Alton Brown: I am a freelance project manager, specialising in Learning and Participatory arts activities, with particular focus on engaging young audiences. I have worked within the arts industry for seven years, in various capacities and for a wide range of organisations. This started with arts administration and marketing within organisations such as the Royal National Theatre and Tricycle, which then moved onto an education focus within organisations such as the Roundhouse, Royal Opera House, Lyric Hammersmith and Southbank Centre. A huge passion of mine is theatre, although my work has involved a wide range of cross art form activities including everything from dance, poetry and singing, to music, prop making and film.
Alongside my career within the arts, I am also an athlete and coach within the sport of Karate, representing the English National Team at the highest levels as well as regularly engaging children and young people through after school clubs, seminars and supporting their progress at events throughout the world, most recently New Zealand. My passion for participatory arts was sparked whilst watching the response from a group of young people who had just achieved an amazing performance on the National Theatre main stage following their NT Connections performance. The sense of achievement that I witnessed was so inspiring that I knew I had to be a part of creating similar opportunities going forwards. Six years on, I am doing exactly this through my two passions, sport and the arts.
Louise French: Before joining Tate, I worked for Australian and UK deafness charities, involving deaf people in delivering outreach projects. A qualified Sigh Language interpreter, I supported Deaf students in Further Education, covering diverse subjects including fine arts, architecture, international law and science. In my current role, I am the Senior Volunteers Manager at Tate, responsible for the public guided tours programme, and overseeing two teams of 230 volunteers.
Committed to broadening access to art, I have developed community partnerships and focussed on involving local people in the life of Tate. In 2013, I completed an MA in Learning and Visitor Studies in Museums and Galleries, researching live art and approaches to interpretation. In the last year I have volunteered with the Education Department of Bruce Castle Museum, Tottenham, and with the Young People s programme at The Geffrye as a Creative Workshop and Project Volunteer. I subtitle theatre and study drawing.
Victoria Mayes: Victoria Mayes currently works as Informal Learning Manager at MK Gallery. Over a 13 year period, working as both an artist and educator, has provided the opportunity to build up a wealth of skills and experience relevant to the arts sector. Victoria s career path has allowed the chance to learn from a mix of creative and inspiring individuals who have helped identify the power of gallery education and appreciate the benefits of high quality engagement opportunities to help inspire others. Victoria now draws upon a wide knowledge base which continues to help develop support her own and others learning.
Victoria s current role includes the responsibility to oversee a varied and busy Informal Learning Programme which includes working with early years, families, young people and adults. Her programme offers an holistic approach to an individual s learning and strives to provide access to and enjoyment of the contemporary arts.
Carly Mee: I studied Drama at University and on graduating worked on several shows in stage management and producing roles, including stage managing a touring TIE show into secondary schools. This sparked my interest in working with young people so I was able to secure a role within the Education and Community Department of Sutton Theatres where I worked as a workshop leader and later as a coordinator within the department on several different projects. I then relocated to the Midlands and joined Warwick Arts Centre initially as an Education Assistant which was a new post I was able to shape and build. I developed the role into an Education Officer position with much greater responsibility and project management and financial accountability, recruiting casual and freelance staff and managing large-scale arts education programmes. It is a very varied and interesting position and no two days are ever the same!
Andrea Mercer: Andrea Mercer is the Silk Mill Programme and Participation Manager for Derby Museums and leads on the approach to learning and programming for the organisation. Andrea has been working with key partners and audiences on the development of the Silk Mill and its programmes including a key project Re:Make the Museum, which sees the Silk Mill s first Makers- in-Residence Studio TILT join the museums team and the project architects in engaging members of the public to design, prototype and manufacture onsite, all of the furniture and fittings needed for the ground floor fit-out.
Andrea has a background in arts, architecture and built environment education, working with communities and key stakeholders on the development of urban spaces and places.
Janette Robinson: As Head of Learning at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), Janette leads the development and management of Learning at YSP which underpins all the organisations activities. She is Director of the Whitby on Fire network and the engage Area Representative for Yorkshire. Previously, Janette worked as Education Programme Manager at Tees Valley Arts (TVA) 2003-2007. Before assuming this post, she held two simultaneous development roles at TVA specialising in arts in formal education and social exclusion. Prior to Tees Valley, Janette has worked in a variety of freelance roles between 1993 – 2002, from an artist working in wide range of community settings, to developing and managing cultural programmes. Janette currently sits on the steering group for the National Arts Education Archive and is a member of a cultural partnership for the Peace Park, Podujevë, Kosova.
Kate Self: I have been employed as Learning Co-ordinator at Ikon Gallery for 4 years. When I started my full time position in 2009 I set-up Ikon s Youth Porgramme. In January 2011 Ikon was awarded a grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to initiate Slow Boat, an innovative three year project aimed at engaging young people with contemporary artists and the local heritage and history of the inland waterways. Slow Boat, a converted canal boat has become a catalyst for exhibitions, events and discussions. Each year lead artists are commissioned to set a thematic and deliver a programme of engaging activity involving IYP members who gain a unique experience of working with artists.
I first joined Ikon in 2005 and worked part time for 2 years as Education Assistant whilst also teaching Foundation Studies Art & Design at Stourbridge College. I graduated from Winchester School of Art (BA Hons: Fine Art, Painting). In 2008 I left Ikon to begin a postgraduate degree (MA: Contemporary Art Theory) at Goldsmiths and worked part time as part of the Learning Department at Tate Modern as Resource Room Co-ordinator.
Fiona Smith: Fiona is currently the National Cultural Coordinator at the charity Irish in Britain. She works to deliver high quality collaborative arts initiatives and has extensive experience working with communities in arts and cultural contexts in both Britain and Ireland. She is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, achieving a first class honours from the University in 2006. Before moving to the big smoke, she worked at the National Youth Council of Ireland in Dublin and on a pilot Learning in Libraries programme across the South East of Ireland.
Kamina Walton: I see myself as an educator, artist and facilitator and my creative practice is about empowering people and giving them a voice. I have worked with people aged 4 to 80 in schools, community centres, hospitals and galleries, across education, mental health and through 1:1 mentoring.
I have extensive experience of project management and of programming and hosting both large and small scale events. I have a good track record of fundraising, marketing events via print and social media. I am also an experienced documentor and evaluator. In everything I do I consider audience to ensure that the work created by me and by others is made visible and accessible in the most appropriate ways possible. Over the years I have developed strong links across Bristol s cultural sector, with both small and large scale organisations, and these relationships have proved invaluable in my work.
Caroline Austin: I have always been involved within arts and learning. I attended Glasgow School of /Art and graduated with an honours degree in design: ceramics. I continued on to complete a Masters of Philosophy I research and wrote a 20,000 word thesis looking at the role of the practising artist I contemporary gallery education. When I was studying I spent a period of time abroad in Hungary on the Erasmus Exchange Programme. I also worked part time in a variety of settings teaching arts and crafts.
I moved to the Burrell Collection in July 2005 to commence employment as a Learning Assistant for Glasgow Museums Service. I covered all aspects of this role including designing educational workshops for schools and interpretation for exhibitions. More recently, I moved to a similar role at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow where I continue to learn and develop my skills in gallery education.
Nicola Gilcreest: I am currently Arts Coordinator at Crisis Skylight Edinburgh. In 2013 I moved to Edinburgh to set and deliver a brand new arts provision for homeless people in the city. I am a coach and mentor with a particular interest in arts and inclusion. I was Women’s Progression Coordinator at Crisis London from 2008 – 2012 where I started an arts learning project for homeless women. I am particularly interested in partnership working, participation and community development.
Prior to joining Crisis I completed a graduate diploma in Adult and Community Learning and worked as a freelance Artist Educator and as a designer maker. After a degree in Crafts Ceramics and Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University I undertook a year long artist’s residency at Clapham Pottery followed by several years’ practice as a workshop leader and project manager.
Fiona Mair: I have an MA(Hons.) in History from the University of St Andrews and a postgraduate MA in Heritage Education and Interpretation from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. I worked for The National Trust at Soutar Lighthouse as a Learning Assistant before moving to Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery as Schools Support Officer for Aston Hall, as part of Renaissance in the Regions. I took the post of Lifelong Learning Officer for Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums in 2005, which has subsequently evolved into my current role as Learning Manager. My main professional interests are in adult and informal learning.
Lesley – Ann Smith: Lesley-Ann Smith is the Education & Projects Officer at Enterprise Music Scotland and Acting Instrumental Music Service Manager for West Dunbartonshire Council s Instrumental Music Service. She has extensive experience of designing and administering music education workshops across Scotland as well as devising and managing a variety of projects, most recently the upcoming music education conference, Music Education Matters.
Lesley-Ann graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in music performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2007. She worked as an instrumental instructor across multiple Instrumental Music Services before deciding to move into an arts administration role. She also worked as a community musician for Artlink Central for 4 years which included training students on community music placement from the RCS and as a freelance double bassist. Her performance credits include BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Scottish Concert Orchestra and Scottish Festival Orchestra.
Maggie James: Maggie James studied at the Royal College of Art, Painting School, and has an ongoing studio practice; recent exhibitions include ‘Open Books Plus’ currently touring China. Her paintings are in private and public collections in the UK. During a 2-person show at Aberystwyth Art Centre, she took part in the Opt for Art programme, which led to her subsequent interest in gallery education.Earlier work as a part-time lecturer on Foundation and Fine Art courses, as an Open Access tutor with the OCA and as a community education worker, prepared the way for her current work.
Maggie runs the education programme at BayArt, an artist led gallery in South Wales. 'The ethos of the space, managed by practicing professional artists, is to catalyse creativity." The gallery was awarded Cardiff Arts Mark Award in 2009. Maggie is engage area representative for South Wales and is member of Butetown Artists Studios.
Cath Sherrell: After studying Ceramics and Photography at Camberwell School of Art, Cath Sherrell spent 10 years working on various Youth and Community Arts projects in London. She has been Education Officer for the Visual Arts at Aberystwyth Arts Centre since 1992 where she is responsible for an extensive participatory programme. This includes a range of weekly courses for adults and children; an extensive programme for schools; gallery workshops, talks and conferences; demonstrations and artist in residence projects; outreach activities and special projects with vulnerable or marginalised groups; exhibitions of participants’ work, intensive “Master Classes” and summer schools with nationally and internationally renowned artists.
She has contributed to many boards and committees with responsibility for the arts and education including; Opt for Art, engage Board of Trustees, Wales at Venice Committee (3 terms), the International Ceramics Festival, and currently, Wales Festival of Architecture, The Eye International Photography Festival, engage Cymru development group.