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Personal profile


Postgraduate Programmes

I am currently Director of the Institute for Cultural Practices which was founded in 2009 to oversee postgraduate taught and research programmes for arts, heritage, creative and cultural industries. These programmes include Masters in Art Gallery and Museum Studies, Arts Management, Policy and Practice, Heritage Studies, and Creative and Cultural Industries. PhD programmes in these areas include a PhD by Professional Practice in Arts and Cultural Management and Museum Practice. 


I have a background in sociology, and undertook my doctoral research project at the University of Leicester investigating popular music, cultural policy and local cultural management. Since then, I have worked on a range of policy-related academic research projects, including an AHRC funded study of the Millennium Dome, an ESRC study of Local Music Industries and Economic Development in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, and the development of local cultural strategies and creative industries mapping. For five years (between 2004 - 2009) I held advisory and consultancy positions to the cultural sector with non-departmental bodies in the North West, and was the founding Director of the online regional research capability, the Northwest Culture Observatory. I returned to work in the higher education sector in 2009, developing a number of new postgraduate programmes in arts management and cultural policy.

Since then I've been involved in a range of research, knowledge exchange and public engagement activities for the School of Arts Languages and Cultures and the Faculty of Humanities, concerning the role and value of the arts and relationships between culture, place and policy. I regularly speak on these topics at academic conferences and sector symposia. Within the University, I work closely with Policy@Manchester and am affiliated to the Manchester Urban Institute. I am also a Co-I on the AHRC Policy and Evidence Centre for Creative Industries (the PEC) along with colleagues in SALC and AMBS.  Externally, I have been a trustee and Chair for a number of arts charities including, Brighter Sound, a music education organisation in Manchester, the Macclesfield Barnaby Festival, which I founded in 2009, and Abandon Normal Devices, a roving digital arts and culture festival. 

Research interests

Research interests focus on culture and place, local cultural management, cultural mapping and planning methodologies, collaboration and knowledge making relationships between higher education and the arts. Research strategies favour collaborative, practice-based and practice-led interdisciplinary research drawing on mixed methods.

Between 2012 - 2018 I was Co-Investigator on the AHRC Connected Communities large-grant project Understanding Everyday Participation - Articulating Cultural Value which led to research outputs including a monograph on the role of the public park within local cultural policy. I am currently leading a research network Beyond the Creative City, with partners in Manchester, Melbourne and Toronto, as part of my research as a Co-I on the AHRC Policy and Evidence Centre for Creative Industries.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Social Science, Popular music in the city: An Examination of Scenes, Popular Music Practice and Cultural Policy in Leicester, University of Leicester

Sep 1995Dec 1999

Award Date: 7 Jul 2000

Bachelor of Social Science, BSc Sociology, University of Leicester

Sep 1992Jul 1995

Award Date: 6 Jul 1995

External positions

External Examiner, Lasalle / University of the Arts, Singapore

1 May 2021 → …

Chair / Trustee, Macclesfield Barnaby Festival Ltd

1 Sep 201631 Dec 2021

External Examiner, MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies, University of Leeds

Sep 2016Sep 2018

Trustee, Abandon Normal Devices

21 Jun 20161 Nov 2022

External Examiner, MA Arts Project Management/Curatorial Studies, Birmingham City University

Jun 2016Sep 2018

Chair of Trustees, Brighter Sound

20 Feb 201230 Sep 2019

Areas of expertise

  • HT Communities. Classes. Races
  • sociology of culture
  • GV Recreation Leisure
  • local cultural policy
  • JS Local government Municipal government
  • cultural policy
  • M Music
  • popular music
  • AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
  • museum management

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Policy@Manchester
  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Urban Institute


  • cultural policy, arts management, cultural planning, locality, place, participation


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