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UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council and DCMS: Expert Advisory Panel Membership

Date: 04/08/2020

UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) today (Tuesday 4 August 2020) announce the members of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Boundless Creativity Joint Research Project.

The Panel represents a wide selection of expertise from across the UK’s arts, culture and creative industries and from across arts and humanities research. Panel members will attend monthly meetings starting this September to glean new insights, explore new data, and gather real-time intelligence from a range of live AHRC research projects. These projects are investigating the impact of the pandemic on the arts, cultural and creative sectors as well as the response of these sectors to the pandemic. This will in turn form a set of recommendations for DCMS’s ongoing Covid-19 recovery plans.

The panel will be co-chaired by Executive Chair of AHRC, Professor Andrew Thompson, and Neil Mendoza, recently appointed the Government’s Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal.

The members of the Expert Advisory Panel are:

  • Professor Andrew Thompson, Arts and Humanities Research Council (Co-Chair)
  • Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, DCMS and Provost, Oriel College, Oxford University (Co-Chair)
  • Dr Joanna Abeyie, Blue Moon
  • Dr Maria Balshaw, TATE
  • John Cassy, Factory 42
  • Professor Helen Chatterjee, University College London
  • Professor Andrew Chitty, Loughborough University London
  • Professor Edward Harcourt, Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Imogen Heap, Recording Artist & multiple tech founder
  • Dr Chris Michaels, National Gallery
  • Neelay Patel, Digital Theatre
  • Sara Pepper, Cardiff University
  • Dr Jo Twist, UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie)

The Expert Advisory Panel will guide the AHRC/DCMS Joint Research Project. Members of the panel will discuss key insights, lessons and findings gathered from a portfolio of live AHRC/UKRI-funded research projects. They will make recommendations for new research programmes, for future policy actions and interventions, and decide how best to disseminate these recommendations.

AHRC/UKRI-funded programmes include Audiences of the Future, Towards a National Collection, the Creative Industries Clusters Programme, and a variety of rapid-response research relating to Covid-19, representing a total investment of over £100 million.

The Expert Advisory Panel will meet monthly until July 2021, following their first meeting this September. Their findings will be released in the summer of 2021.

As part of the Joint Research Project, monthly Forums will be held. Specific areas under consideration include:

  • How the pandemic is paving the way toward new business models in the creative and cultural sector;
  • Accelerated transformation in creative technology, with reference to cultural production and consumption;
  • Challenges and opportunities in adapting to digital consumption;
  • How to accelerate the return to and Covid-proof live events;
  • The monetisation of digital cultural offerings and content;
  • The connection between culture and quality of life, including mental health and well-being.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of Arts and Humanities Research Council, says:

“Culture and creativity are powerful forces. Together they shape our rich shared national heritage. Both of these forces are increasingly entwined with the digital technological revolution of our times. Boundless Creativity is designed to explore the interactions between the cultural and the digital, and between the physical and the virtual worlds. The AHRC is determined to bring to bear the insights from the research we fund on the recovery of our arts, cultural and creative sectors. This joint research project will put the expertise of arts and humanities researchers at the heart of Whitehall, forging a strong knowledge partnership between the AHRC and DCMS.”

Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, says:

“Our culture holds us together. From heritage sites to immersive theatre, culture in all its forms is a vital part of our lives throughout the nation. This project is a unique and immediate opportunity to explore the impact of the pandemic on culture and learn how digital innovation can support the sector’s ultimate recovery and renewal. I look forward to working with this talented panel of experts and creators to bring together insights for the benefit of the sector.”

Museum of Boundless Creativity

The UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Museum of Boundless Creativity will create the first ever collection of a new temporary digital-only museum. The museum will celebrate the UK’s highly successful cultural and creative industries, and culture and creativity more broadly.

Shahidha Bari, Sir Drummond Bone, Catherine Mallyon and Hartwig Fischer make up the panel of curatorial experts who will select the first twenty items to launch the online collection after the closing date of 28 August.

To date diverse and creative selections from Maria Balshaw, Director of the Tate; Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of ITV; and Lord (Chris) Smith (former Secretary of State for Culture) have been submitted.

Panel biographies

Professor Andrew Thompson, Arts and Humanities Research Council (Co-Chair)

Professor Andrew Thompson is the Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) International Champion. He is Professor of Global and Imperial History at University of Oxford, Professional Fellow at Nuffield College and the co-chair of the Global and Imperial History Centre.

At the AHRC, Andrew has secured a £19 million grant for Museums and Galleries, as part of the Strategic Priorities Fund, Towards a National Collection: Opening UK Heritage to the World. He was responsible for securing the £10 million Policy and Evidence Centre for Modern Slavery and Human Rights and a further £80 million Creative Industries programme, funded by the Industrial Strategy. In addition, Andrew is the UKRI Champion for the £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Funds. Andrew will step down as Executive Chair in summer 2020.

Before joining Nuffield College, Andrew was Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter from 2011-2018. From 2009 to 2011 he was Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds and, prior to this appointment, he was Professor of Imperial and Global History at the University of Leeds.

Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, DCMS and Provost, Oxford University (Co-Chair)

Appointed Provost of Oriel College, Oxford in 2018, following a career building businesses in the creative and finance sectors. He is Chair of The Landmark Trust and the Illuminated River Foundation. He has just retired as a non-executive director of DCMS and also as a Commissioner of Historic England. He led the Mendoza Review of Museums in England on behalf of DCMS. He was a former Chair of charity, Children and the Arts and Vice Chair of Soho Theatre. He is on the board of Meira GTx, a gene therapy company.

Dr Joanna Abeyie MBE, Blue Moon

The go-getting 33-year-old has blazed a trail as a multi-award-winning social impact entrepreneur, champion of diversity, inclusion, and equality as well as making a mark as an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. Joanna has spent the last 12 years, increasing the employment of diverse talent through inclusive hiring practices and creating inclusive working cultures. Launching her first charity Elevation Networks Charitable Trust at 18 alongside six colleagues in 2006, following this 2008 Joanna went on to start her own Social Enterprise Shine Media in 2008, saw she placed over 3000 people from diverse backgrounds into work within the creative industries.

Joanna’s latest enterprise is founding Blue Moon, a flagship inclusive Executive Search Business and Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy Practice. Before BM, Joanna founded Hyden, part of FTSE 250 Global Recruiter SThree, an executive search and consultancy business.

Alongside Executive Search success, Joanna has an impressive track record in attracting, recruiting, retaining, and promoting diverse talent and leading businesses through culture transformation, unique recruitment processes, and challenging bias from the top-down and bottom-up. This work, coupled with her personal story, led to her TEDx Talk on Social Mobility in Oman in 2018.

She has been instrumental in establishing the Creative Diversity All-Party Parliamentary Group with Ed Vaizey MP, of which she is a joint secretary. The University of Reading in 2019 awarded Joanna a Distinguished Graduate Award, and she then received an Honorary Doctorate in Business from the University of West England in the same year.

Joanna’s responsibilities do not end there; she is a Non- Exec Director for Investors in People, a Trustee for The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, and the first and only black person to be made a Trustee and Director of The Media Society. Joanna is also a Trustee and Director of Haberdasher Askes Trust Federation Board and School Governor of Hatcham College and Mulberry Academy Shoreditch. Joanna was also awarded her Freedom of the City in 2018 and became the first black and youngest woman to become a Liverywoman for the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers. Joanna was also awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list for her services.

Dr Maria Balshaw CBE, TATE

Dr Maria Balshaw is Director of Tate, a role she has held since June 2017. She has overall responsibility for Tate’s strategic direction and day-to-day operations. She has worked to reframe the context and perspective of this long-established institution to engage with sensitive times, furthering the mission of inclusiveness and equality to connect with a wider audience. As Director, Maria is also the Accounting Officer appointed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Previously, Maria was Director of the Whitworth, University of Manchester; Director of Manchester City Galleries; and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council.

Maria holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Liverpool and a Master of Arts degree in Critical Theory and a DPhil in African American Visual and Literary Culture from the University of Sussex. Maria is board member of the Clore Leadership Programme, Manchester International Festival and the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) Executive Committee. In 2015, she was awarded a CBE for services to the arts.

John Cassy, Factory 42

John Cassy is the Founder and Chief Executive of Factory 42, one of Europe’s leading immersive content studios working with organisations including Sky, BBC, Facebook, Microsoft and a broad range of cultural partners including the Royal Academy of Arts, English National Ballet and Natural History Museum. John oversees the strategic and creative direction of the company as well as Executive Producing major projects including the award-winning ‘Hold the World with David Attenborough’ in the Natural History Museum and Painting the Future. He spent more than a decade in senior roles at Sky, launching and running new channels and technology, while commissioning across genres from sports to factual to music to arts including two UEFA Champions League Finals, two Ryder Cups, Premier League, The Queen’s Speech, and BAFTA winning David Attenborough films. He also created the UK’ s leading Arts TV channels, Sky Arts.

He is a board Governor of the International Advanced Imaging Society in LA, as well as a Trustee of the Almeida Theatre and an Honorary Professor at University of Exeter.

Professor Helen Chatterjee MBE, University College London

Professor Helen Chatterjee’s research includes cultural and natural value, the impact of natural and cultural participation on health, object-based learning, and biodiversity conservation. She co-founded the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, is an advisor to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts and Health, sits on the Royal Society for Public Health’s SIG in Arts and Health, and the IUCN Section on Small

Apes. Her interdisciplinary research has won a range of awards including a Special Commendation from Public Health England for Sustainable Development and most recently the 2018 AHRC-Wellcome Health Humanities Medal and Leadership Award; she received an MBE in 2015 for Services to Higher Education and Culture. Helen has written three books 'Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling' (Berg Publications, 2008), ‘Museums, Health and Well-being’ (Routledge, 2013) and ‘Engaging the Senses: Object- Based Learning in Higher Education’ (Routledge, 2015) and over 50 research articles. She is a Professor of Biology at UCL.

Professor Andrew Chitty, Loughborough University London

Professor Andrew Chitty is AHRC’s Creative Economy Champion, based at Loughborough University London, working to foster new and exciting partnerships between academics and the rapidly growing creative industries. With three decades of experience in the creative industries, Professor Chitty’s career began in television, where he focussed on the cultural impact of science and technology before founding his first company, a multiple BAFTA-winning digital agency that created transformational digital services for clients across the creative economy from the National Theatre to the devolved administrations and from museums and galleries to the NHS. He is a former Vice Chair of the producers’ trade body PACT, a board member of Creative Skillset, and a founding director of Creative England. Andrew has also worked across policy and regulation as a ministerial advisor and non-executive at OFCOM, the telecoms regulator. For the last two years he has worked as UK Research and Innovation's Challenge Director for the Audience of the Future Challenge which with AHRC-lead Creative Industries Clusters Programme comprise the largest programme of applied creative research in the world.

Professor Edward Harcourt, Arts and Humanities Research Council

Edward Harcourt is the Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Professor Harcourt worked for seven years as a lecturer and senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Kent, before starting work at the University of Oxford in 2005, where he is a Fellow of Keble College. A philosopher by profession, much of his research focuses on ethics, with topics spanning moral psychology, child development and mental health. He is a Director of the biennial Oxford Summer Schools in Philosophy and Psychiatry and served until recently as Chair of the Oxford Philosophy Faculty Board.

Imogen Heap, Recording Artist & multiple tech founder

Self produced composer, recording artist and tech enthusiast for over 20 years, Imogen has multiple awards under her belt, her own independent music label and three honorary doctorates. Never sitting still, developing music gestureware MI.MU gloves, an integrated digital ID solution, - The Creative Passport - which empowers music makers to be the change toward a fair and flourishing music ecosystem. Imogen has also released under the skin hits such as Hide and Seek for grown ups to The Happy Song for babies, composing for the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child theatrical production or an AI for herself. An artists’ artist, entrepreneur and mother, she is also part of the advisory board for the Creative Industries Federation/director of the FAC and collaborated with Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Jeff Beck, Nitin Sawhney, Jon Hopkins & many more.

Dr Chris Michaels, National Gallery

Dr Chris Michaels is Director of Digital, Communications and Technology at the National Gallery, London where he sits on their Executive Committee. He is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King's College London, with whom he founded National Gallery X, an innovation lab to look at the future role of technology in art and cultural experiences. At the Gallery, his Directorate has responsibilities for digital services, commercial services, creative, IT and communications. Before he joined the Gallery, he was Head of Digital & Publishing at the British Museum. He has acted as an advisor to the Humboldt Forum in Berlin and to museums in Qatar, Singapore and Norway. Before entering the world of Museums, he was CEO of educational start-up Mindshapes. He has a PHD from the University of Bristol and is studying for an MPA at UCL.

Neelay Patel, Digital Theatre

Neelay Patel is the CEO of Digital Theatre, over the last ten years Neelay has taken on a number of high- profile roles: firstly as European Commercial Director of AOL, followed by five years with The Economist where he successfully launched the digital division, and most recently as an executive at the BBC, where he drove instrumental growth of BBC iPlayer and launched BBC Sounds.

Sara Pepper, Cardiff University

Sara Pepper is Director of Creative Economy at Cardiff University, with two main leadership roles: Director of creative city network Creative Cardiff, and Chief Operating Officer of Clwstwr a £9millionm R&D project promoting innovation in the Welsh economy. Her role is to provide leadership and strategic direction to these initiatives and to work with a wide variety of stakeholders including academic, industry and government partners. Sara is passionate about championing and developing creative talent and ideas and brokering partnerships that enable individuals and organisations to realise their full creative and commercial potential.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie)

Dr Jo Twist has been CEO of Ukie since 2012. Before this she was Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor for Education, where she commissioned Digital Emmy-winning Battlefront II, free to play browser and iOS games, (Sweatshop, Nomnation and International Racing Squirrels) and social media projects. Dr Twist is Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, sits on the Creative Industries Council, is a London Tech Ambassador, a VP of Special Effect, and is on various other boards and advisory groups. Dr Twist was awarded an OBE for her services to the creative industries.

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