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Lara Ratnaraja

Lara is a freelance cultural consultant specialising in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration and cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sectors. She develops

Lara is a Cultural Consultant who specialises in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration, and cultural policy implementation within HE, cultural and digital sectors. She co-created the Hello Culture event series  (how cultural and digital technology intersects), and has developed, managed, and delivered successful ERDF, ESF, ACE, AHRC bids, and programmes working within the public sector, HE and he commercial sector. She works or has worked with the University of Birmingham, Coventry University, Birmingham City University STEAMhouse and University of Salford delivering and developing projects on diversity, digital engagement and research collaborations between arts, HEIs and SMEs. Other consultancy clients include Artangel, FACT, Southbank, the ICO, Warwick Arts Centre, Jerwood Arts, Imagineer, The Big Draw, Film Hub and West  Midlands Screen Bureau.

She was the broker at the University of Birmingham on the AHRC Funded CATH Project (Collaborative Triple Helix) which developed 19 collaborative projects across the East and West Midlands with academics from the both Birmingham and Leicester Universities, cultural organisations and digital SMEs. The research project led to long term collaborative working and investment. She subsequently became Senior Research Facilitator leveraging investment for further knowledge transfer and research collaborations between academics, cultural organisations and artists across the sector. As Sector Development Director – Creative, Cultural and Digital, Business Link West Midlands she ran a £6 million programme for the creative, cultural and digital sectorWith Helga Henry, she co-produced RE:Present, ASTONish, AD:Vantage and EmPOWer;  leadership development programmes which supported the development of cultural leaders from diverse backgrounds so that the cultural ecology of the city better reflects its changing demographicLara is on the board of Derby Theatre, Vivid Projects and  Coventry Biennial and the Advisory Group for  SHOUT Festival,. She is on the UK Council for Creative UK  and the Equality Monitoring Group for Arts Council Wales.

Lara is an Associate  of The Fifth Sector team working on a number of projects with a focus on inclusion and digital including the  Tees Valley Combined Authority Cultural and Visitor Economy Frameworks ,  Rushmoor Cultural Strategy and Compact,  Derby Cultural Compact and now Somerset . Other Fifth Sector assignments include devising governance arrangements for a new, more diverse, and inclusive Cultural Consortium for Manchester

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