My York Central is run by Phil Bixby and Helen Graham. Having met in one too many workshops, Phil and Helen started working together as My Future York and since early summer 2017 have been running the My Castle Gateway project.

Phil Bixby has lived and worked in York for many years and loves the city but believes we need to plan for future change, and spends much of his time telling people this. As a designer of buildings he’s learned that the best results come from the best brief, where building users really think about, and creatively describe, how they want to use future places and spaces. He believes that York needs the same approach from its residents. He’s an architect who has worked on community self-build, masterplanning and community decision-making in York and elsewhere, and spends a lot of his time watching and learning about York from the saddle of a bicycle.

Helen Graham has – through both activist (York’s Alternative History) and research projects (How should heritage decisions be made?) – been exploring for a while how we might use participatory and action research approaches along with the histories and heritage of York to open up debates about York’s future. Helen lives in York but spends quite a lot of time on trains to Leeds where she teaches heritage studies at the University of Leeds.