Vanessa is Chair of Early Film and Popular Entertainment at the University of Sheffield but more locally known in her home town of Morecambe and adopted town of Blackpool as Professor Vanessa.
From her early background on the Winter Gardens Fairground in Morecambe which was operated by her family to her work as a historian of entertainment her love of the seaside is manifest through her work.
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Her passion for seaside towns led her to work for seven years in Blackpool as Creative Producer of Showzam Blackpool Festival of Circus Magic and New Variety where she brought back the sideshows, instigated Showzam Central as a free attraction for thousands of locals and holiday makers alike and set up the celebrated Carnival Ball in the Blackpool Tower.
Her work as a historian led to international recognition for the iconic Blackpool Winter Gardens which was the subject of the first of her four books on Blackpool's unique heritage and cultural attractions - followed by the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Tower and the Illuminations.
Over the past year Vanessa has returned to her seaside town to become Chair of the Winter Gardens Theatre in Morecambe and with the Friends and the Trustees instigated a series of changes which is transforming the building which this year alone has attracted 20,000 visitors, showcased events and partnered with Vintage by the Sea and Eden North.
A true ‘sandgrowun’ Vanessa has been nominated as Tourism Superstar for championing the importance of Lancashire’s fantastic coastal towns - highlighting the beauty, talent and history of the seaside and seasiders through her writing, TV appearances and hands-on support.
Read more about this year's finalists via the links below: