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Worker Bee: meet Lucy Dusgate, the Digital Producer of Quays Culture & The Lowry

Lucy Dusgate grew up in High Peak. After many years travelling the globe and building a career in creative digital programming, she now sources and commissions internationally acclaimed artists working in art and technology.

Quays Culture is the artistic team behind the large scale art events at Salford Quays and MediaCityUK, one of the fastest developing centres for creative media in the UK. Their Outdoor Programme introduces audiences to new and exciting art inspired by digital technology and is free to the public. The Lowry, where Lucy and her small team are based, is part of this creative hub.

Coming up this summer as part of Quays Festival are four large sculptures at MediaCityUK created on the subject of endangered animals, with night time projections and movement giving a nocturnal digital version. In May, The Lowry will transform its overhead theatre space with Marshmallow Laser Feast, whilst Lightwaves 2017, the UK’s biggest light festival, promises to be even bigger than last year.

What got you started in your field of work?

I was a bit hit and miss at school but always enjoyed art. I started out in photography and and worked at the ICA cinema, moving into programming at Battersea Arts Centre. I’ve always been a bit of a technology geek and followed the upward curve that devices and the internet have played in the way art has developed.

Who have been the biggest influences on your work?

Different artists I’ve worked with always inspire me but there are too many to mention. And a good boss. Two in particular have given me the space to develop ideas and seen the potential of what we can achieve bringing in new streams of work – Julia Fawcett (CEO The Lowry) and Lyn Goleby (Co-Founder Picturehouse Cinemas).

What is your proudest achievement so far?

Achieving the outdoor programme of Quays Culture over the past five years as it’s so difficult to work outdoors. With large scale outdoor commissions the entire infrastructure is so complex as there’s nothing to start with and every project starts from scratch. It’s a learning curve each time.

What does your typical day involve?

I’m based here at The Lowry and work office hours most days, splitting my time between my two roles of creative producer at Quays Culture and digital programmer at The Lowry. There’s an awful lot of administration. I travel extensively, eight times last year, going to conferences and seeing new artists, and we spend a lot of time on Skype to national and international artists and suppliers. My days can be over 15 hours long when I’m away or when there’s a big event on here.

And how do you relax on your days off?

I’m very sociable and love going out with my friends and family, to the theatre and galleries. I love my job. But away from that I like being outside, walking my two dogs and working on my allotment.

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

Persistance. Some of the stuff we’ve done was not possible a few years ago. If you keep going a ‘yes’ approach will get you there. That and keeping a calm head and taking a deep breath.

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

I have no idea as I had no career plan. There was no formal structure to where I am now. I just followed the technology. But I love making things happen and have always been creative so maybe still a producer of feature films? It wouldn’t be that dissimilar – just on a different scale.

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear.

I love motorbikes and have always owned one since my Dad got me my first moped when I was 13. I’ve always enjoyed the freedom, that feeling of the wind blowing through your hair. Put me on a motorbike and I’m happy as Larry.

Red or Blue?

Red, obviously.

Name your three favourite places in Manchester?

Manchester Aquatics Centre. I swim two to three times a week and even delve into the Quays in summer. Any quiet cinema during the afternoon. I love it when there’s only a couple of you in there. And Fletcher Moss Botanical garden, a historical garden with lots of green space.

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

A really nice park in the middle of town.

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

The architecture of industrial Manchester and, having lived in other cities, I love the friendliness of the people. They stop and say hello.

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