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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


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


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.

Mikey Nissenbaum

Mikey Nissenbaum

Digital Content and Events Coordinator

Mikey coordinates and supports the delivery of our events and digital content, as well as ensuring the smooth running of the centre with its external partners. Mikey has recently worked with Robyn to co-produce the centre’s new podcast Reflecting Value.

Previously Mikey has worked in event production/co=ordination for organisations such as Crisis at Christmas, The Roundhouse and the BBC. He’s also provided freelance media production for a variety companies in screen and radio.

Alex Lancastle

Alex Lancastle

Project Coordinator

Alex coordinates and supports the delivery of our Covid-19 research project, working closely with the project researchers, partners and external stakeholders. Alex ensures the smooth day-to-day running of the project as well as helping to disseminate the emerging findings to as wide an audience as possible.

Alex’s background is in media production, and he has coordinated projects for V21 Artspace and Sheffield International Documentary Festival, as well as working on virtual exhibitions for UCL and Sony World Photography Awards, and immersive installations with partners such as HOME and the Barbican.

Meg Rowley Communications Officer

Meg Rowley

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.

Benedetta D'Ettorre

Benedetta D’Ettorre

Post Graduate Research Assistant

Benedetta supports Robyn in the work of synthesis of relevant research and literature relating to arts and health.

Benedetta is a PhD candidate at the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds. She has been awarded a scholarship to work on a collaborative doctoral partnership with East Street Arts to research the sustainability of artists’ spaces and organisations.

In 2020, she was awarded ESRC Impact Acceleration funding for a placement to study how arts organisations can support community resilient responses after environmental disasters. Benedetta is engaged in teaching at the University and has been accredited Associate Fellowship by the HEA, outside of academia she writes on contemporary art and works as a freelance curator.

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