National Summer School 2017 – meet the tutors

Dr Ben Walmsley has a professional background in theatre management and producing, and now lectures and researches in aspects of audience engagement, arts management, arts marketing, cultural policy and cultural leadership. As an experienced audience researcher, Ben is particularly interested in questions relating to the value and impact of the arts, and is currently writing a critical analysis of audience engagement for Palgrave Macmillan. Ben frequently collaborates with a wide range of arts organisations, and recently worked as the Principle Investigator on an NESTA/AHRC/Arts Council England funded project to develop a responsive online platform to broaden and deepen audience engagement with contemporary dance.

Dr Emilee L Simmons, BM, MSt (Oxon), PhD, MBA (Leeds), works within the Leeds University of Business School (LUBS) as the Director of Enhancement, where she leads on the strategy and delivery of teaching excellence within the faculty.  In this role she has also developed the faculty’s first ‘centre for teaching excellence’ called the Academy of Innovation in Business Education, which will build and disseminate practical and scholarly activity around excellence in teaching.  She is also a Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies (CEES), where she specialises creativity, innovation and new business creation, all using experiential learning and problem based learning (PBL) teaching techniques. Her current research focuses on experiential learning, in particular the ‘global classroom’ initiative, which provides an international experience for students in the classroom to gain significant skills in addition to their academic work for employability and to support global citizenship. Prior to joining the University of Leeds, Emilee spent 12+ years working in various sectors including retail management, social enterprises/third sector and the creative industries.

Richard Watts runs an Organisational Development Consultancy called people make it work, which focuses on Change Management, Culture development and employee/stakeholder engagement. Richard works with organisations to create irreversible change at the cultural level, using his wide experience of Change Management and Organisational Development disciplines. He focuses on working with Leadership teams in a range of organisations to help them create change that delivers real business benefits. His approach is innovative, energetic and engaged, without alienating more pragmatic executive clients. Richard uses excellent consulting and facilitation skills to build approaches that engage executive teams and the wider organisation in their business improvement and development challenges.

Claire Antrobus began her career as a curator of Modern and contemporary art at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, before moving into arts funding, policy and development in roles at Arts Council England and British Council before striking out as an independent consultant in 2007. Through her career she has been committed to increasing engagement in the arts, using technology and developing people. Claire was 2009/10 NESTA Innovation Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme. Most recently she has led cultural and structural change within the galleries and museums sector in two interim roles (Tate Liverpool and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art). As well as working on a range of arts consultancy projects, Claire is an experienced coach and Action Learning facilitator. Claire is based in York and works nationally with clients in the arts and cultural sector from major national institutions to small artist-led organisations.  She regularly contributes to conferences and publications on arts leadership issues and blogs at

John Hayes is Emeritus Professor of Change Management, University of Leeds.  In parallel with his academic career, John Hays has pursued an active career as a management consultant working with individuals and teams to help facilitate change in complex organisational settings.  He has worked for a wide range of private sector companies, including Six Swiss Exchange (Zurich Stock Exchange), KU, iQuest, GNER, National Australia Group, Yorkshire Bank, British Gas, BT, ICI, Lucas, Delphi, BP, Occidental Petroleum, Bawden Drilling, Glaxo, Reckitt and Coleman (pharmaceuticals), DLApiper, Buro Happold, Ladbrokes and Nestle.  John has also worked for a range of public sector organisations such as the American Army, RAF, Benefits Agency, NHS, and NACRO.

Dr Melissa Nisbett is a Senior Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College London, UK, specializing in cultural policy, arts management and cultural diplomacy. Prior to becoming an academic, Melissa worked in arts management for ten years in a variety of roles within the visual arts including marketing and public relations, freelance consultancy and as a trustee.

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