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Centre for Cultural Value appoints new director



Blue background with white rings and lines. Photo of Stephen Dobson in front of a window. He is wearing a grey jacket, black jumper and white shirt

Dr Stephen Dobson, Associate Professor of Creativity and Enterprise at the University of Leeds, will become Centre Director from August 2024

After five years at the helm, Professor Ben Walmsley will step down as Director of the Centre for Cultural Value this summer.

The Centre was established in 2019 to build a shared understanding of the differences that arts, culture, heritage and screen make to people’s lives and society. It is funded by the Arts and Humanity Research Council, Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and is based at the University of Leeds.

Since its creation, Ben has provided strategic and research leadership, helping to develop the Centre’s profile and build partnerships with key stakeholders.

Ben Walmsley says:

It’s been an incredible privilege to lead the Centre for Cultural Value over its first five years, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of our brilliant team, colleagues across the University of Leeds, associate academics and cultural practitioners, and, of course, our visionary funders.

The Centre has rapidly become a trusted brand across the arts, cultural, heritage and screen sectors, and I’m excited to see what it achieves over the next few years under Steve’s leadership. I’m delighted to be staying on as Associate Director for Policy to continue the Centre’s work on data and policy engagement.

Ben will remain at the University of Leeds as Dean of Cultural Engagement.

Dr Stephen Dobson will formally start his new role as Director of the Centre from August 2024. Steve is an Associate Professor of Creativity and Enterprise in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries.

Steve’s research explores cultural planning and tourism, entrepreneurial identity and creative enterprise, the creative workplace and leadership for fostering innovation and creativity. He routinely works with global partners, advising on leadership in the arts and cultural industries and creative enterprise ecosystems.

Previously, Steve was a Board Member and UK representative for the European Academy of Management (EURAM) and a Trustee of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE).

Steve Dobson says:

The Centre for Cultural Value has now established itself as a significant national research centre working alongside cultural practitioners and organisations, academics, funders and policymakers to influence real change. Joining the Centre family in delivering such invaluable support to the sector is an incredible privilege, and I look forward to supporting the whole team in shaping its future as it continues to spotlight why arts and culture matter.

At the Centre, we are delighted that we will continue to benefit from Ben’s expertise in his new policy-focused Associate Director role. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, we are also excited to welcome Steve as our new Director. We look forward to working with him as we enter this exciting new chapter.

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