ethos of the company and has seen the company grow and evolve over the length of
her employment.
She has been a support and driver with change and building on the new developments within the
organisation.

Claire enjoys delivering classes, being creative and meeting all the members when she can get out
to classes. She has a passion for the arts and developing artists who maybe excluded from
accessing or creating work.

Carly Flannery

Carly Flannery

HR & Admin Manager (She/Her)

Carly has fulfilled her duties as the HR Manager at Indepen-dance since 2018, leading the Admin
team and overseeing all HR responsibilities within the organisation. Currently pursuing her SQV L7
in Management.

Carly is dedicated to advancing her managerial skills as well as expanding her knowledge in HR and
Employment Law. She encourages a vibrant, inclusive and strong working environment while
maintaining efficiency and structure.

Shaun McVean

Shaun McVean

Office & Studio Manager (He/Him)

Shaun joined Indepen-dance in 2018 as Communications Administrator. He completed a post
graduate degree in Popular Music studies in 2016 and has worked in the third sector ever since.
Progressing into his current role in 2022, he is responsible for overseeing the new Indepen-dance
Studio space and Office in Bridgeton, responsible for all aspects of its health and safety and
bookings.

In addition to this, Shaun is the first point of contact for the organisation and helps members old and
new access classes.

Tosia Bargielowska Johnsen

Tosia Bargielowska Johnsen

Dance Access Worker (She/Her)

Tosia is a Polish-Norwegian movement artist, producer and facilitator with a degree in MA Philosophy and MFA Contemporary Art Practice from The University of Edinburgh. In her movement practice, Tosia explores the concept of togetherness and rhythm within the body, often through participatory movement happenings and text-based props. She is a certified instructor in a flavoursome mix of Latin American dances, as well as Body Balance, a combination of yoga, tai chi and pilates, with experience teaching in Scotland and Brazil. On top of her performance history at e.g. The Fruitmarket Gallery (Edinburgh) or Hosek Contemporary (Berlin), she worked as a performer for Jacqueline Donachie (Advice Bar) in 2017/18 and Myriam Lefkowitz (Walk, Hands, Eyes) in 2019/2020. She joined Indepen-dance in 2021, delighted to be able to share her love for movement and to help make dance more inclusive. 

Roisin Reid

Roisin Reid

Finance Lead (She/Her)

Roisin joined Indepen-dance in 2020. She is a Chartered Accountant with management and financial
accounting experience in practice, utilities industry and has lectured in further education. She enjoys
working in this positive and diverse organisation.

Bruce McLean

Bruce McLean

Admin Assistant (He/Him)

Bruce joined Indepen-dance in 2020 in an attempt to help aid Shaun with his administrative duties. Over the years, Bruce’s jobs have developed from handling registers to developing and maintaining the Indepen-dance website.

Bruce’s time at Glasgow Caledonian University studying Computer Science has proved beneficial for this kind of work and as such has taken a larger role in helping Indepen-dance with a lot of their technological issues and requests.

Julie Spence

Julie Spence

Dance Tutor/Dance Artist (She/Her)

Julie started working with Indepen-dance in February 2015, initially as Creative Dance Assistant. She gained an HND in Professional Stage Dance from Stow College, progressing to UWS in 2014 for a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre where she created a dance piece using sleep shields for her final exam.
In 2019 Julie progressed to the role of Dance Worker, where she leads many of the weekly core classes. Julie has also performed as part of IND4, touring with the company to Colombia with Four Go Wild In Wellies in 2019 and most recently working with the newly formed Small Ensemble on a new piece of work choreographed by Eve Mutso, premiering in 2020.

Marco Esposito

Marco Esposito

Class Administration Assistant (He/Him)

Marco joined Indepen-dance in 2012, and is the friendly and approachable first point of contact at our many classes across Glasgow every week, including the popular Dance Your Socks Off at Tramway and the Adult classes at Maryhill.
Marco has a varied role, managing membership forms, block bookings and class registers. Marco describes Indepen-dance as ‘the best job he’s ever had’, and loves the person centred and inclusive attitude of the company.

Sean Harrigan

Sean Harrigan

Dance Assistant/Dance Artist (He/Him)

Sean started with Indepen-dance when he was just 13 years old, dancing with the Young 1’z performance company. He volunteered supporting the core classes before being appointed as Creative Dance Assistant in 2015 where he is a mainstay of the programme which supports hundreds of members every week. He has had the opportunity over the years to perform and take part in our residencies with the performing companies.
Sean enjoys the social side of Indepen-dance, and still loves to dance! Outwith Indepen-dance. Sean enjoys swimming, supporting Partick Thistle and spending time with his brothers.

Lisa Malcolm

Lisa Malcolm

Dance Assistant (She/Her)

Lisa started started working for Indepen-dance in 2014. Her job involves assisting the Dance Leaders in the core weekly programme classes, supporting the members and setting up the spaces with props. She has also had the opportunity to be part of the residencies and performances over the years.

Lisa loves her job because she enjoys working with people, ensuring they are supported and welcomed, as well as the ‘family atmosphere’ of the sessions.

Holly Hunter

Holly Hunter

Dance Tutor/Dance Artist (She/Her)

Bio coming soon!

Neil Price

Neil Price

Dance Assistant/Dance Artist (He/Him)

Neil started working with Indepen-dance in 2009 to deliver workshops for the weekly core programme. He joined Indepen-dance 4 in 2013 and has now worked with many well known choreographers, touring nationally and internationally. In 2017, Neil was awarded “Best Dance Performer in Scotland”  by the Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards. This gave him the confidence and inspiration to create his own choreography. With the support of his uncle, Frank McConnell – Artistic Director of Plan B, Neil performed his first choreographic solo – Tantalus in March 2019;  described as ”an intensely personal statement of aspiration and achievement in the face of pitfalls” and described the challenges that a young man with Downs Syndrome may encounter in life.

Jack Mcelroy

Jack Mcelroy

Volunteer Coordinator (He/Him)

A volunteer himself, Jack’s background is in the arts – exhibiting, curating exhibitions and facilitating arts workshops across Glasgow. He joins us from his position at Volunteer Glasgow, where he’s been supporting third sector organisations on all matters volunteering. We’re excited that Jack will now be developing our volunteer programme to make it the best it can be for our superstar volunteers.
Iris Mellor

Iris Mellor

Evaluation and Fundraising Officer (She/Her)

Iris joined Indepen-dance in 2023. She has recently graduated from the University of Glasgow with an undergraduate degree in Politics and so began at Indepen-dance as an Evaluation and Monitoring intern in association with the University. She is now an employee and fundraising has been added to her role. She has a passion for the third sector and social change and is delighted to be working with Indepen-dance.

Freelance Team

Liz Boyd

Liz Boyd

Freelance Dance Worker & Member Support (She/Her)

Liz has been with Indepen-dance since the  company’s beginnings in 1996, initially supporting day services to participate in classes. Liz is a qualified Touch Trust Leader and also supports members overcome any obstacles to participation in the classes. Liz regards Indepen-dance as an intrinsic part of her life, and holds the company’s ethos and values dear

Wils McAslan

Wils McAslan

Freelance Dance Worker (He/Him)

Wils has been with Indepen-dance for more than 13 years; initially starting out as Dance Assistant and progressing his current role as one of the company’s key tutors.
Wils has performed with Young 1’z, Adult and Adult Performance Company, choreographed work and accompanied Indepen-dance to Germany, London, Milan and Belfast, to name a few. Though his work with Indepen-dance has taken him far and wide, his heart very much belongs to Glasgow and the core weekly classes that he delivers.

Katrina Caldwell

Katrina Caldwell

Freelance Dance Worker (She/Her)

George Adams

George Adams

Freelance Mentor (He/Him)

George is a dancer, choreographer and therapist. Working in theatre for over 25 years, he has built up an extensive catalogue of experience, collaborating with numerous individuals and companies both in the UK and internationally. George works as an advanced Yoga and Ayurveda practitioner, certified by the University of Pune, India. He is also a qualified craniosacral therapist and a senior member of the Royal Society of Medicine. George holds a post graduate degree in Dance Movement psychotherapy with research specialising in pain and physical development.
Alongside Helen Gould, George established LPM Dance Theatre in Lancashire in 2012 and has worked as Associate Artistic Director for Indepen-dance since 2016, facilitating IND4 and acting as choreographic mentor for Adam Sloan and Lisa Simpson.

Aya Kobayashi

Aya Kobayashi

Freelance Dance Artist and Mentor (She/Her)

Born in Japan, Aya is an independent dance artist currently based in Glasgow. She teaches, performs and creates her own work with various companies and communities. Aya has worked with choreographers including Yael Flexer, Rosemary Lee, Charlie Morrissey and Gecko Theatre. She practices improvisational performances and is a member of Collective Endeavours. Aya works extensively with inclusive and intergenerational groups, was the resident choreographer for Anjali Dance Company (Oxfordshire) for 9 years and gained range of teaching and choreographic work. She is currently working as an associate artist for Barrowland Ballet and Tricky Hats Production. Aya’s work has been presented in Tate, The Place, Royal Festival Hall, Northern Ballet,Tramway Gallery, Paralympics 2012 torch relay ceremony, Cairo, Madrid, Tokyo and Queretaro in Mexico. 

Other Freelancers

Other Freelancers

Katie Miller (She/Her)

Board of Directors

Indepen-dance is governed by a board of directors. We currently have 6 board members who meet on a quarterly basis throughout the year. Our current board members are:

Mairi Brackenridge

Mairi Brackenridge

Chair (She/Her)

Mairi worked in social work since obtaining her degree in 1976. As a qualified social worker she
worked initially in Glasgow mainly in the field of child and family social work. In 1996 she moved to
South Lanarkshire and held a variety of posts culminating in the post of Head of Adult and Justice
Services, with responsibility for a range of adult services including substance misuse, mental
health, disability and justice services. She took early retirement in 2009.

In her professional life she was responsible for financial, strategic and risk management and can
offer these skills. She understands how government works both at local and national level and how
to engage effectively with stakeholders. Mairi has operational knowledge of social care services and
is up to date with adult and child protection practice.

Mairi remains committed to supporting individual’s disadvantaged by social and economic
circumstances and since retirement has maintained that interest. Indepen-dance offers the
opportunity to combine my love of dance with promoting choices for people with disability to
participate in integrated activities in the community, in some instances fulfilling real opportunities to
fulfil their potential.

Irene Tweedie

Irene Tweedie

Treasurer (She/Her)

After 12 years as Head of Finance, Property and Business Affairs, Irene left BBC Scotland in July
2006. Educated at Stirling University, Irene is a mathematics graduate who taught in secondary
schools before moving to industry and training as a Chartered Management Accountant. She
gained broad experience working in London in the contracting and oil exploration industries then
returned to Scotland to work in silicon glen before spending 6 years with Price Waterhouse as a
management consultant.

As part of BBC Scotland’s Board, Irene has a proven track record in strategic planning and building
and leading teams. The most notable initiatives which she was involved with were the BBC’s
response to Devolution and BBC Scotland’s Property strategy which has resulted in the new
Headquarters building at Pacific Quay.

Irene lives in Bothwell.

Bejal Desai

Bejal Desai

(She/Her)

Bejal works in theatre as a project manager/producer and currently works at the National Theatre of Scotland. After having studied English Literature and French at the University of Edinburgh, Bejal began her journey with Indepen-dance as the office administrator. Whilst working at Indepen-dance, Bejal fell in love with the team, the members and the unparalleled work that the organisation does. She is passionate about the arts as a tool for social change, inclusion and individual expression, and is thrilled to continue being part of an organisation which so comprehensively fulfils these criteria.

David Flavell

David Flavell

(He/Him)

David joined as a board member in 2017.

He is a financial adviser based in Southside of Glasgow. He has worked in finance for small
businesses and large corporations for over 30 years and offers assistance at board level with this
experience but also through experience of being a parent to Cameron who has Autism and Special
Needs and has been an active and enthusiastic member of Indepen-Dance for over 15 years.

David enjoys being able to help out with board participation and attends all meetings where
possible and particularly enjoys going to Indepen-dance events such as Gathered Together on a
regular basis.

Susan Levy

Susan Levy

(She/Her)

Dr Susan Levy is Associate Dean International, and Senior Lecturer in Social Work, in the School of
Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, University of Dundee, UK. She graduated from the London
School of Contemporary Dance, and later went on to study at the University of St Andrews,
completing an MA (Hons) and PhD. She has been based in Social Work at the University of Dundee
since 2008.

During her time at the University of Dundee, she’s held several senior leadership roles. She works
internationally, both as Associate Dean, and through her research. Susan collaborates with
colleagues in a number of countries on projects covering disability, inclusion, international social
work, and the use of the arts and creativity for social change and communicating lived experiences.

Clare Moscardini

Clare Moscardini

(She/Her)

Clare is a retired solicitor. Educated at Glasgow University, she spent a considerable number of
years in the private sector , latterly as a law firm partner , before moving to the public sector.

Her professional responsibilities included the provision of legal advice (and training) on property and
contract law , public procurement equalities legislation ,GDPR and Freedom of Information and
public sector governance. She was a District Court Assessor for a number of years.

She has a longstanding interest in the arts and in issues relating to inclusion and social justice. Her
involvement with Indepen-dance affords her the opportunity to pursue both these areas of interest.

Eve Mutso

Eve Mutso

(She/Her)

Eve Mutso is a freelance dancer & choreographer and former Principal Dancer of Scottish Ballet,
Scotland’s national dance company. She has been a board member of Indepen-dance, since 2017.

Eve was born in Tallinn, Estonia and graduated from Tallinn Ballet School in 1999, going on to join
Estonian National Ballet. She returned to Tallinn in 2011 as Guest Principal to dance the title role in
MacMillan’s Manon.

In 2015 she was nominated by the Critics Circle for the National Dance Award for Outstanding Female
Performance (Classical). She had previously been nominated for Best Female Dancer in 2005 and
2013.

She recently collaborated with artist/poet Rhona Warwick Paterson for 3 new commissioned works
for Fruitmarket in Edinburgh and created new work ENTWINED for Indepen-dance’ national and
international touring.

Eve is currently guest lecturer at Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Baltic Film, Media and
Arts School & at MUBA (The Tallinn Music and Ballet School) and has been invited to create
choreography/movement direction for different productions at Tallinn City Theatre, Estonian Drama
Theatre, Estonian National Opera and Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Dr. Nancy Lombard

Dr. Nancy Lombard

(She/Her)

Nancy Lombard is a Professor in Sociology and Social Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University. Her
research findings have led to policy change and investment in gender equality programmes across
health, education and the voluntary sector.

Most recently Nancy has completed work funded by the Scottish Government exploring women’s
experiences of the criminal justice system when reporting domestic abuse and stalking. With the
Scottish Sentencing Council, she is investigating victim-survivor perspectives on the sentencing of
domestic abuse offenders. Nancy currently co-leads a large Horizon 2020 project across nine
countries in Europe looking at Innovative Solutions to Eliminate Domestic Abuse.

She has also received funding from the Global Challenges Fund to look at the impact of Covid-19
upon disabled people in Bogata and Glasgow and the positive role provided by dance.
Nancy is also the parent of a dancer who attends our Young1’z youth class.

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