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Team

Meet our team

We have a small core team based at the University of Leeds. We also work closely with our team of Associate Directors who provide specialist expertise and academic leadership, and are based in partner universities across the UK.

Ben Walmsley

Ben Walmsley

Director

Ben provides strategic and research leadership for the Centre, develops our profile and builds partnerships with the academic and cultural sectors. He also leads on our relationships with stakeholders.

Ben is Professor of Cultural Engagement and Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds. His research encompasses arts management, arts marketing, audience studies and cultural policy, with a focus on audience engagement and enrichment; change management in the arts; and cultural value and leadership.

Prior to his academic career, Ben had 10 years’ experience in arts management, most recently as Producer at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Anne Torreggiani

Anne Torreggiani

Co-Director

Anne works with Ben in representing the Centre to funders and stakeholders. She helps develop our relationships in the cultural sector, particularly with sector networks. Anne guides the development of the centre’s engagement strategy and sector-facing resources including a mass online open course (MOOC) on research and evaluation.

Anne is the founder and Chief Executive of The Audience Agency, the UK national charity for public engagement with arts, museums and heritage, enabling reach, relevance and resilience across the sector. Anne has been influential, over three decades, improving practice and advocating for change in the cultural sector, especially in terms of encouraging an audience-centred approach and in the use of data and other evidence in the development of policy and practice.

Liz Harrop

Liz Harrop

Centre Manager

Liz makes sure the Centre runs effectively, providing project management expertise to make sure we’re achieving our objectives. As well as managing the Centre’s activities Liz oversees our Collaborate funding programme.

Liz has worked as a senior project manager for the University of Leeds for six years, most recently as part of the University’s Cultural Institute where she was Evaluation Manager for the National Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Programme. Prior to this she worked in the civil service implementing a national sector skills development strategy, and managed arts development projects for local authorities and national charities.

Tamsin Curror

Tamsin Curror

Communications Manager

Tamsin helps us communicate what we do and why to our stakeholders and audiences. She provides strategic direction for all our communications and developed the brand and digital presence for the centre.

Tamsin brings significant communications experience in the cultural and publishing sectors. She was Communications Manager for the Creative People and Places network where she developed its website, brand and partnerships as well as shaping a conference and events programme and commissioning research. She has also worked at Arts Council England and Leeds College of Music.

Dr Robyn Dowlen

Robyn Dowlen

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Robyn synthesises and summarises relevant research and helps make it as accessible as possible to the cultural sector. Her current focus is an extensive review of research and practice relating to arts and health.

Robyn completed her PhD in 2019 which examined ‘in the moment’ benefits of music-making for people living with dementia. After her PhD Robyn spent time as a research associate at the University of Manchester on the Neighbourhoods and Dementia study before joining the Centre team as the Post-Doctoral Research Associate.

Meg Rowley Communications Officer

Meg Rowley (maternity leave)

Communications Officer

Meg helps us to communicate our work and reach new audiences. This includes promoting our research digests and events, creating and scheduling engaging content for our social channels and ensuring our resources and platforms can be accessed by as many people as possible.

Meg has worked in communications for charities Youth Scotland and the Soil Association Scotland. Most recently, she has worked in tactical and strategic communications roles at the NHS Confederation and NHS Digital. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing and is a regular contributor to The State of the Arts.

John Wright

John Wright

Postdoctoral Research Associate

John synthesises and summarises relevant research and helps make it as accessible as possible to the cultural sector. His current focus is an extensive review of research and practice relating everyday creativity and participation.

John completed his PhD in 2020 which examined artist-led collectives through the lens of friendship to better understand the values art and locality.

John is co-founder of artist-led collective The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe and has a curatorial background in both museums, galleries and in artist-led activity. His research interests include collectivism in art, the role of place in shaping artist-led activity and the intersections between cultural policy and visual arts ecologies.

Amy Rushby

Amy Rushby

Communications Officer (Maternity Cover)

Amy is covering Meg’s role whilst she is on Maternity Leave. She helps us to communicate our work and reach new audiences. This includes promoting our research digests and events, creating and scheduling engaging content for our social channels and ensuring our resources and platforms can be accessed by as many people as possible.

Amy has over 15 years’ experience working in communication roles in the arts, culture and non-profit sectors. She worked as part of the marketing team at the Royal Shakespeare Company before starting a freelance career in 2017. As a freelancer she has worked with a range of clients to deliver marketing campaigns, digital marketing consultancy, digital advertising, social media management, training and mentoring.

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