The research team works on a variety of projects aimed at improving Arts Council strategy and policy, and producing intelligence that supports the work of arts organisations and practitioners. The team has a mixture of skills and experience that covers both quantitative and qualitative research. The research team currently comprises:
Rachel Smithies: Director, Research and Knowledge
Rachel has led on a range of projects at the Arts Council, including a review of literature and evidence in the museum and library sectors, a major survey of digital audiences for culture, and analysis of the consultation responses to Achieving great art for everyone. Prior to joining the Arts Council, Rachel was a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, working on mental health policy. Her background is in public policy and research methods.
James Doeser: Senior Officer, Research and Knowledge
James has a background in archaeology and his PhD examined the way in which archaeology public policy is formed. His current role in the research team focuses on supporting the development of Arts Council policy relating to public engagement with the arts. He is coordinating the Arts Council's research into the future of public libraries, and leads the Arts Council's involvement with the Taking Part survey and audience segmentation. He also has a strong interest in communicating research.
Alexandra Albert: Officer, Research and Knowledge
Alex coordinates the Arts Council's research exploring the resilience of business models in the arts and cultural sectors, as well as research into the flow of jobs from the subsidised arts sectors to the commercial creative industries. Prior to working at the Arts Council, Alex was an applied social researcher at The Work Foundation, working on their Creative Industries programme looking at how the UK can generate explosive growth in the global creative economy. She has a particular interest in the creative industries, cultural regeneration, the impact of digitalisation and also public engagement in the arts.
Rachel McGuire: Officer, Research and Knowledge
Rachel is responsible for analysis of the Taking Part Survey and for research exploring audiences across the cultural sector. Rachel has previously worked at a Sector Skills Council where she contributed to a range of research and policy on skills development.
Ben Brown: Officer, Policy Development
Ben joined the Arts Council in 2010 to work across digital strategy and the creative economy before taking up his current role in May 2012. As well as internal policy development and responding to government consultations, he also coordinates the research into the economic contribution of the arts and culture sector. He has previously worked for the BBC and has an interest in lots of things.
Samuel Middleton: Officer, Policy Development
Samuel is responsible for supporting internal policy development, briefing the organisation on external policy developments, and co-ordinating Arts Council responses to consultations. He has a particular interest in how arts and cultural organisations can attract new audiences and increase their earned income.