“As long as I was seeking and learning and find something new I was happy, I didn’t want to be making widgets.”
Brent Hansen (@bvhansen on Instagram) spent 19 years at MTV Europe where he rose from news producer to President of Creative and Editor-in-Chief of MTV Networks International. He was in the start up team of the European arm of the company and played an instrumental part in its meteoric growth.
Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, on the same day as Little Richard recorded ‘Tutti Frutti’ Brent’s childhood of listening to music and student days spent volunteering in anything to connected to music led to a job with Television New Zealand followed by a variety of roles at a pre-cursor to MTV; Radio with Pictures.
In his early 30s while planning a 6 month trip to London followed by returning to New Zealand via New York Brent reached out to various people working in the then relatively small area of music based TV in those cities. One of those people was MTVs Les Garland and although he had left the channel by that time, that letter led to Brent getting a job at the fledgling MTV Europe. This was the beginning of an almost two decade adventure working for and ultimately running arguably the most influential force in music on TV across Europe.
If you’re interested in the media industry and the extraordinary heights consistent seeking and curiosity can lead you to Brent’s story is for you.
In this wide ranging conversation we talk about:
Interviewing David Bowie, Lee Perry, Iggy Pop & Sonic Youth
Being told you’ll never make a career out of Rock & Roll
Learning through doing
The difference between US and UK companies
The vision of the United Sates of Europe
Regionalisation of MTV Europe
The intimacy of MTV Unplugged
Launching the MTV Europe Awards
Listening through your eyes and the increasing visual literacy of younger generations
Not taking luck for granted or ‘getting above your raising’
“I don’t feel like you need to have a PHD in dance to understand my work……inclusive, accessible, art, entertaining. It’s all of those things…..I want you to have fun if you come and experience a show or a workshop we’re putting on…..if we’re not having fun what’s the point.”
She works to empower, entertain and educate through dance theatre production experiences, coaching, dance based empowerment workshops and teaching in further and higher education.
The daughter of a Barrister and Labour Councillor Vicki was raised in a Nigerian household where dance was part of her upbringing. Aged 14 Vicki became a carer for her mother and younger sisters and dance became her escape. Over the following years Vicki turned this escape into a career which has so far spanned becoming a sponsored dance athlete with Nike, setting up and growing Uchenna dance, choreographing for the opening and closing ceremonies of two olympic games and creating commissions for several prestigious dance organisations in the UK.
In this wide ranging conversation we cover;
The importance of accessibility for audiences
Dance as an expression of joy
The power of a teacher allowing students to just be, accepting mistakes and highlighting improvement
Learning through doing what’s necessary
The value of having someone who believes in you
Training Vs Talent
Personal challenges informing professional practice
A brief history of House Music
Being baptised on the dance floor
Dance as a tool for empowering, educating and entertaining
Working on the mass movement at the London 2012 Olympic Games
The importance of taking risks and defining the worst that can happen
“If there was one bit of advice for anyone that wants to adopt a leadership position in the arts and culture sector I would say ‘Be yourself, with skill.”
David Micklem (@davidmicklem) is an independent producer, consultant and writer. During his early career he spent significant periods of time at Arts Council England as their Senior Theatre Strategy Officer followed by Battersea Arts Centre as Joint Artistic Director.
David now divides his time between;
David’s consulting portfolio includes Arts Council Wales (Resilience Programme), In Between Time (as an Associate), the British Council, FutureCity (Associate) and a range of theatres and companies.
Supporting people being creative
Both in his work directly with professional artists and as co-founder and chair of 64 Million Artists, an organisation based on the belief believe everyone is creative, and can make a positive change in the world through getting in touch with this.
David has written an original six-part drama for television and is currently writing a novel.
In this broad conversation we get into:
What working in a leadership role at BAC was like and why it became a second home.
Working with Punchdrunk on the ‘Masque of the Red Death’.
The power of storytelling in fundraising.
Why everyone should have a mid life crisis.
Taking risks, exploring creativity and a moment of epiphany in a coffee shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The importance of ‘doing good foyer’.
Creativity in a toothpaste factory.
The quote I’m struggling to recall around an hour into the recording and ultimately butcher is this one from Maya Angelou; “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
IETM (International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts) or ‘Informal European Theatre Meeting’