Speaker Biographies


Rosie Aspinall Priest is a queer neurodivergent artist and Post Graduate Researcher; their work explores the impacts of visual art practices on young people. Rosie is also a Saltire Emerging Researcher Awardee and will be exploring youth-led art projects at Malmö University in the autumn.
Rosie graduated with a degree in Art History. Having spent time freelancing for organisations such as The Edinburgh Art Festival, WHALE Arts and The Edinburgh International Book Festival, Rosie returned to university in 2017 to study an MA in Arts, Festival and Cultural Management, writing their research thesis on the social impact of participatory art practices and continued their studies in an MSc of applied social research before starting their PhD in 2020.


Bryan Beattie has failed in many cultural arenas over many years – as a senior civil servant, local government development officer, festival director, chair/board member, actor, and elected member for Highland Council. He is the CEO of the cultural consultancy, Creative Services, and production company, Big Sky. He has been Expert Adviser to two Ministers of Culture, special adviser to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and was of head the secretariat for Scotland’s Cultural Commission. He is currently failing miserably to hit any of his timetable deadlines for his part-time doctoral research in cultural rights at QMU.


Tom Bevan is a freelance Producer from Cardiff, based in Bristol. He has worked in teams across different scale of organisations, including Theatr Clwyd (Assistant Producer), Battersea Arts Centre (Co-Creating Change Project Manager), Dirty Protest (Producer), Strike A Light and Coventry City of Culture (Producer, Hungry Nation) and Cardiff Council (Arts Programmer, Summer of Smiles). He is a fundraiser and tour manager for individual theatre artists and musicians. He is interested in new writing, long-term artist development and work that is co-created. Tom is passionate about healthy working conditions in the arts; he wants to create environments where people can thrive. He himself works a four day week.


Rachel Blanche  is a senior lecturer at QMU specialising in cultural policy and participation.  Her research how best to support quality resulted in a model for continuous quality improvement that has been adopted by cultural policymakers in several countries.


Susanne Burns is an independent management consultant with over 40 years of senior management experience in the cultural sector. Her work has encompassed dance, theatre, music and the visual arts. She currently has a diverse portfolio of clients, including mima, National Glass Centre, North East Photography Network,  Battersea Arts Centre, Fevered Sleep, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Ballet Cymru and Rubicon Dance. She specialises in evaluation and research and has extensive experience of working in Higher Education and was awarded her DProf from Middlesex University in 2011.


Laetitia Butler is an Edinburgh-based creative producer, working across the cultural and public sectors on sustainable community engagement and event delivery. Previously, Laetitia was Assistant Producer at Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture, where she collaborated with artists, grassroots organisations, and local authorities to deliver place-based public programming. She holds a Master’s in Applied Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris. Laetitia is passionate about engaging the public through the performing arts and developing place-specific artistic interventions.


Desirée Campagna is a researcher and consultant in the field of cultural policy and public policy evaluation, currently working as project manager for the consultancy PTSCLAS S.p.A (Italy). She holds a PhD in Human Rights, Society and Multi-level Governance (jointly awarded by the University of Padova, Western Sydney, Zagreb, Athens Panteion and Nicosia). She has a specific expertise in the analysis of the international and European agendas on culture, including interculturalism/multiculturalism, cultural rights and participatory governance, and on social impact assessment and qualitative research techniques, such as process-tracing and the Theory of Change (ToC).


Pamela Crowe is an artist and writer based in Leeds. She works with text, image and performance making work about writing, voice and power. Pamela is an experienced arts manager and producer having worked across theatre, dance, literature, museums and the visual arts for over 25 years. Recent commissions and collaborations include LEEDS 2023, Axis, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre and East Street Arts. Her book of poetry The Bell Tower is published with The Emma Press.


Dr Malaika Cunningham is a theatre practitioner and democratic theorist based at Artsadmin as a practice-based researcher. Her research explores the role of participatory theatre in creating democratic spaces for political discourse and future-making. She has also written on political engagement, participatory arts, and co-productive policy-making. In 2020 she worked as a post-doctoral researcher with the FailSpace project at the University of Leeds. Alongside and overlapping with this work she co-leads theatre and interactive arts company, The Bare Project.


Morvern Cunningham is a freelance facilitator, coach and cultural commentator. They work within and across networks including Culture Collective, Coaching for Creatives and the Creative Community Hubs network. Morvern has written a number of pamphlets including Edinburgh Reimagined: The Future Will Be Localised, on the future of the creative sector in the city they call home.  Morvern is interested in ways of breaking down the perceived binaries between success and failure, and having a more nuanced conversation about how to make things better more generally going forward. They are also keen to incorporate coaching tools into discussions about failure. Morvern can be contacted via morverncunningham@gmail.com.


Irineu Destourelles is a Glasgow-based visual artist. Irineu’s practice lies in moving-image, writing, drawing and painting, revolving around treatment of identity, experiences of creolity and diaspora. Irineu’s work has been featured in exhibitions at CAPC (Coimbra 2020), Museum Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon, 2019), MAMA Showroom (Rotterdam, 2019), Transmission (Glasgow, 2017), Transmediale (Berlin, 2015) and Videobrasil 18 (São Paulo, 2013) among others. Irineu is an artist in residence at Deveron Projects, Huntly, and he is currently researching for a PhD in Film Studies at University College London.

Andrew Dixon is Director Culture Creativity Place, has worked with over 90 local authorities and on multiple bids including Hull 2017, Coventry 2021, Bradford 2025, York’s UNESCO status and the World Cup. Programme Director of 3rd World Summit on Arts and Culture, ex CEO Creative Scotland, Northern Arts, NewcastleGateshead, Visiting Professor Warwick Business School.


Dr Louise Ejgod Hansen is Associate Professor at School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University and Head of Research at Center for Cultural Evaluation. Two of her main research interests are participation and the evaluation of the value of cultural projects. She was the project manager of the evaluation of Aarhus 2017 and has been engaged in several research and development projects with theatres, museums, cultural centres etc. In DELTAG, she is part of the academic team together with Professor Birgit Eriksson and PhD scholar Karen Nordentoft. Currently, she is the editor of Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy Research.


Celine Elliott from  Cornwall Museums Partnership has been the Engagement Lead at CMP since 2019. Working across Cornwall with museums, creating opportunities for positive social change in collaboration with cross-sectoral partners, Celine’s practice builds on a decade of experience in Youth and Community work. A recipient of a National Arts Strategy Cultural Leadership fellowship, Celine centers her work in social justice and believes that museums in their capacity as civic spaces have a unique opportunity for engaging the public in challenging issues such as the climate emergency.


Shaun Featherstone
Shaun Featherstone is a Project Lead on the Creative Learning Programme working for the Arts Council of Wales. He studied Fine Art and maintains a creative practice rooted in collaboration and social engagement, protest and activism. He is the cofounder of Red Shoes Poster Archive, a social justice mobile installation and political education resource. He’s held several notable arts and education posts in Wales including: co-founding Stepping Stone Arts an artist-led participatory arts project; director of Cardiff Arts in Education Agency – devising the first accredited artists in schools training and mentoring programme in Wales; curator of contemporary exhibitions at Newport Museum and Art Gallery.


Dr Ali Fitzgibbon is a Senior Lecturer and head of Arts Management and Cultural Policy at Queen’s University Belfast. She researches decision-making, ethics and labour in contemporary cultural production. Her doctoral research was shortlisted for the 2020 ENCATC Research Award. She has published in a range of international journals and is on the editorial board of the Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy. She has over 25 years’ experience as a multi-arts producer, programmer and consultant, including advising on cultural recovery and sustainability for Department for Communities (NI) and Arts Council Ireland.


Chris Fremantle’s research focuses on artists in public life, through attention on exemplary practices (in particular the pioneering ecological artists Helen Mayer Harrison (1927-2018) and Newton Harrison (b.1932) ‘the Harrisons’) and through practice-led work as a producer/curator. His work explores how different disciplines and practices work together across distinct potentially incommensurable ways of knowing. This is particularly focused on the role of artists in environmental and landscape decision-making, understanding the ways that artists frame and conceptualise eco-centricity seeking to reposition the human within the ecological, including how to imagine societies which put back more than they take out of ecosystems.


Johnny Gailey is an artist, printmaker and educator.  He set up and runs Out of the Blueprint, a social enterprise based in the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith, Edinburgh, that specialises in eco printing. The studio generates 60% of its funding from trading and uses the surplus to support under 25’s through traineeships, residencies, exhibition and educational opportunities.  Since it was set up in 2015, Blueprint has supported over 500 young people and artists.

As an untrained artist Johnny is well versed (and comfortable) with failure, using it as an artistic strategy to create new work.  As a professional running a small enterprise, responsible to a range of stakeholders he is less comfortable with failure.  Johnny is interested in these two different contexts and how something useful in one seems somehow less acceptable in the other.


Karen Grøn is Museum Director of Trapholt Museum of Modern Art, Craft and Design. Participation, engagement and generosity is the DNA of her work which aims to creating a relevant art museum for visitors, society and users through radical change both in programs, collections and organization.


Rhian Haf
Rhian Haf has worked for the Creative Learning team at the Arts Council of Wales since 2019. Previously she worked as a freelance Project Manager and Coordinator, collaborating with several prominent organisations across Wales; Gwynedd Council, Ruthin Craft Centre, CADW, Flintshire Council, coordinating or participating in creative projects, residences and events; community focussed, educational or artform specific.  Trained in Applied Arts, Rhian has continued to develop her own creative practice, exhibiting nationally and internationally.


Dr Nicky Hatton is an arts researcher and theatre practitioner based in Bradford who specialises in performance and health. Her current work explores care as a creative and critical concern in participatory performance. She has worked as a lecturer in performance at York St John University and has 15 years’ experience as a community theatre practitioner, including roles at Hampstead Theatre and Arcola Theatre. Nicky is an Associate Producer with 509 Arts and a Senior Consultant at The Audience Agency, specialising in co-creative practice. She is the author of several publications on arts in care homes including the (2021) book Performance and Dementia: a cultural response to care.


Dr Sophie Hope is a senior lecturer and practice-based researcher at Birkbeck, University of London in the Film, Media and Cultural Studies Department. Her work is often developed with others through the format of devised workshops exploring subjects such as art and politics in the year 1984, physical and emotional experiences of immaterial work, stories people tell about socially engaged art commissions and the ethics of employability in the creative industries. Current work she is collaborating on include: Manual Labours with Jenny Richards, Meanwhile in an Abandoned Warehouse with Owen Kelly, 1984 Dinners and Cards on the Table.


Tina Louise Hove Sørenson, Postdoctoral researcher in Department of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University. She’s currently involved in Craftworks, a collaborative research project by Trapholt Museum and Aarhus University, researching the social, institutional, and creative potentials in large scale participatory craft-projects.


Mac Ince has worked in the Creative Industries and charity sector since 2004. This almost 20 years has given him many roles in live events and promotion, fundraising, data and evaluation and most importantly organisational governance. He has been the Data Research Manager for Artswork (ACE Bridge organisation) since 2013, where he has developed data maturity for the organisation and its partners. He has a healthy obsession with failure, finding and counting what’s missing from a project.


Joanna Jowett is an artist, writer and producer, working across the fields of performance, theatre and visual art. With a background in Performing Arts she has held various roles in the communications teams of Leeds Playhouse, Opera North and Leeds Arts University. Since 2015 she has worked in a freelance capacity as a Producer and a Marketing/PR Manager and Evaluation Consultant within the arts. Recent clients include Freedom Studios, Poet in the City/The British Library and Yorkshire Dance. Joanna is also Co-Director of COPY, an artists publishing platform delivering writing and publishing projects.  Joanna.jowett@outlook.com


Dr Elysia Lechelt expertise is in urban and regional cultural policy practices, creative industries and cultural labour. She has also investigated, published and presented on issues of participatory (or co-produced) cultural policy processes. She is currently a lecturer in Art History, Culture and Society at the University of Edinburgh (ECA), where she teaches courses on ‘Democracy, Funding and the Arts’, and ‘Inequality in the Arts’. Before Academia, Elysia worked in the cultural sector in various arts management roles such as public programming, audience development and community outreach.


Sophie Lindsey is a Cardiff based artist who is currently working part-time as a Marketing Officer at Llantarnam Grange, alongside a patchwork of freelance projects.   Through a visual art, curatorial and writing practice, Sophie works across GIFs, performance, workshops, video, and public-space interventions to create projects that prioritise generosity, understanding and fun! They have previously worked on community projects with Common Wealth Theatre, Art Gene, Deveron Projects, Tŷ Pawb and Wave Pool Gallery (Cincinnati).


Dr Emma McDowell is a researcher and consultant, Emma is particularly interested in how notions of cultural value are articulated, communicated and enacted through arts management and policy processes, as well as the different methodologies we choose in research and evaluation activities. They have expertise in research design, qualitative and participatory co-research, as well as mixing methods, and are currently curating a series of events in Autumn 2022 exploring how evaluation practice can be beneficial in terms of learning and making change with  the Centre for Cultural Value. Their PhD research explores the processes of theatre-making, marketing and audience engagement in contemporary theatre practice through the enactive theoretical framing of participatory sense-making. Emma is also Social Media Editor for the international interdisciplinary journal Cultural Trends, and is Co-Chair of Red Ladder Theatre Company’s board of trustees. @emmamcdoofus


Dr Ruth Melville has over 20 years of experience in research design and analysis within the cultural, regeneration, environmental and social inclusion sectors. Her practice spans academia, consultancy, research and evaluation. Her PhD explored the interaction between evaluation and practice for artists. It demonstrated the potential for using artists’ intrinsic reflective practices as evaluation, arguing for a radical reappraisal of evaluation in the arts. Ruth has designed several major cultural programme evaluations, with a focus on embedding approaches that lead to internal and external change. She has a strong commitment to inclusion. Her style is highly personal and facilitative–giving space for all to have their say. Her other work includes co-authorship of the Medway Cultural Strategy, Critical Friend and Evaluator for a number of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programmes; managing Impacts 08 (the Liverpool European Capital of Culture evaluation); and Evaluation Advisor to Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture. She recently worked on Bradford’s successful bid to be UK City of Culture.


Steph Meskell Brocken is the Programme Director for Peshkar. She has worked with Peshkar since 2014 alongside freelance and slurred roles at a number of other organisations. She is a specialist in Cultural Education and is currently Artistic Director of Minerva Arts, Education Manager at The Met, Bury and Chair of both the National Association of Youth Theatres and Cheshire West Voluntary Arts Network. Her particular interests lie in asset-based community development approaches, diversity in arts education and careers and employability.


Corinne Micallef is a Senior Programme Manager for A New Direction and leads on the development of their Culture programmes to support arts and cultural organisations to develop their work with children and young people, including Space for Change and Principles into Practice. For the past 20 years Corinne has been a theatre maker specialising in creating work with under-served communities and is a trained coach and mediator. A New Direction are an award-winning not-for-profit organisation generating opportunities for children and young people to develop their creativity.


Henry Mulhall is a practice-based PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London. His research looks at how constellations of practice form between art organisations and community groups in the Union Street area of Plymouth, UK.

He is co-lead on Cards on The Table. Since 2019 he has collaborated with Sophie Hope on the evaluation of BE PART a European network of organisations collaborating to better understand how to further participation in arts and culture. As part of BE PART, he works with a group that is developing a Protocol for the project.


Jonothan Neelands is Academic Director Cultural Partnerships, University of Warwick.  Warwick Commission, Coventry Cultural Strategy 2017-2027,  academic research lead on bid and evaluation of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. Developed Joint Cultural Needs Assessment Guidelines for ACE and is currently leading the AHRC commissioned UK Cities of Culture Project.


Benjamin Owen is an artist based in Edinburgh who works with soundtracks, film, music, performance, and installation. A celebration of participation, improvisation, and collaboration are at the heart of the practice, emerging from careful research and building trust-based relationships. For the past decade, Owen’s work has centered on intergenerational collaborations, and films made through music. His work and events have taken place in venues and galleries throughout the U.K.  He is currently completing a long-term participatory film and sound work exploring relationships to voice in Perth, Scotland called The New Vocal Club. Owen has worked in various art institutions and continues to make music and sounds in conjunction with film, education, and performance.

Natalia Palombo is the director of Deveron Projects, a socially-engaged arts organisation based in the North East of Scotland. Deveron Projects has been connecting artists, communities and place through creative research and engagement since 1995.
Natalia had worked across visual art, film, dance and music, producing public programmes that place quality production and strong socio-political values at their heart. She is also a Director of Many Studios, an independent creative organisation in Glasgow, where she developed an international project space, The Gallow Gate, from 2015-2021.


Dr Tawnya Renelle graduated with a DFA in Creative Writing from The University of Glasgow and a MFA in Experimental Writing from Goddard College. She founded her small business Beyond Form Creative Writing in September 2021 in order to create a home for artists working across mediums to explore experimental forms. In May 2022 her collection prompts was published with Orangeapple Press. In May 2019 she published her experimental poetry collection this exquisite corpse with Calenture Press. She has published essays and poetry across a variety of online platforms. Dr. Renelle guest lectures at Glasgow School of Art, University of Glasgow, and Edinburgh Napier. She has also taught with non-profit organisations including Kairos Women+ in Paisley and Give a Dog a Bone in Shawlands. She recently received a Renfrewshire Culture and Heritage grant and will be starting a free creative writing program in Paisley. For more information please head to her website: https://www.beyondformcreativewriting.com/ or you can find her on Instagram @tawnyarenelle and @beyondformcreativewriting. Dr. Renelle is dedicated to fostering a community of like-minded folks who want to explore and experiment in their creative work.


Chrissie Ruckley contributes to cultural policy and national sector development initiatives through her permanent role at Creative Scotland. She developed Scotland’s ‘Is this the best it can be?’ quality toolkit and is interested in exploring further forms of reflective evaluation.


Nina Rise Schrøder is Head of Guides at Trapholt Museum of Modern Art, Craft and Design. Since 2019 she has been project manager on a number of large scale collaborative art projects at Trapholt.


Professor Olivia Sagan’s area of research expertise is in phenomenological qualitative research, exploring first person narrative of mental illness and its interface with creative expression and strategies for wellbeing. She works with a number of community-based mental health organisations as part of this work, and is involved in arts practice-based PhD projects with researchers with long-term mental illness.


RM Sanchez Camus’s practice is developed through sector development of social art practice and other forms of creative social engagement in cultural production. He builds support and exchange systems for communities, creative practitioners, art workers, and scholars working in and invested in cultural democracy. He co-founded Social Art Network, a UK wide association of creative professionals dedicated to socially-engaged work. He co-convens the Social Art Summit, the only national UK review of socially engaged practice. He is a Development Associate for Axisweb, helping deliver Social Artery and Social Art Library (SOAL) and was Lead Artist on Social Art For Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (SAFEDI) AHRC fellowship with Manchester Metropolitan University producing research findings around arts access and arts policy. He is Artistic Director of Applied Live Art Studio (ALAS) a social art practice studio and runs Camus Live Art Consulting, providing strategy, evaluation, and corporate design for participatory arts organisations.
Project partners have included Whitechapel Gallery, Museum of London, Freedom Festival, IN SITU European Outdoor Arts network, Tate London, Artangel and People United.


Celine Schall Ph.D. in Information and Communication Sciences (Avignon Université) and Ph.D. in Museology, Mediation and Heritage (University of Québec in Montréal), Céline Schall has worked on the notion of cultural mediation and on cultural audiences since 2004. She has worked for several universities (France, Canada, Luxembourg); as a freelancer and for a municipality Cultural Department in Luxembourg. She is now Research associate at the University of Luxembourg, where she develops research studies and training on the ecological and social transition of culture.


Dr Anthony Schrag is a practising artist and researcher, and Senior Lecturer at Queen Margaret’s University, Edinburgh. The central focus of his work examines the role of art in participatory and public contexts, with a specific focus on social conflict, agonism and ethics. He leads on both the MA Arts, Festivals and Cultural Management and the MA Applied Arts and Social Practice and is a member of the Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies Research Centre, leading the Practice Research Cluster: Finding and Using Creative Knowledge


Mark Scott is currently a Research Fellow at Warwick Business School, part of the University of Warwick. His research focus is the evaluation of Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021. Mark is a contributor to the AHRC funded Warwick Cities of Culture project which demonstrates the importance of independent research sitting alongside a UK City of Culture. Prior to joining Warwick Business School, Mark was the Monitoring and Data Manager for the Coventry City of Culture Trust and was responsible for the collection of monitoring data for the evaluation of Coventry 2021.


Kate Wafer is an experienced consultant, researcher, evaluator, facilitator and coach, with nearly 30 years in the cultural sector. Since 2006 she has been the Director of cultural insight consultancy Wafer Hadley, working with diverse clients around the UK, such as Arts Council England, Art Fund, English Heritage, Exeter Cathedral, Hull Museums Partnership, Kettle’s Yard, Opera North, Thackray Museum of Medicine, The National Centre for Early Music and the University of Leeds. Her approach is people-centred and collaborative. Kate started her career as Community Arts and Projects Officer for Leeds City Council. From there she moved into research, data analysis and audience engagement. She spent ten years at Audiences Yorkshire and became Executive Director in 2000, overseeing all consultancy work, including primary audience research, evaluation and training for a membership of over 100 cultural sector organisations.Kate has been a member of the Market Research Society for the last 12 years and regularly participates in their professional development conferences and training. She is also a member of the Association for Qualitative Research. In 2020, Kate qualified as an ILM Level 5 Coach and Mentor.Within the sector, Kate is an early adopter of new planning, research and evaluation tools and techniques. She is currently leading the partnership between Art Fund and Leeds University on the AHRC-funded programme called Failspace, which will explore new ways of talking about success and failure in the cultural sector


Lesley Wood has worked across the creative heritage and education sectors for over 25 year, this includes writing and delivering training, project managing, measuring impact, strategising, consulting, coaching, writing, making things, performing things and learning how to fail better and with grace.

Lesley currently works as Learning Quality and Assurance at Artswork Ltd. and as a freelance artist and consultant outside of those hours.



Dr John Wright is an academic, curator and artist currently working as a postdoctoral research associate with the Centre for Cultural Value, University of Leeds. Wright has previously worked as a visiting lecturer at Leeds Arts University on BA/MA Fine Art and MA Curation Practice. Wright has also been a module leader on MA Critical Studies at Bradford College. In his professional life before academia, Wright co-founded artist-led collective The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe and developed a curatorial background in both museums, galleries and in artist-led activity.