Why I do this work

I believe that a lot of arts & cultural organisations need help from someone sympathetic to their aims but who has an excellent understanding of how to use business techniques and strategies to help provide them with a stable financial base.

I believe that a lot of businesses need creative input from someone who understands how business works, but who has a really creative way of thinking.

My skill set and unique experience can help both arts/culture and business to improve the way that they work, while still holding true to what they are there to do.

I love to read and write and am happiest in a huge library developing new ways of looking at things.

I am very passionate about art and education – I really believe that together they can make a profound difference to young people’s lives. I loved the arts when I was at school, learning to play the flute (to grade 1), being involved in lots of schools plays (mainly backstage) and singing in choirs – the highlight of which was performing with my school at Guildford Cathedral. As a teenager I sung in a rock band and was the drummer in another one. I was never particularly excellent at any of it, but I loved it so much, growing my confidence and enjoyment every week.

When I went to Uni to do a Theatre Studies degree it wasn’t because I wanted to be on stage – I was interested in the academic side of things, particularly why the arts has such an impact on us as a human race. When I had to do practical work I focused on backstage, learning stage management skills, which have stood me in good stead over the years. I did do physical theatre as a module which I enjoyed a great deal as well.

One of my many part time jobs at university was as a marketing person for a Leeds heavy engineering firm. I really liked marketing and when I finished my degree I worked in marketing & PR for many years. When I got made redundant in the recession I took the opportunity to retrain as a teacher. Although I enjoyed working with young people I missed the business side of things, managing spreadsheets, writing, events and big picture strategic planning.

So I did a MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths University.  For me this was a chance to bring together all of my knowledge of the arts, my business skills and experience and my passion for education.

Now I use all of this knowledge to help arts projects to succeed and grow. I firmly believe you need strong Arts Management, especially when money is tight, so that everything is done efficiently as possible – stretching every penny, so that artists can focus on delivering the best experience possible to the young people they work with.

As a child I loved reading, spending hours and all of my pocket money on books. My wish lists for birthday and Christmas was a book list. This love of reading and learning has stayed with me throughout my life and explains why I have so many qualifications. If I could afford the time and money I would always be studying for a new Masters qualification – I could name three that I would like to do this minute. This love informs my work as I am always looking to stay on top of current thinking, as well as researching new sectors and thoughts. This love of reading has evolved in to a love of researching – both in an academic setting and focusing on business issues as well.

I have three work related dreams – to be funded to do a PhD in arts education, to publish a book and to deliver a TED talk on the same. I very much look up to Ken Robinson and his work. I enjoy writing a great deal – predominately fact based pieces, but also my experiences of the arts, creativity and business.

(l) Jen & Buster in the woods in Thurrock
(r) Jen after completing the London Great Swim – 1 mile outdoors in the Docklands

I have a very lively and energetic Springer Spaniel with whom I love going into the woods when I can. I am married to my wonderful and supportive husband Gavin, with whom I share a sense of humour and a love of geeky things.  I spend many hours reading, writing, drawing/painting and playing music.

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