Michelle Rocha

Michelle is the Head of Touring at the Manchester International Festival (UK). Previously, she was the Producer (Music and Outdoor) at West Kowloon Cultural District (HK) and has worked at the Wales Millennium Centre (UK) for the 2012 Olympics, the Hong Kong Dance Company, Lushington/ Live Nation, the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival and is a Clore Fellow.

How the Fellowship impacted me

The Fellowship reminded me to be more humanistic and people-focused as a leader – that I take into account the person as a whole, be it their personalities, families, motivation, fears, desires when making decisions or working with them. This is particularly important as I currently work in an organization so big that it is easy to have exchanged numerous emails with colleagues who I have not even seen the face of or know the name of.

How I am using my skills for change

At meetings and visits at the fellowship, I was deeply moved by how artists and practitioners in the UK engage and put the community at the heart of their work. It reminded me that I too, want to put “artists”, “art work” and “audiences” in the same sentence when I am describing what I do. I plan on working on a community music project where we get communities of an older generation talk about their stories and we get young composers to notate these oral history through songs and lyrics and get young children to sing them to create new children’s song for the future generation.