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Our staff and volunteers

Our staff and volunteers

Music In Detention operates with a small, dedicated team of staff and volunteers based in our Central London office.  In addition MID’s work in Bedford is managed by a Producer based locally in the community.



John Speyer - Director

I’m descended from Polish, Dutch, Spanish and Moroccan Jews who came to the UK in the 19th and 20th centuries, and learning about the Holocaust as a teenager was a formative experience. I have worked and volunteered with communities and marginalised groups for 30 years.  I was a primary school teacher and Deputy Head, then I led a community regeneration charity in Sheffield, developing services to help people change their lives. As a volunteer I’ve helped promote human rights and challenge extremism and xenophobia.  Music has been a passion since childhood. I’ve been Director of Music In Detention since 2008. I love the way our work goes to the heart of complex problems, and the richness and power of the music we help create.

Gini Simpson - Arts Development Manager

I'm responsible for developing MID’s artistic processes and public events, to move MID toward being a bi-lingual arts and social justice organisation.

When I'm not at MID, I work with The Sick of the Fringe, developing arts and health-based programmes with user/patient groups and I am co-founder and Director of Un-Age an intergenerational startup programme based in Hackney. I am Chair of the Media and Networked Arts Organisation, Furtherfield, I sit on the board of the Live Art Development Agency and am an industrial advisor to the Queen Mary University of London’s Media Arts and Technology Doctoral Training Centre.

Previously, I was Managing Director for Phakama, a youth led theatre organisation, Head of Learning and Participation at the Barbican Arts Centre, and managed Business Development for the Arts and Creative Industries at Queen Mary University of London. From 2003-08, I was Head of Media Arts at SPACE in Hackney, an art/technology unit. Before this, I worked for advertising agency BMP DDB (Interactive) as Design Director. She worked in interactive television during its inception and on some of the first online galleries in New York City.

I am an artist who has exhibited internationally. I worked in Shoreditch in the early 90s, curating and producing Live Art in emergent venues. I am interested in Civil Rights activism and work as part of Mental Health Civil Rights Movements as often as I can.



Zoe Burton - Programme Manager

My professional background is in delivering a range of services for vulnerable people, asylum seekers and refugees in particular, including separated children. I worked at the Refugee Council for several years where I ran the drop in day centre service and developed residential weekend programmes for asylum seeking teenagers. My background in the arts (theatre & dance) meant that I strove to establish participatory arts projects alongside practical and emotional support for clients attending the centre.  I studied Family Therapy with the Tavistock Clinic and am a qualified TEFL teacher.

Prior to working in the voluntary sector I worked for a documentary film production company after graduating with a degree in Theatre Studies with Language & Literature. 

I worked for MID in 2012, and again in 2014 on maternity cover contracts, and am delighted to now be staying with MID on a permanent basis.  It’s great to see the organisation continuing to develop, broadening the scope of its work thanks to the dedicated team and board of trustees. 



Liza Figueroa-Clark - Communications & Public Engagement Manager 

I joined MID in 2007 initially as the Programme Assitant, and was appointed Programme Manager in 2008. I have been in my current role since 2019.

My interest in MID’s work comes from my background: my father was a political prisoner under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, who was given refuge in the UK. I grew up listening to Victor Jara, a Chilean singer-songwriter detained and later killed by the military junta. Whilst imprisoned, Jara sang for his fellow detainees to maintain morale, and wrote a song which was smuggled out to tell the world about what was happening.

I feel it is important to get the voices of those detained in Britain out, both to empower them, validate their creativity, and to challenge the dominant dehumanising narrative about migrants and refugees.

I have a keen interest in social justice, and the experiences of migrants. I have worked with asylum seekers and refugees as part of a human rights advocacy course and as a case worker for Latin American women escaping domestic violence in the UK, later serving on the charity’s Management Committee. I have also worked as a journalist, researcher, interpreter, and translator of academic publications and other materials.

I have lived in Russia, Chile and Venezuela, and my languages include Spanish, Russian and Portuguese. 



Ellen Jordan - Programme and Evaluation Co-ordinator

I joined the MID team as the Programme and Evaluation Co-ordinator in 2019. I am passionate about the power of arts and practical music-making as a way to improve people's lives.

After studying music at the University of York,  I worked at Rural Arts North Yorkshire, gaining numerous experiences such as organising rural tours with under-privileged young people, and developing inter-generational visual arts projects with military families. In 2015, I co-founded the York Community Gamelan (tuned bronze percussion ensemble) and led workshops in a variety of settings, including a successful gamelan residency project at a homeless centre.

I studied Javanese and Sundanese music in Indonesia for three years before moving to London and working in a homeless hostel in North Kensington for over a year, supporting young people. I also developed several projects with the Indonesian Embassy including a collaborative dance and music performance at WOMAD 2019. 

Aside from my role with Music In Detention, I facilitate gamelan music workshops in prisons with the charity Good Vibrations. I perform with several gamelan groups, including the Southbank Gamelan Players and Sekar Enggal, and also sing regularly with the Georgian folk choir, Maspindzeli.