Mark Ashmore: Founder & Managing Director

Mark Ashmore FRSA grew up in Alfreton a small market town in the Derbyshire coalfields, with no arts or cinema in the town. Mark’s love of the counter culture grew from Saturday day-trips to Nottingham’s counter culture lace market area, where he fell under the influence of hardcore house music raves, Britpop and the films of Lucas, Spielberg & Scorsese.

Leaving Alfreton at 19 years old Mark took to travelling and working abroad in Ibiza, America & South East Asia. Despite spending much of his 20s on the road he managed to acquire a first class honours degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Brighton. Starting his new career path off as an Actor he soon progressed to production working primarily for traditional media (BBC, ITV) as a Director/Producer. Independently he has directed 12 films which have been distributed internationally.

In 2007 he moved to Manchester where he fast became part of the ‘new wave’ arts scene that sprung up with the launch of Media City, Salford. This move resulted in his founding of Future Artists in 2009. The company was conceived to be a workspace and ideas factory for the ‘Millennial Generation’. Its outset was to become a socially conscious collective of artists, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs working across a variety of art forms.

Mark Ashmore

Rod Hyde: Financial Director

Rod Hyde

Rod spent the first 9 years of his working life as a chemical engineer, designing and managing chemical production plants for BPB plc & ICI plc, where he gained his professional engineering qualifications. In 1981 he left the chemical industry to teach physics, mathematics and economics cutting this new career short due to the birth of the microcomputer. For sixteen years he built Rowan Software, a software development company which initially focused on educational software before expanding to specialise in flight simulation and simulator gaming. Rowan also produced training and evaluation software for the RAF and research organisations before its sale in 2000.

Now free to explore the burgeoning dotcom market, Rod took time in a couple of technology companies as CTO, COO and CEO then moved onto consulting in corporate finance. In 2005 he joined with three other founders to provide the seed capital for Hasgrove plc. By 2011, Hasgrove was an AIM listed corporate communications, digital and design business with circa four hundred employees in thirteen offices around Europe. As CEO he steered the company through a period of rapid growth including acquisition, integration, it’s listing (Nov 2006) and subsequent funding rounds.

Since pretending to retire in late 2011, Rod splits his time between pro bono work and fee based consultancy. He is non-executive chair of three companies and advises two others. He  is the RSA Fellowship’s NW Chair, a High School governor, Youth Association trustee and Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.

Sarah Lee Jones: Executive Producer

Sarah Lee Jones

Sarah-Lee Jones is an award winning producer of digital content and one of the UK’S leading media producers, having managed production on both feature films and drama series. Sarah-Lee, along side Mark Ashmore was selected to participate at the Venice Biennale College Cinema scheme in the summer of 2015.

Immersed in arts from a young age, from school plays to college musicals Sarah has always been at the forefront of media and drama. This accumulated in the study of a first class honours degree in Media & Performance and a masters degree in Film, which propelled her in to a career in production. Beginning in Television she worked her way up from production runner to Producer, working for the major broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4) across a broad spectrum of shows, which include: The Jeremy Kyle Show, Geordie Shore, and Embarrassing Bodies. 

She produced her first feature film in 2012, The Lost Generation and two years later that was followed with Portal, an ambitious sci-fi web series which went viral in the first week with over 300,000 views receiving widespread critical acclaim. Joining Future Artists in 2014 Sarah conceived the company’s new business vertical, VR Arts for which she is currently producing an interactive graphic novel.