I am the Associate Professor (Civic Practice) for the University of Derby where I lead the University Institutional Success Measure for Civic. I also lead CivicLAB an Institution-wide centre on participatory culture, creative dialogue, and civic practice. I am part of the Pedagogic Innovation Enhancement and Research team (PIER), based in the Provost of Learning and Teaching.
Accolades include: finalist for Universities Alliance Award (2022), Shed of the year finalist (2020), UK Green Gown Awards: Benefiting Community (2021). I have been selected as a social regenerative entrepreneur and am a Catalyst Grant holder from, the Royal Society of Arts (2023-4). I founded the CIC, Designing Dialogue(S.H.E.D) in 2019 a public arts, touring and innovation space which has received several national honours and funding from partners such as Design Council, UK, CHEAD, Arts Council England, RSA and local trusts and councils. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
I am a member of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and Trustee of New Art Exchange, a ground-breaking, Global Majority, NPO for Arts Council England and an award-winning and internationally recognised Gallery. I regularly work with the Council for Higher Education in Art and Design, British Academy and Design Council UK. My research into placemaking is a case study for the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange and presented at the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group. I am a published academic, most recently a chapter with Intellect Books (2024) and one with Council for Higher Education in Art and Design on Women in Leadership (2024) and frequently provide keynotes Nationally and Internationally within the Creative and Cultural Industry Sector. I judged the UKNA artists in 2024 and judged the Derbyshire Community Business Awards for East Midlands Chamber of Commerce in 2022-23.
As a thought leader in Social and Design innovation and I am Chair of Cumulus: International Contemporary Working Art Group, the only Global Association in Art and Design. I am a DerbyCAN steering group member, Stakeholder for Bolton Arts CIC. I am a regular participant of the All Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group and provided a case study on Place for the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange.
In 2012, I co-founded InDialogue, a collaborative international research project that interrogates how artists and researchers use dialogue in their practice. InDialogue has curated four International Conferences, hosted three International residencies and supported over 600 artists since 2012 – 2020 from over 15 countries.
I am the founding director and CEO / Creative Director of Designing Dialogue (S.H.E.D) a Community Interest Company that currently runs S.H.E.D. A mobile flat-pack, popup arts venue and public space dedicated to artistic research through public engagement. It is the first-ever Spinout company for the University of Derby and has led on high profile national projects working with National Museums, F.A Charitable Trusts, Local Authorities, Councils and Foundations, Festivals, National Forrest, Schools, Creative and Cultural Industry Partners across the UK. It has had over 25,000 people attend with 24k plus engagements. It was Installed at V&A Dundee (2021) for Design for Planet, Commissioned by Design Council, UK for their Summit for COP26 and recently a solo exhibition at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham.
I have contributed articles to the Performance Research Journal and International Journal of Creative Practice. Most recently, my work has been published in Applied Pedagogies in HE: Real-World Learning and Innovation, as a case study by Palgrave Macmillan and a chapter for the Intellect Play-text Series Acts of Dramaturgy: The Shakespeare Trilogy chapter entitled 'Endings are not always completed with a full stop'. I have publications in Journal Research for All and Un/writing the landscape, re/figuring the body supported by PABlish – Bergen Performing Arts and the National Library for Norway. I have presented research papers and workshops internationally, such as, What is Design after Design? University Rome, 2021 and an exhibiting artist in Format21.
I have an MA in Performance & Live Art from Nottingham Trent University and received a Ph.D. from Nottingham Trent University in 2016: ‘The Artistry of Conversation’. I am a member of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and DESIS, UK researcher for Design for Emergency (2020). I am a member of Co-Creating Change Midlands Network: Arts & Culture. Guest Speaker for Design for Planet (2021), PolicyConnect an All Party Parliamentary Group (2021-22), RCA (2023), RSA (2024) and National Saturday Club (2024). I have been the delivery partner of CHEAD for their Annual Conference (2021) and worked with them on a series of Women in Leadership events (2023 - 2024).
Find out more about my work
I have a PhD by practice from Nottingham Trent University (2016). In which the thesis The Artistry of Conversation looked at the performative and tactile nature of Conversation.
My research continues to focus on the artistic design of dialogue.
To do this, it explores the use of artistic practice as a methodology to create opportunities for discourse with the public on urgent social, political and economic matters.
I employ innovative research processes, in order to create civic dialogues through creative place-making. This in turn supports the development of new models for increasing social mobility, through widening access to arts, culture and education. To this end, the research acts as an instigator for positive change, addressing the impact of socially/civic engaged discourse.
To do this, I work closely with the cultural, sporting, creative sectors and the public. I have international partnerships, with Cumulus and DESIS and work with colleagues from across H.E Sector. By doing this, it generates spaces for conversation between H.E and Creative Cultural Organisations. The research process is always collaborative and typically the work manifests in the form of exhibitions, published texts, and symposia operating both nationally and internationally.
Experience in industry
I am Associate Professor (Civic) for University of Derby where I lead the Civic Lab. I am chair of Cumulus: International Contemporary Working Art Group, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for New Art Exchange and have been a resident artist at Primary Studios, Nottingham for 10 years. I am a DerbyCAN steering group member, Stakeholder for Bolton Arts CIC and a member of National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, UK lead partner for the Design for Emergency project with DESIS. I am a regular member of the All Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group and a regular guest speaker for CHEAD. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and heading up Saturday Club, Society and Change in Derby (2023-) and overseas Make/Shift, the Creative People and Places ACE project. In 2012, I co-founded InDialogue, a collaborative international research project that has curated four International Conferences, hosted three International residencies and supported over 600 artists since 2012 – from over 15 countries. I am the founding director and CEO / Creative Director of Designing Dialogue (S.H.E.D) a Community Interest Company that runs S.H.E.D. A mobile flat-pack, popup arts venue and public space dedicated to artistic research through public engagement. To date, it has delivered a wide range of projects in different cities working with National Museums, F.A Charitable Trusts, Local Authorities, Councils and Foundations, Festivals, National Forrest, Schools, Creative and Cultural Industry Partners across the UK. It has had over 10,000 people attend with 24k plus engagements and recently shortlisted for Shed of the year, 2020, was a finalist in the UK Green Gown Awards for ‘benefiting community’ 2021, and finalist for Universities Alliance Award 2022. It is the first-ever Spinout company for the University of Derby. Installed at V&A Dundee (2021) for Design for Planet, Commissioned by Design Council, UK for their Summit for COP26 and series of installations at the National Justice Museum (2020-2023), Timber Festival, National Forrest 2022-2023.
I am Chair of the Contemporary working Art Group for Cumulus Association, the international network for Art and Design Education.
I continue to partner with organisations such as University of Ohio, Chicago Institute Performing Arts, Bergen Academy, National Library of Norway, ELIA, European Cultural Academy.
Various regional and national print, radio and television interviews, examples including:
- BBC Radio Nottingham
- National Press with S.H.E.D
- BBC Radio Derby
- East Midlands Today BBC News
- NottsTV (various)
- Kemet FM
- Nottingham Post
- West Bridgford Wire
- The Times
- Left Lion
- Art Industry
- Primary Programme Notes