The Creative Communities Unit is made up of a team of academic staff with established reputations as practitioners in their areas of expertise.
See our brief profiles below and follow the links for longer individual profiles. All Creative Communities Unit members of staff are based in Room 214 in the Flaxman Building at Staffordshire University.
Nic is a Senior Lecturer in Youth and Community Work. Her areas of expertise are youth and community work, group work and community engagement. She has recently carried out a scoping study of the Shape of Youth Work in the West Midlands and helped to initiate the development of a local network for youth workers. She also manages Get Talking for Appetite, the participatory evaluation of a major Arts Council England-funded programme in Stoke-on-Trent, as well as the evaluation of Creative Black Country and First Art.
Janet is a Senior Lecturer in Community Arts and a Senior Researcher on a number of projects. She is currently undertaking a PhD exploring the business case for arts and health. Her area of expertise is in community arts, and she has particular interests in arts and heath, community engagement, creativity and children, and audience development. Janet is currently working on three research projects: “Residency”: a European action research project investigating community arts practice in the UK, Spain and Poland; “Cultural Value”: an AHRC project exploring the connections between Stoke-on-Trent and Lidice; “Amores”: a Comenius project focusing on creativity and e-learning.
Louise is a Senior Lecturer in Performance Coaching and Mentoring. She has a background in providing training, development and learning opportunities for a wide range of individuals and organisations. Her clients and partners range from multinational corporations and blue chip companies, small enterprise start-ups and owner-managed businesses, and public sector organisations, to the charity and voluntary sectors. Louise’s particular specialism is coaching and mentoring for managers – to fully engage and inspire participants thus maximising their impact both personally and for their organisation or community.
Peter is a Senior Lecturer in Youth, Community and Regeneration, and has a background in youth and community work, adult education and regeneration. Particular areas of interest include the role that voluntary, community and faith sector organisations play in developing communities, contributing to social cohesion and the delivery of local and national government priorities. He is interested in social enterprise and how local people can develop businesses from a local need or idea. He is also on the Board of VAST.
Kelly works as a Programme Administrator based within the Creative Communities Unit. She has a background in supporting Staffordshire’s voluntary sector groups with volunteer recruitment and opportunity management as well as establishing key working partnerships to enable successful growth within the voluntary sector. Her knowledge led her to manage the Stoke Volunteer Centre and a team of volunteers based in Hanley. Kelly also works for VAST, where she started as a volunteer, gained full time employment and progressed into her current role as an Engagement and Partnership Administrator.
Caroline works as an administrative assistant and case study researcher within the Creative Communities Unit. She has completed the Advanced Theory and Practice of Mentoring Certificate of Credit and is currently studying for a Masters degree in the Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing.
We also work closely with a number of academics and associates:
Penny is a Senior Lecturer in Community Engagement, and leads the University’s work to support students to develop employability skills through volunteering and community engagement, in partnership with the Students Union. She manages a team of Community Organisers and co-facilitates a community champions’ network in Stoke-on-Trent. Penny teaches community based participatory research, volunteering and community leadership.
Barbara is Quality Manager for the Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies and also teaches Politics. Her areas of expertise include social policy, human rights, and globalisation. She has published in these areas, and is currently working on a variety of projects including courses for the Tri-Services Academy and a review of community engagement issues with the 143 Brigade.
Sarah holds an MSc in Mentoring and Coaching from Sheffield Hallam University, and has 15 years of experience in training, performance coaching, mentoring and therapeutic work. Her teaching, research and consultancy interests are mainly around tackling poverty, community leadership and management, mentoring and people skills, and qualitative research methods.
Nicola is a freelance project consultant. She has a local authority background working for Staffordshire County Council for 18 years, specialising in the fields of External Funding and Community Regeneration, and subsequently diversifying into roles supporting the development of Staffordshire’s Voluntary & Community Sector. A previous student of Staffordshire University, she holds a Masters degree in Community Practice and has recently completed her Adult Education and Training qualification whilst working as a part time Locality Officer with Support Staffordshire. She is currently working with the Creative Communities Unit on the evaluation of three Arts Council England funded projects: Appetite, Creative Black Country and First Art.
John Holmes has over 20 years of management experience in the cultural sector including the management of arts development and cultural services, theatres, festivals, museums, and music education services. His experience over four years as Research Associate with Audience Development South East and Chief Executive of Smart Audiences provides him with strong skills in the design and delivery of both quantitative and qualitative research that meets the specific needs of the cultural sector. John Holmes is currently a Visiting Research Fellow with Staffordshire University, and in this capacity was a member of the project team that carried out a Cultural Value research project, funded by AHRC. John contributed to the initial research design, qualitative research, and dissemination of this research in an article in Arts Professional. He is also a Fellow of Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and a non-Executive Director of a creative industries equity fund, Advantage Creative Fund. John has a robust track record in delivering research consultancy projects that respond to the requirements of clients. As Visiting Research Fellow at Staffordshire University, John is currently project managing the evaluation of two distinct Creative People & Places projects, leading a team of University researchers to gather quantitative and qualitative data that will inform the future development of these projects.
Iona Jones is principal consultant with Imagine Associates, an equality and diversity consultancy. From 2001 – 2006 she was employed as diversity manager for BBC English Regions. She has a PhD in Ethnic Relations. Iona also worked as a probation officer for 12 years, including time as a senior probation officer, managing a centre for women offenders. Iona has previously served on the board of brap, a national human rights and equalities organisation. She is currently a director of All the Small Things CIC, a trustee at the New Vic Theatre and a governor of Northern Baptist College. She has a level 2 certificate in British Sign Language. She is currently working with the Creative Communities Unit on the City of Culture Social Value Forecast.
Wendy is an educational project consultant, and coach. She has a background in further and higher education and has worked as a trainer in a professional women’s development unit; a lecturer in the Faculty of Health at Staffordshire University and as an educational development coordinator and educational partnership manager. She holds a Masters degree in Education and is currently undertaking a Masters in Coaching with the University of Warwick. Her particular interests are in lifelong learning, mid-career and beyond development, personal and professional coaching, and health coaching. She is currently working with the Creative Communities Unit on the project Staffordshire Coaching and Mentoring Centre of Excellence.
John is a Visiting Lecturer in the Creative Communities Unit. His research concerns are poverty and social exclusion in both rural and urban communities. In particular, he analyses the impact of government policies on disadvantaged neighbourhoods. He also looks back in time to examine the emergence of entrenched poverty in Britain’s urban neighbourhoods through the 19th and 20th centuries and the formation of what is now called ‘durable inequalities’. The third edition of his book Tackling Social Exclusion is due to be published by Routledge in 2015.
Nigel has been a research student with CCU, and has just completed his PhD, which investigates youth work in a contemporary social policy context. He has published several books about youth work and has over 30 years experience in work with young people – mainly in the voluntary sector. He is particularly interested in strategic development, project evaluation, participative processes, the implications of social policy on youth work and faith-based approaches to development work.