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AMA Board Elections 2018 – Candidates’ Manifestos

Alia Raffia Ullah

Media & Marketing Officer, Manchester Museum

Image courtesy of Alia Raffia Ullah

Proposer: Steve Devine, Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum

Seconder: Ian Smith, Manchester Museums Partnership


I have worked in some of the UK’s most ethnically diverse and deprived areas, in care and culture. This has equipped me with the vision and ability to make a real and lasting change in diversity and inclusion in arts marketing. Through our collective work on audience development and engagement we can tackle inequalities, including class, a concern in the sector.

Whilst managing community development projects across Greater Manchester, my passion for trend-watching was noticed and was headhunted into fashion PR. I understand both community and commercial needs, transforming Manchester Museum’s visitor demographics; increasing diversity and first-time visitors through relevant, inclusive marketing strategies.

Recognising the rapid growth of digital marketing, I have built an engaged following of over 280k across Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I support arts organisations to leverage social media in new ways, reaching new audiences through influencer collaborations and creative campaigning. I am working with the Manchester Museum Partnership, devising a digital strategy and up-skilling staff to become digitally literate.

If elected I will offer a fresh perspective to inclusive campaigning, digital communications and prototyping. I will ensure the AMA adds value for its members, listening to what you want, to develop relevant training and networking opportunities.

Why is the AMA important?

In a post-Brexit world at a time of socio-political and economic uncertainty, the arts are important. The AMA has shown great leadership around tackling inequalities through the 360 Diversity Strategy and initiatives such as the Audience Diversity Academy. It is proactively helping to future-proof organisations and thinking about what digital marketing looks like in a fast-paced digital landscape.

The AMA helps to enhance the reputation of the sector, through challenging organisations to be innovative in their practice. I believe in the direction the AMA is heading and have the same commitment to bring about change – I want to help.

Chloe McMackin

Marketing and Communications Manager, Palace Theatre and Opera House, Manchester (ATG)

Image courtesy of Chloe McMackin

Proposer: Rosanna Cant, The Mighty Creatives

Seconder: David Jackson, Palace Theatre and Opera House, Manchester (ATG)


Having written to the local theatre in a bid to gain some work experience whilst studying, I never could have imagined what lay ahead! I immediately fell in love with the world of arts marketing and went on to build my career at Curve Theatre during an exciting period of the organisation’s development. Last year, I then moved home to Manchester for my current role as Marketing and Communications Manager at the Palace Theatre and Opera House.

I have been extremely lucky to work for a diverse range of organisations and feel I have built key skills and experience in creative marketing, press, leadership, business planning and audience development, all of which I would use to become a valued and impactful member of the AMA Board.

Added to this is my supreme passion for the arts and commitment to making cultural experiences open for all. From working on Curve’s first ever Dementia Friendly performance to creating a free scratch night to introduce people to theatre for the first time at Loughborough Town Hall, one of the main things I love about my job is seeing new audiences engaging with the arts and how these experiences enrich lives.

Why is the AMA important?

The AMA provides a platform for its members to grow their skills, make connections, share learnings, be creative and challenge convention… which is exciting! They also create and implement important strategies, such as the 360 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which support and guide members in their work.

All of this helps to bring about positive change, whether this be on a personal, organisational or industry scale, and this is paramount for the arts to survive and continue to thrive. In today’s climate, it’s vital that we celebrate our industry and find new ways to highlight the benefits of cultural engagement

Darren Smallman

Marketing Manager, Brighton Fringe

Image courtesy of Flare Studio © Justin Hopes

Proposer: Marilena Reina, Brighton Dome

Seconder: Chloe Barker, South East Dance


Back in 1989 I played my first gig in the Australian DIY punk scene that launched a career that is still my passion to this day. Originally taking on the role of record label and touring company owner, I spent the 90’s and 00’s working with incredible artists, labels, festivals and venues around the world, managing everything from marketing, production, distribution and design to press, publishing and tour management.

When I moved to the UK in 2010, I began a new path working within the community arts sector. My current role at Brighton Fringe manages all marketing, design, press and events with a focus on creative campaign delivery, partnership development, systems and outreach tools development as well as progressive team management.

With the constantly shifting nature of the modern arts industry, it is more important than ever to have a broad range of experience and contacts across work and territories. I would love to bring my expertise to the Arts Marketing Association and help continue the ever challenging process of education and outreach across the arts sector.

Without the arts we wouldn’t have a home for ideas, passions and community, and these ideas need nurturing and support from all.

Why is the AMA important?

Education, collaboration and adaption are key in the changing landscape of arts marketing. These three elements are integral to the industry, our own professional development and the wider community.

The Arts Marketing Association is leading the conversation across the industry, helping all involved to become better at what they do, and developing collaboration and insight into the way forward. What else is more important for the generations of artists, performers and professionals to come?

Gareth Beedie

Head of Communications, National Theatre Wales

Image courtesy of Dan Brown ©

Proposer: Matt Carwardine-Palmer, Welsh National Opera

Seconder: Adam McDougall, National Theatre of Scotland


If you’d told me when I started working in the arts that I would still be doing so over 20 years later, I’d have said – don’t you threaten me.

In that time I’ve worked for opera, ballet and theatre companies on all kinds of marketing and communications campaigns, for all kinds of shows and events in a multitude of venues and found spaces in the UK and beyond.

I’m still working in this sector because I genuinely believe that people will always want a shared, meaningful, live experience and that’s why the arts remain relevant. I further believe that it is the role of the communications, press and marketing departments to think about those people and to be their voice within the organisation. What will they think, feel, experience and what does that look like? How do we begin to tell that story to them?

It is this combination of experience, curiosity and strong desire to be more strategic – combined with the fact that I know exactly what it feels like to be sweating buckets about that gig/season/show/event next week not selling – that I believe would make me a good AMA board member.

Why is the AMA important?

In an industry that feels to me more and more driven by the day to day pressures of achieving targets and of justifying its existence, it’s hugely important to me that a professional body like the AMA exists. That is there to support, develop and promote the strategic development of both the industry and the many marketing and communications individuals working within it.

Helga Brandt

Freelance Arts Marketing Consultant & Marketing Manager (p/t), The Write Brandt & Hofesh Shechter Company

Image courtesy of Helga Brandt

Proposer: Andy Shepard, New Theatre Royal

Seconder: Beckie Smith, Flying Geese


From a background in archaeology I came to performing arts marketing in 2001 and have been working both in Germany and here in the UK. I have mainly held roles in marketing and communications but also in dramaturgy, interpretation and public engagement, always following my desire to connect audiences with the work on stage.
I’ve held various positions in dance, theatre and at the interface between theatre and heritage, working in small, mid and large-scale venues, and providing strategic leadership as Head of Marketing and Development at Pavilion Dance South West (2013 – 2017).
I now work as Marketing Manager for Hofesh Shechter Company and as freelance Arts Marketing Consultant.
I am particularly interested in the crossover between marketing and fundraising and in a coaching culture within management and organisations.
I am standing for election because I would like to give back to the AMA and its members, who have been providing me with training and CPD opportunities, mentoring and peer support for the most part of my career in the UK.

Why is the AMA important?

The AMA is important because it provides a constant flow of training and professional development opportunities for all career stages in the arts marketing sector, from junior roles to Marketing Directors. It does the hard work of researching appropriate content and the latest developments from within and beyond the arts sector – so that those dealing with the daily demands of busy marketing departments don’t have to. The AMA also provides invaluable peer networking opportunities – realising that you’re not alone with the issues you’re dealing with is as important for job satisfaction as having training needs met and running successful campaigns.

Henry Filloux-Bennett

Head of Marketing, The Lowry

Image courtesy of Henry Filloux-Bennett

Proposer: Rachel Miller, The Lowry

Seconder: Rob Macpherson, Birmingham Hippodrome


I have been working in theatre for the last ten years. Having started out producing, working for organisations such as Bill Kenwright Ltd, Theatre Royal Haymarket, the RSC and HighTide, I made the move in to marketing in 2013, when I took over as Head of Marketing and Communications at Nottingham Playhouse, before moving to The Lowry as Head of Marketing in 2015.

Since joining The Lowry I have led on the creation of a full-time audience development position at The Lowry for the first time in the organisation’s history and I have worked on a huge range of marketing campaigns, from art exhibitions to Digital work, from classical dance to contemporary drama, from populist musicals to brand new circus.

Aside from my experience marketing and producing, I am also a writer – my third professionally produced play Nigel Slater’s ‘Toast’, was staged at The Lowry this year before going up to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. I have also directed and produced independently in the West End. As such I believe I offer a well-rounded candidacy with an incredible variety of experience in theatre – both subsidised and commercial, from Number 1 touring and regional producing to fringe and West End.

Why is the AMA important?

Having attended conferences over the last five years and having been lucky enough to take part in the AMA’s Retreat 3, it is clear to me that the organisation provides an invaluable community amongst arts marketers for the discussion, sharing and forming of ideas, as well as world-class training opportunities for everyone at every level. In a sector where budgets are constantly tightening, where costs and competition is increasing, and where audiences are increasingly savvy, it is of paramount importance to protect such a community so that knowledge can be shared, discussion and debate encouraged, and marketing constantly refined.

Jack Bazeley-Harris

Head of Digital, Cog Design

Image courtesy of Jack Bazeley-Harris

Proposer: Doug Buist, Shakespeare’s Globe

Seconder: Steph N., English Touring Opera


I’ve worked in marketing and digital roles across the arts sector over the past 12 years, and I’ve been an AMA member for nine of those. I’m currently Head of Digital at Cog Design, a communication design agency, working with a wide range of cultural organisations. Before joining Cog I led teams at Shakespeare’s Globe and Heritage Lottery Fund.

I have valuable insight of working on audience-focussed communications, leading teams and supporting organisational changes. Throughout this experience I encounter the seemingly infinite range of issues including points of crisis, audience engagement, fundraising challenges and the need to develop skills, that affect us as individuals, teams and organisations.

I’m passionate that we succeed as a sector.

The AMA is doing an excellent job of supporting the sector to tackle these issues. I believe that as long as we continue to share and address them together, then we will continue to build strength, be resilient and succeed.

As a Member Rep for the AMA I’ve already seen first-hand some of the work involved in bringing us together as a membership body. But I feel that there’s much more I could offer you and the AMA by joining the Board at this time.

Why is the AMA important?

At its core, the AMA crucially supports us as individuals to develop. Be that through direct training opportunities, that I’m sure many of us have taken advantage of, or through the ever-expanding ways in which we formally and informally connect and share knowledge.

The network of members (and non-members) that the AMA brings together is a high value resource to us as professionals to learn from each other. There’s no other organisation supporting the sector, across all artforms, in the same way.

I’ve seen the AMA adapt over time, to change with us, and it keeps changing to inspire.

Kathryn Havelock

Deputy Head of Marketing, V&A

Image courtesy of Arts Marketing Association © Jamie Bowen

Proposer: Hannah Boulton, The British Museum

Seconder: Paul Smith, AKA


I have served on the AMA board since 2015 and have loved bringing a visual arts perspective to the organisation at board level.

I am Deputy Head of Marketing at the V&A, managing the team delivering campaigns for exhibitions and public programmes at the V&A and the V&A Museum of Childhood. I am also a Chartered Marketer, member of the Museums Association, and have over fourteen years’ professional experience from leading arts and heritage organisations, including The British Museum, Whitechapel Gallery, British Library, Royal Academy of Arts and the BFI. I have also managed the entire online presence of the London Eye and London Aquarium in a dedicated digital role. All of these have given me a broad literacy in business planning, marketing communications strategy and commercial insight, which has been hugely valuable to my contribution to the board over the last three years.

I hold CIM diplomas in Marketing and Digital Marketing, and have MAs in Art History, Museum Studies and Renaissance Studies. I dream of completing my PhD and becoming ‘Dr. Kat’. I very much aspire to be a future leader of the cultural sector, and am passionate about representing museums, galleries and heritage organisations at board level.

Why is the AMA important?

Why I think the AMA is important:

  • It offers end-to-end career support, from early days of campaign fundamentals to leadership support for CEOs, it’s with you all the way.
  • An enormously rich network of support across the arts marketing sector – those hugely valuable opportunities for networking, sharing knowledge, experience, and stories of success or failure simply don’t exist in other industries with more budget and resources. The AMA brings us together to learn from each other and be better at meaningfully reaching audiences.
  • The AMA belongs to and is guided by its members, as ultimately the arts belong to everyone.

Lisa Baxter

Founder, The Experience Business

Image courtesy of Lisa Baxter

Proposer: Sarah Ogle, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres

Seconder: Katie Anderson, Warwick Arts Centre


My mission is to be instrumental in developing the relevance, appeal and perceived value of arts and culture. That is why, after nearly 20 years in arts marketing, I founded The Experience Business, introducing fresh thinking and new practices into our sector because “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” [Einstein].

From creative facilitation and innovation labs to design thinking and pioneering audience development programmes, everything I do is about inspiring and re-skilling the sector to fulfil its potential by placing audiences and communities front and centre. This is why I want to become an AMA Board Member, to advance our shared goals in growing and diversifying audiences through astute leadership and ambitious sector development.

My sector knowledge draws on broad and deep experience in marketing and audience development across the performing arts, museums and galleries. My work with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Australia Council for the Arts affords me a big picture perspective. As an agent of change my approach is gently disruptive and positively challenging; asking the tough questions, clarifying problems, facilitating smarter ideas and designing better solutions. The latter, I believe, is the defining quality I bring.

Why is the AMA important?

The AMA is the only organisation committed to building our resilience, advancing our practice and diversifying audiences at a national level. Enriched by its members, it represents their needs, ambitions and concerns rather than those of the funders. It demonstrates inspired leadership through its strategic alliances and innovative programmes of work. Its training and events have been instrumental in raising everyone’s game. It gives us a powerful united voice in increasingly uncertain times, and occupies a seat at the table where shift happens. This is why the AMA is not just important, but vital.

Sam Goldblatt

Senior Marketing Executive, Capital Theatres

Image courtesy of Sam Goldblatt

Proposer: Gary Smith, Capital Theatres

Seconder: Megan McCutcheon, Capital Theatres


I’m from Washington, DC, where I started in fundraising for America’s top Shakespeare theatre and also helped start the Capital Fringe Festival. I moved to Edinburgh 11 years ago to do my masters in Arts Management. My first job here was Venue & Performer Assistant for the Edinburgh Fringe, where I helped people bring their shows to the Fringe. I want to keep the AMA affordable and accessible for small and independent artists.

On a larger scale, as Senior Marketing Executive at Capital Theatres, I now run marketing campaigns for a huge variety of shows – big West End musicals, dance, opera, drama – you name it! For big musicals like Miss Saigon I get to book monster campaigns with huge outdoor, TV, radio and digital. I also run a successful silent film night. I’d like to bridge the gap between entertainment and art, and engage staff at larger performing arts venues to bring more practical skills to the AMA.

In my free time my wife and I run the 48 Hour Film Project – Scotland’s most popular filmmaking event, with 600+ films created so far. We also have a wee toddler, so children’s programming is a special interest of mine!

Why is the AMA important?

I’ve been to a few AMA conferences and events now, and they are always useful to my professional work. They are also frequently inspiring personally. Whether you are there to learn new skills, hear best practices or just meet colleagues informally, you will always get something out of it – maybe even some handy industry gossip.

I want to keep the AMA affordable and useful in a practical way for everyone. The AMA is already awesome, but I want to make it AMAzing! :-)

Sandra Reynolds

Communications Manager, Heart n Soul

Image courtesy of Sandra Reynolds

Proposer: Jane Cordell, Result CIC

Seconder: Rishi Coupland, National Theatre


I have been working in arts marketing for 10 years, starting my career at The Albany Theatre, in Deptford. This role gave me a real insight into marketing shows and events to diverse, multicultural and non-traditional audiences. I have continued my career at Heart n Soul, an award-winning creative arts company which believes in the talents and power of people with learning disabilities. Over the past 9 years I have worked on a number of innovative accessible marketing campaigns, primarily targeting people with learning disabilities, whilst also finding ways of reaching new audiences. At Heart n Soul, our artists and participants are at the heart of what we do and our collaboration with them informs all our communications and marketing. This ensures that our communications are accessible to all. As a result we have seen our audiences increase by 30% and become more inclusive. I feel my expertise in accessible marketing and communications and connecting with highly under represented groups in the arts could be invaluable to the AMA. At Heart n Soul we excel by working with people outside of the mainstream. I believe this is where key innovations in arts marketing are taking place enriching the cultural landscape.

Why is the AMA important?

Throughout my arts marketing career diversity has always been integral to my daily working life. Therefore to see the ways in which the AMA is driving forward the 360° diversity and inclusion strategy is very exciting and much needed in order to reach diverse audiences. It will help to promote the change that is needed to ensure the arts are really accessible to all in society. As a member of the AMA I think the association highlights innovations in arts marketing and provides a great platform for arts professionals to share and exchange knowledge.

Sonia Solicari

Director, The Geffrye Museum of the Home

Image courtesy of The Geffrye Museum of the Home © Em Fitzgerald

Proposer: Mel Larsen, Mel Larsen and Associates

Seconder: Julie Aldridge, Julie Aldridge Consulting Ltd.


I joined The Geffrye Museum of the Home in January 2017 and am leading an £18m project to transform the museum’s physical spaces and visitor offer.

I’m steering the organisation through cultural change and repositioning the brand. I’m interested in museums becoming more political spaces – leaders of debate.

I am also co-director of the Centre for Studies of Home, a partnership with Queen Mary, University of London. My previous posts include: Head of Guildhall Art Gallery and London’s Roman Amphitheatre and Curator at the V&A.


  • Future-proof Museums was a defining experience for me. I was part of the 2017 cohort, and would love to see the AMA continue to nurture leadership by exploring the challenges in the round.
  • The Geffrye is in one of the most culturally diverse areas of London but we’re a long way from truly reflecting our communities. I’m putting 360 degree diversity into action and am passionate about sharing experience and shaping this plan going forward.
  • I know what a great Board looks like. As a CEO, I appreciate the ways in which an effective and engaged Board can empower an organisation and drive meaningful change.

Skills: cultural leadership; organisational change; creative programming; risk-taking; strategic thinking; fundraising; financial accountability.

Why is the AMA important?

Audience first. The AMA champions audiences and this approach is woven through everything, from strategy to training.
Digital transformation. The AMA leads by example and encourages organisations to stretch themselves creatively.
Holistic Approach. Arts marketing needs to be accessible and relevant for professionals in a broad variety of roles and with diverse career backgrounds. The AMA’s integrated and agile approach gives everyone the confidence to upskill and try new things.

Tim Wood

Programme Director & Deputy Chief Executive, Rambert

Image courtesy of Tim Wood

Proposer: Jo Taylor, Morris Hargreaves McIntyre

Seconder: Anne Torreggiani, The Audience Agency


I have worked for 20 years helping arts and cultural organisations engage with the public. I’ve held marketing and communications roles in dance for Rambert and The Place, in theatre for Nottingham Playhouse, and for organisations working in visual art, live art and stand-up comedy. Now I have a broader-based leadership role, I know how crucial it is that the audience focus I learned as a marketer is represented at every level of our organisations. I have been Chair of the AMA since 2017, having previously spent five years as Vice Chair.

In my time at the AMA, I’ve been able to help us become of ever more benefit to a widening community of members. We have introduced programmes including the Retreats, Digital Lab, and Future Proof Museums, and we have begun a long-term initiative to address issues of diversity in the company, its members and the sector. Turnover has more than doubled and we have secured National Portfolio funding from Arts Council England. In a rapidly changing marketplace, with our sector constantly facing new challenges, I want to help the AMA continue to develop its offer to members to ensure it stays relevant, up-to-the-minute, and second-to-none.

Why is the AMA important?

The AMA has been with me throughout my career. From leaving university, through getting my first jobs in the arts and still today, it’s been my go-to source of support, learning, inspiration and community. I’m lucky to have had it; it’s been invaluable.

A creative, inclusive, forward-thinking AMA will help so many more people achieve success and happiness in their work. Those people are the ones who will make our arts and culture richer, healthier and more impactful. We need them, and they need the AMA.

Members can vote using the code sent to them via email on 6 November 2018

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