Josh McNorton

I'm a Canadian-British creative producer, curator and writer based in East London, UK.

Josh McNorton
Photo of Josh McNorton speaking at an event
Credit: Chris Winter / Wembley Park

Hey, I’m Josh. I was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in the eighties. I emigrated to the United Kingdom in January 2012, and I’ve lived in the east end of London ever since.

Since I was young, I have created live experiences. I put on my first gig at age 14 at a local community hall for my own and my friends' bands. I wrote and directed plays in high school. Now I produce and curate cultural events and artworks for thousands of people to enjoy. What has consistently motivated me is collaboration -- working with talented people to create something amazing that hasn’t been experienced before.

I studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from 2002 to 2006. For most of my twenties, music was my focus; writing songs, playing in bands, touring internationally, and working in the industry.

I had a big break in 2009 when I was hired to work on the Opening, Closing, and Victory Ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. It was exciting to work in close proximity to Canadian music and comedy legends on the ceremonies, but I was more captivated by the behind-the-curtain view of how large-scale events are produced. I realised that I could combine my creativity with my ability to coalesce a broad range of people to make things happen. For lack of a better term, I call that role a creative producer.

Less than two years later, I moved to London to work on the Summer 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A lot has happened since then, and I've stayed in the UK. London is my home. I became a British citizen in early 2021.

I’m proud of my collaborations with UK cultural institutions and venues over the past 12 years. Some of my favourite projects have been with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, King's College London, The Roundhouse, The Barbican Centre, and dozens more.

I’m not normally one to name-drop but some of the coolest people I’ve collaborated with in London thus far have been: polymath Brian Eno, writer and broadcaster Jon Ronson, whistleblower Edward Snowden, fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, and funk music legend George Clinton.

In some cases, I came up with new ideas for these brilliant people to present to an audience, other times I simply hired them to do what they do best.

From October 2019 to November 2023, I was the Cultural Director of Wembley Park, the 85-acre neighbourhood surrounding Wembley Stadium. I was essentially the in-house cultural strategist, curator and event producer for an 85-acre neighbourhood in Northwest London. As part of the placemaking strategy, I curated and produced a year-round cultural programme for hundreds of thousands of visitors and local residents.

In August 2023, I was interviewed on The Yellow podcast by two colleagues about my work at Wembley Park:

Overall, the titles that best describe what I am focused on professionally are creative producer and curator.

Outside of work, I write creative non-fiction, often about or incorporating music I love.

My most recent piece, "The Schism," is about a song that changed my life, and I performed it at the OneTrackMinds event at Wilton's Music Hall on 25 November 2023.

On my birthday this year, I started a weekly Substack newsletter, Soundtracks to Adventure.

OneTrackMinds on 25 November 2023
Performing at OneTrackMinds at Wilton's Music Hall in London in November 2023

In addition to working in arts and culture, I volunteer as the Chair of BitterSuite Experiences CIO and as a Trustee of sound-art charity Modus Arts CIC.

I spend most of my evenings at cultural events, performances and art exhibitions. My hobbies include travel, yoga, tennis, reading all types of books, and taking courses. I’m obsessed with improving my skills and learning new things.

Phew, thanks for reading to the end. If you want to connect with me, go here. Let's chat.