Public Forum: 'Measuring the Impacts of Cultural Programming' - 9 March

Speaker Biographies:

  • Kris Donaldson
  • Beatriz Garcia
  • Abigail Gilmore
  • Fran Hegyi
  • Francois Matarasso
  • Ruth Melville
  • Colin Mercer
  • Gerri Morris
  • David Powell
  • Sara Selwood

Kris Donaldson is the Marketing/Commercial Director for the Liverpool Culture Company. Kris is both an American and Australian citizen and was born near San Francisco, but spent much of his professional life in Sydney, Australia.  Kris began his career in advertising in New York and then emigrated to Australia to join an agency in Sydney.

He then joined Visa International as Marketing Director for Australia and New Zealand and specifically ran their Olympic sponsorship programme.  Kris spent 5 years with the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games where he helped build the marketing department of 120 from a blank sheet of paper, and led the team that raised A$700 million, which was a record amount of corporate sponsorship.

Following the Olympic Games, Kris helped build a sport and entertainment marketing company in both Australia and Shanghai before moving to London with Clear Channel Entertainment.  He joined the Liverpool Culture Company in early 2004 and has helped build the organisation from a small team of 5 to approximately 130. Kris’ responsibilities currently include the Marketing, Tourism, Welcome and Commercial Programmes.

Dr Beatriz Garcia is the Director of Impacts 08 – The Liverpool Model, a longitudinal research programme into the impact of Liverpool's becoming European Capital of Culture jointly developed by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. She is an urban sociologist focused on the study of cultural policy and event-led city regeneration.

Recent projects assess the image legacy of cultural programming within major events such as the Olympic Games (Barcelona ’92 onwards), the Commonwealth Games (Manchester 2002), and the European Capital of Culture (Glasgow 1990, Liverpool 2008). Beatriz is a member of the Culture and Education Advisory Committee of London 2012 Olympic Games and is the Editor of the ‘Culture @ the Olympics’ magazine.

For more information see:,

Dr Abigail Gilmore is Director of the Northwest Culture Observatory, which is part of Culture Northwest, the regional cultural consortium for the North West of England. She has been in post since the Observatory’s launch in 2005, and is responsible for coordinating the Observatory’s activities which include a cross-sector strategic research programme, a regional intelligence network and the development of the online resource, the Culture Observatory Gateway -

With a background in social science prior to her post at the Culture Observatory, Abigail has held several research and teaching posts at a number of UK Universities, working across disciplines and subject areas which include cultural planning and policy studies, sociology, cultural studies and research methods. Her doctorate was on popular music, local economic development and urban cultural policy.

Abigail was the founder and first Chair of the Regional Cultural Consortiums Research Network. She is also a board member of the Arts in Health Invest to Save initiative at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Fran Hegyi is the Cultural Programme Adviser for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.  Her role is to help develop the content of the Cultural Olympiad, with particular responsibility for working with the Nations and Regions across the UK, museums and galleries, heritage and theatre.

In her early career Fran gained a degree in Physics and a Masters in Science Communication where she developed a thesis on communicating scientific ideas through culture and creativity and museum exhibitions.   This was followed by a role as Researcher at the Science Museum and later as a Museum Education Policy Advisor in Scotland.  As Head of Regions and International at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Fran led a team in the creation of the network of Regional Agencies and continues to lead the MLA Development Team for 2012. In addition to her current role Fran is studying for a Masters in Public Administration at Warwick Business School.

François Matarasso has 25 years’ experience of community-based arts work as an artist, manager, trustee, researcher, consultant, mentor and writer. His research is practice-led and focuses on how people receive and interact with the arts. He is particularly interested in how those who work in the arts can develop better understanding the results of their own work, especially in partnership with their audiences.

François has worked for agencies, foundations and cultural bodies in many countries, and is Chair of the East Midlands Regional Arts Council. Recent publications include Living Heritage, Community Development through Culture Resources in South East Europe (Brussels 2005) and Only Connect: Arts Touring and Rural Communities (Stroud 2004).

Ruth Melville is a researcher with ten years of experience in applied research and research management in Liverpool with particular skills in the field of regeneration, social exclusion and participatory research. She has developed a range of techniques for carrying out in-depth qualitative work involving the research participants in every stage of the research process and has a strong belief in partnership research and research for change.

Major projects include research on social inclusion in Speke and Dingle, a Community Engagement and Recycling programme in Liverpool 8 and the evaluation of Knowsley’s Sure Starts and Children’s Fund. Recent work has focussed on developing evaluation techniques and systems, in particular to measure complex and multi-dimensional impacts of different programmes. She acts as a research advisor to a number of local voluntary, community and public sector organisations in Merseyside.

Colin Mercer is former Professor of Cultural Policy and Director of the Cultural Policy and Planning Research Unit at the Nottingham Trent University. He has worked and published extensively in the field of cultural policy, mapping, planning, indicators, and impacts in Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and Europe. He is now a freelance research consultant working with local, regional, national and international agencies including UNESCO and The Council of Europe. He is co-author of The Cultural Planning Handbook; an essential Australian guide (1995) and author of Towards Cultural Citizenship: tools for cultural policy and development (2002).

Full details about Colin Mercer's work including downloadable reports can be found on the ConnectCP expert database of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies (IFACCA) at

Gerri Morris is a director of Morris Hargreaves McIntyre one of the country’s leading management and research consultancies working in the field of arts, heritage and culture. The company is based in Manchester and employs 17 full time and 50 part-time staff and has a full in-house research facility that carries out both quantitative and qualitative research.  Clients include the DCMS, the MLA, The British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, National Maritime Museum, The Science Museum, the National Trust and Capital Radio.

The work the company undertakes tends to focus on organisational development and audience development with a particular emphasis on helping organisations develop a greater degree of customer focus. Increasingly Morris Hargreaves McIntyre has been exploring approaches to outcome and impact measurement. Conducting 1000s of surveys and 100s of focus groups each year, exploring the drivers and benefits of cultural participation and consumption, Morris Hargreaves McIntyre models motivations and impacts on the basis of empirical research. This work is now informing on-going evaluation of the impact of the work of the British Museum, a review of performance indicators of directly funded museums for the DCMS and the evaluation of the Manchester International Festival, to name a few current projects.

David Powell set up DPA in 1991, as a research and development company working where culture and regeneration can help build communities; where creative businesses, artists and cultural producers can contribute to local and regional prosperity; and where there is rapid growth and change. David brought together the Joint Cultural Framework for the Olympic Host Boroughs in South/East London, and helped London 2102 develop the case for the London Olympic Institute in 2004-5. DPA is now promoting the Thames Gateway Cultural Forum as platform for cultural agencies and producers, and working with Thames Gateway London Partnership, University of East London and the Gateway Boroughs on a variety of Olympic related projects.

David is Chair of Camden Arts Centre.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an active member of FOCI, the Forum on Cultural Industries. He has recently been appointed Visiting Professor in Cultural Planning for London East Research Institute, University of East London and Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at Department of Cultural & Policy Management, City University, London.

Sara Selwood is Professor and Head of Cultural Policy and Management at City University, London. She has a background in fine art, aesthetics, history and theory of art, and has worked as an art historian and a curator of contemporary visual art.  As a cultural analyst, she was Head of the Cultural Programme at the independent think-tank, the Policy Studies Institute, where she became editor of Cultural Trends, a journal which combines statistical evidence on the cultural sector with commentary and interpretation ( She has written extensively on the relationship between the expectations of policy, its implementation, funding and the publics’ experience of cultural provision.

Sara is currently a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery; a board member of MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council) and Arts Research Limited; belongs to the Museums Association Governing Bodies Forum; and is on English Heritage’s Research Advisory Panel.