Meet the Alchemy Film & Arts Team

Meet the Alchemy Film & Arts team! Our trustees are further down the page.

Our Team:

Rachael Disbury – Programme Manager

Rachael oversees the exhibitions, festival, and community engagement initiatives of Alchemy. She’s just moved to Hawick from Huntly, where she worked for 4 years with Deveron Projects, and holds an MFA in Contemporary Art from Edinburgh College of Art. Rachael is interested in cross-disciplinary collaboration and creating social points of access in contemporary art and film.

Michael Pattison – Festival Director

Michael is Festival Director for Alchemy’s 2019 edition, having previously been Senior Programmer. He has been published widely as a critic, and has tutored many training schemes for early-career film journalists. Michael is also a film practice PhD candidate at Newcastle University, where his work is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Kerry Jones – Festival Producer, Senior Festival Programmer

Kerry is a multimedia artist, and recently received an MA in Contemporary Art Practice from Edinburgh College of Art. Her recent work comes from an interest in appropriating and deconstructing image, sound and narrative.
She joined the Alchemy team as in intern in 2014, and has been part of the team in various roles since then.

Jessie Growden – Festival Marketing Coordinator, Senior Festival Programmer, Administrator

Jessie discovered Alchemy through the Community Filmmaking Initiative in 2014, and volunteered for the festival for 3 editions, before joining the team as administrator in 2016, and starting full time for the 2018 festival this February. She likes films with rhythm and a sense of place.

Walt Holland – Installations Manager

Walt has been with Alchemy for the last 5 years, he likes Bangin’ Chunes and 16mm and all analogue stuff. He’s never far from a roll of gaffer tape.

Rachel Pronger – Senior Festival Programmer

Rachel has worked at film festivals including London, Edinburgh and BFI Flare, and completed an MSc in Film Exhibition at the University of Edinburgh.Rachel produced Alchemy’s 2018 festival, and currently the Film Programme Coordinator at Tyneside Cinema.

Our Trustees:

Lawrence Robertson – Treasurer

Lawrence is a retired architect and developer with a passion for big urban developments and making messy art. He loves Alchemy’s gutsy energy and amazing talents and is delighted to do his bit.


Keith Alexander – Chairperson

Keith has been a trustee since just after it all began in 2012. He has a background in production of arts programmes for BBC Television, including short film commissions from leading UK artists, and still cannot quite believe that this now happens in the Borders! “It’s been an amazing journey from niche festival to becoming a vibrant and integrated part of the community.”

Karen Gateson

Karen joined as a Trustee in 2015, with no previous links to the arts, other than an onlooker. She loves that Alchemy welcomed her and helped her see life through a different lens, at least metaphorically, if not yet physically.


Irene Young

Irene has lived in the Borders since 1980. She worked for 14 years as a teacher, supporting young people with emotional and behavioural issues. She also trained and worked as a gilder and frame maker. She volunteers at the Chisholme Institute, where she develops and supervises retreat courses. Irene enjoys music and plays with Riddell Fiddles, the Back Row Band, and is involved in a local Salsa Drumming group for women.

Sue Briggs

Sue started out as an Educational Psychologist in Glasgow before moving to Madrid to teach, then had an averagely successful spell as a professional actor in London. She’s since developed a more successful career as Behaviour and Culture Change Facilitator in the corporate world, which she pursues from the Scottish Borders. Supporting Alchemy is the next interesting, exciting and altogether different chapter.

Sandy Devers

Sandy came to the Borders in 2014 from Glasgow and is CEO of a Third Sector social care organisation. He likes music and art and has a secret ambition to play as many instruments as badly as possible. He was introduced to Alchemy shortly after coming to the Borders. Sandy loves the friendly nature of Alchemy, how it always pushes boundaries while being committed to connecting with local people, in a meaningful way.

Susan Garnsworthy

Susan works for Live Borders as Funding and Projects Officer, and has a varied background: publishing work in Amsterdam; export Manager for a Library Supplier; a period in local government; freelance consultant for Glasgow Mackintosh; YES Arts Festival in 2013. She has volunteered for Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival and is a trustee of the Saltire Trust. She Loves wine, cooking, France, reading, music and gardening.

Dr Richard Ashrowan – Founder

Richard was Creative Director at the festival from 2010 to 2019, and was curator for Scotland + Venice at the Venice Art Biennale 2017. He’s also a moving image artist, working with video and 16mm film, creating short single channel films, immersive video installations and live multi-projector performance experiments.