My first degree was BsC Sociology from the University of Leicester.My doctoral research was funded by a University of Leicester Popular Culture and Society Studentship and focused on 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 symposium. Within the University, I'm a member of Policy@Manchester operatives group, and affiliated to the Manchester Urban Institute. Externally, I'm lucky to be on a number of arts charity boards and also to get involved in arts volunteering including with my local arts festival, the Macclesfield Barnaby Festival.