The focus of my work has always centred on developing research, policy and programmes designed to improve the lives of young people in some of the most marginalised contexts.
I was Global Director for Cultural Skills and Research at the British Council and was a former trustee of the Arts Council of Wales and I have worked as a cultural policy advisor to culture ministries around the globe, from Brazil to Myanmar; Bangladesh to Colombia.
I have worked in the cultural sector for over 25 years, initially as a professional musician, promoter and community activist and subsequently at the highest levels of leadership and governance, as a CEO and research academic. I bring an extensive background in strategic leadership, management and assuring the financial performance of charities and companies, alongside a passionate professional commitment to social justice founded on evidence, experience, and intellectual rigour. I have extensive experience in international working, in building bilateral and multi-lateral strategies; programmes and partnerships and I have a PhD in Cultural International Policy, exploring the role of culture for social and economic transformation in the UK, Brazil and Colombia.
Most recently I was the Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University for the Creative Arts, overseeing a resturcuring of all skills and employability work and establish a Conflict & Creative Arts Research Centre. Previously I was CEO of Creative & Cultural Skills, the national organisation which conducts research and develops educational and social interventions in the cultural sector, with the aim of creating equality of opportunity, I bring a strong background in strategic leadership, management and assuring the financial performance of charities and companies, alongside a passionate professional commitment to social justice founded on evidence, experience, and intellectual rigour. I have extensive experience in international working, in building bilateral and multi-lateral strategies; programmes and partnerships and I have recently completed my PhD in International Policy, exploring the role of culture for social and economic transformation with a focus on Latin America and particularly Colombia and Brazil.
My most recent post involved establishing and maintaining high-level partnerships and networks across the UK, with HE, FE, industry and UK and devolved administrations. We advised on apprenticeship developments and have a national college leadership network that works alongside industry, ranging from Reading and Leeds Festival to Cultural Heritage sites.
Formerly, I was the British Council Global Lead for Arts research and policy and Global Director for Cultural Skills, a worldwide cross-cutting department working across arts, education and culture and development. My work, leading a team, involved detailed research into the priorities and value of the cultural sector globally, followed by the development and delivery of educational and social programmes and policy engagement activity, focused particularly on working with marginalised groups and young people. The work delivered skills training in culture and the arts; professional development and leadership skills; youth participation work and policy engagement.
I was previously British Council Director for Wales and before that, senior International and Nations Policy Director at Creative & Cultural Skills, the UK Sector Skills Council. Here I oversaw our work in Scotland and the international development of the company from the position of distinctive devolved nations, whilst introducing the first UK Creative Apprenticeships.
Previously, as a community arts director and activist, I worked around the globe on policy and project developments. Partners ranged from NGO’s, governments, cultural sector organisations and international agencies such as UNESCO and the EU.
As a practitioner, I have worked as a community activist, producer, tour manager and sound engineer, and directed large-scale major events with the BBC including Compass Point - the International Urban Arts Festival - and the Welsh Music Awards. My skills in leadership, programme management, international and UK-wide policy and research have always been essentially strengthened by my creative, entrepreneurial and participant-driven ethos, shaped from my early career in community and professional arts.