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WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO

CLA has been championing a right to arts and culture for every child for more than a decade. Find out more about our work, our team, our governance, our advisers and our history.

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Our Work

CLA is the leading source of arts/cultural education news, insight and opinion. We use evidence to demonstrate the ways in which an arts-rich education provides skills for life and skills for work, enabling all children to fulfil their potential. Click here to see what we do and how we work.

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Our History

Here is a brief summary of the history of the origins and work of CLA. (For a full timeline of arts education developments since 1982 see The Arts in Schools Timeline.) READ MORE

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Our Social Justice Statement

Every child should have access to the benefits that arts and culture bring. See below to read our statement about equitable access to the arts for every child.

Equality of access to arts and culture is the right of every child and should be unaffected by income, ethnicity, gender, disability or location. This is a social justice issue: research shows that children with an arts deficit are disadvantaged educationally and economically while their more fortunate peers – generally from more affluent backgrounds – are more resilient, healthier, do better in school, are more likely to vote, to go to university, to get a job and to keep it. Participation in the arts fuels social mobility.

Children who feel ownership of the arts also feel more confident in their ability to create, challenge and explore; they learn to participate not just in arts activities but within society. Access to the arts is access to our national life.  

There is a wealth of detailed evidence to show that studying the arts fosters creativity, innovation, empathy, and resilience, and that the arts enrich young lives, making them happier and healthier. The arts also give children the skills needed in a labour market that places an increasingly high premium on creativity.

The UK’s children do not have equal access to arts and culture. We must work together – policy makers, funders, schools, teachers, artists and cultural organisations – to ensure that every child and young person experiences a broad and balanced curriculum that enables them to fulfil their potential. Otherwise the arts will continue to be the preserve of those who can afford them.

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Our Team

CLA has a small part-time team working across policy, membership and communications. Please bear with us if it takes them a while to get back to you.

Baz Ramaiah

Baz Ramaiah, CLA Policy Associate

Baz has spent nearly all of his professional career working in education. After studying philosophy at King’s College London, he worked as a special educational needs teaching assistant, before spending five years teaching in inner city schools in East London and Manchester. He moved out of the classroom and into educational technology, joining the founding team of Teacher Booker while completing an MPhil in Psychology at the University of Cambridge where his field work involved teaching and researching in two Pupil Referral Units in London. He then joined Teacher Tapp, the UK’s biggest daily survey of teachers, as Research & Programmes Lead where he led an Innovate UK-funded trial of daily teacher surveying. He has written on issues related to education, politics and data for The Evening Standard, Schools Week, Teach Primary, Teach Secondary, Cambridge University Press, The Tribune and The Jacobin. He is Head of Policy at the Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY). He spent 18 months seconded to from CfEY CLA as Head of Policy (2002-2024) and is the author of the CLA annual Report Card 2024.

Professor Pat Thomson

Professor Pat Thomson, CLA Senior Evidence Associate

Pat Thomson PSM PhD FAcSS is Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham and University of South Australia. She is a former headteacher and senior civil servant. She researches arts and creativity in schools and communities, as well as school change and school leaders’ work. Her current research on arts-rich primary schools in England is on artsprimary.com and its predecessor, the Tracking Arts Learning and Engagement project, with the RSC and TATE,  on researchtale.net and “Schools and Cultural Citizenship: Arts Education for Life ” (Routledge  2023, with Christine Hall). 

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Our Board

Sally Bacon

Sally Bacon (Co-Chair)

Together with Pauline Tambling, Sally is co-author of The Arts in Schools: Foundations for the Future, a major Gulbenkian Foundation report published in March 2023. Sally has spent her career championing cultural learning across the education, arts and philanthropic sectors.

She was Executive Director of the Clore Duffield Foundation for more than 20 years, where she was responsible for the Foundation’s multi-million pound grant-making programme and for building a portfolio of nearly 70 Clore Learning Spaces in cultural organisations across the UK. She chaired the working group which resulted in the creation of Clore Leadership in 2004, and founded the Cultural Learning Alliance in 2009. She is a writer and editor, has a particular focus on strategy development, and is programme lead for The Mildred Fund, which supports visual art programmes in museums and galleries for 14-19 year-olds. Sally has been a school governor and a Museum of the Year judge, is a trustee of Koestler Arts, and a board director of FrameWorks UK, which provides communications research and support to reframe social issues. Sally was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to cultural learning.

Derri Burdon

Derri Burdon, Chief Executive, Curious Minds (Co-Chair)

Derri is Chief Executive at Curious Minds, a Wigan based creative education charity working to tackle unequal access to arts and culture for children and young people. She is also Chair of Wigan’s Cultural Partnership Board and Governor at a secondary school.  Prior to joining Curious Minds, she was Head of Enrichment for Learning for Bolton Council’s Educational Improvement Service where she was responsible for leading several high-profile education and regeneration initiatives including Find Your Talent and Inspiring Communities. Inspired by her own family and childhood experiences, Derri is passionate about improving outcomes for all children, especially the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. She is driven by the passionate belief that rather than attempting to ‘close the gap’, we should be filling it with enriching and inspirational cultural and collective learning experiences that the most fortunate families take for granted. 

Lucy Butterfield

Lucy Butterfield

Originally from Manchester, Lucy is a communications specialist with more than a decade of experience in the arts, culture, charity and media sectors, having begun her career in communication consultancy. She leads PR for all arts, entertainment and kids content at Sky, working across a range of arts programmes, including Portrait Artist of the Year. Sky Arts went free-to-air in 2020 to bring more art to more people. Prior to joining Sky, Lucy worked at Shakespeare’s Globe, where she was responsible for running theatre’s press office, implementing press campaigns across all theatre season shows and an expansive education programme.

Rob Elkington

Rob Elkington

Rob is the Director of Arts Connect, based at the University of Wolverhampton. He joined from The Royal Shakespeare Company where he worked as Head of Education Partnerships, leading the Company’s learning and performance network programme across England, the professional development programme for teachers, and HE partnerships. He worked for Arts Council England as Director of the Creative Partnerships team in Birmingham and started his career as co-founder of The Play House, an educational theatre company working with children, schools and communities in the West Midlands and with international partners. He has worked in many roles from a teacher/actor to Executive Director. Rob is a Clore Leadership Fellow, and a Trustee of Victoria Park Multi-Academy Trust and of Writing West Midlands.

Alice King Farlow

Alice King-Farlow

Alice is Director of Learning and National Partnerships at the National Theatre. She leads a large team and national programme, encompassing work with schools, young people, community partners and on skills and careers, as well as the NT Archive. She oversaw the opening of the NT’s Clore Learning Centre, the development of the NT’s national the Theatre Nation Partnerships network, and the launch of the National Theatre Collection. Before joining the NT Alice worked independently as a consultant, producer, researcher and writer for major performing arts organisations across the UK, including the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, The Sage Gateshead, the National Theatre, Barbican Education and others. From 1991 to 2003 Alice worked in opera, first at Opera North in Leeds, and from 1996 at English National Opera where she managed the education programme, ENO Baylis. In 2006 Alice was awarded the Youth Music Fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme for the cultural sector.

Amy Mcgann

Amy McGann

Originally from Rotherham, Amy has more than 20 years of experience in cultural education, currently serving as the Head of National Schools Programmes at the Royal Opera House, engaging more than 45,000 pupils annually. She began her career as a professional dancer and has held various roles across the public, criminal justice, education and cultural sectors, including performer, educator, artistic director, consultant, producer, and strategist. Amy has spear-headed education and community initiatives for renowned artists and organisations, notably as Director of JumpStartMove, and interim Head of Learning at the Southbank Centre. A staunch advocate for social justice, Amy believes fervently in the power of activism to ensure that every child and young person has access to high quality arts and cultural education and is provided the opportunity to realise their full potential.

Steve Moffitt Mbe

Steve Moffitt MBE

Steve Moffitt has worked as part of the cultural education sector for 40 years and is a passionate advocate for high-quality practice. Since 2008 Steve has been CEO of A New Direction, an award-winning cultural education agency working across the education and cultural education sectors. In previous roles Steve led on delivery of the Creative Partnerships programme in London, was Head of ENO Baylis at English National Opera, Artistic Director and Associate Director of Theatre Venture, and a drama practitioner with Community Arts Workshop. Steve was awarded an MBE for services to Arts and Culture in the 2024 New Year’s Honour list.

Tina Ramdeen

Tina Ramdeen, Associate Director of Young People, The Roundhouse

Tina is the Associate Director of Young People at the Roundhouse leading the organisation’s work with young people, and a Trustee for Camden Spark – Camden’s Local Cultural Education Partnership. As a cultural education specialist working within formal and informal education, public and voluntary sectors, Tina is passionate about providing equitable access to high quality creative opportunities, progression pathways to diversify the creative industries, and empowering young people to use creativity to affect social change. Tina sits on the DfE and DCMS Expert Advisory Panel for the Cultural Education Plan, and advises cultural organisations on policy and practice relating to working with young people, with a specific interest in supporting organisations to embed youth governance structures to enable young people to influence decision-making within local and national cultural institutions.

Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas

Ian is Head of Research and Insights, Arts, British Council, where he leads on the evidence and learning from across the British Council’s global arts programmes including the development of a What Works Approach to Cultural Heritage Protection. Ian has more than 20 years’ experience in working across a range of arts and cultural organisations, previous roles include at Arts Council England and Telford and Wrekin Council and as a board member for a number of arts organisations. Ian is a former Visiting International Research Fellow at the University Southern California, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has written and presented on a range of international platforms around cultural heritage and sustainable development.

Andria Zafirakou

Andria Zafirakou MBE, 2018 Global Teacher of the Year

Andria Zafirakou is a Vice Principal of England’s only seven-consecutive time Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ school. Her specialist subjects are arts and textiles and for the last 19 years has worked in some of the most marginalised communities in London. 

She has been recognised as an education leader through accolades such as being a recipient of the million dollar Global Teacher Prize in 2018, a Culture Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Member of the The High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession, which was established by the UN Secretary-General in 2023, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Worcester, and was nominated by the late Queen Elizabeth II for an MBE for her services to education. She is the author of the bestselling book Those who can, Teach, which was published by Bloomsbury in April 2021 and her most recent book Lessons in Life was published by Quercus in May 2023.

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Our Advisory Panel

Anne Appelbaum

Director Children & Young People, Arts Council England

Ros Asher

Creative Learning Consultant, Education Advisor

Kate Atkinson

Head of Programmes, Clore Leadership

Justin Audibert

Artistic Director, Chichester Theatre

Rebecca Barnett

Learning Director, Aurora Orchestra

Steven Berryman

President, College of Teachers

Hugh Blackwood

Creative Arts Lead, Five Acre Wood School

Carolyn Bradley

Creative Learning Programme Manager, Leeds 2023

Molly Bretton

Head of Learning, Royal Academy of Arts

Alexandra Brierley

Director of Creative Learning, Southbank Centre

Sam Cairns

Freelance consultant

Dr Helen Charman

Director of Learning & National Programmes, Victoria & Albert Museum

Lauren Christy

Talent Manager, Sky Studios, Elstree

Susan Coles

Freelance arts, creativity, educational consultant

Michael Corley

CEO, Babylon Arts

Lizzie Crump MBE

UK Strategic Lead, What Next? & freelance consultant

Steph Cubbin

Head of Art and Design at St Marylebone and Arts consultant

Lucy Cuthbertson

Director of Education, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Marcus Davey CBE

Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Roundhouse

Holly Donagh

Director, Strategic Learning, Insight & Influence, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Joe Duggan

Head of Communications & Digital, National Youth Theatre of Great Britain

Mezze Eade

Freelance practitioner & Education Associate, Old Vic Theatre

Rob Elkington

Director, Arts Connect

Kate Fellows

Head of Learning & Access, Leeds Museums & Galleries 

Philip Flood

Director, Sound Connections

Montserrat Fuentes Romero

Director Culture: Xacara

Hannah Fumoleau

Interim Head of Young People’s Programme, Sage Gateshead / North Music Trust

Louise Govier

Joint Chief Executive, Artswork

Peter Gregory

Principal Lecturer in Education (Creative Arts), Canterbury Christ Church University

Michele Gregson

General Secretary, NSEAD

Matt Griffiths

CEO, Youth Music

Joe Hallgarten

Educationalist

Mimi Harmer

Director, The F-List for Music

Chloe Hughes

Engagement Programme Manager, The Box, Plymouth

Prof. Penny Hay

Professor of Imagination, Bath Spa University

Alison Holdom

Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Sue Horner

Board member, Coventry University & former Director of Curriculum for England

Damali Ibreck

Arts education: research, curation & production

Tarek Iskander

Artistic Director & CEO, Battersea Arts Centre

Anthony Jackson

Former teacher & visual arts education consultant

Veronica Jobbins

Dance & arts education consultant

Kevin Jones

Education adviser

Adam Joolia

CEO, AudioActive

Sharon Kanolik

Engagement Producer & Creative Learning Consultant

Hannah Kelville

Freelance youth arts fundraiser, North East

Lucy Kennedy

CEO, The Sorrell Foundation & National Saturday Club

Alice King-Farlow

Director of Learning & National Partnerships, National Theatre

Greg Klerkx

Writer & producer

Patricia Lankester

Founder CLA member

Sally Manser

Former head of ROH Bridge, freelance consultant

Catalina Marin

Group Director, Activate Learning

Naomi McCarthy

Senior Policy & Campaigns Officer, Independent Society of Musicians

Jenny Mollica

Interim CEO, English National Opera

Jacqui O’Hanlon MBE

Director of Learning & National Partnerships, Royal Shakespeare Company

Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE

Freelance arts & cultural consultant

Ray Oudkerk

Vice Principal, The Brit School

Dr Nick Owen MBE

CEO, The Mighty Creatives

Dr David Parker

Research consultant

Joan Parr

Head of Creative Learning & Young People, Creative Scotland

Vee Pollock

Dean of Culture & Creative Arts, Newcastle University

Adam Power-Annand

CEO, Speech Bubbles

Kelly Quintyne

Media & Special Projects Producer, Ballet Black

Radikal Queen

Poet, musician, performance artist, teacher

Paul Reeve MBE

Chief Executive, Into Film

Emma Ridgeway

Director, Foundling Museum

Dan Roberts

Headteacher, Devonport High School For Boys

Tony Ryan

CEO, Design & Technology Association

Keith Saha

Co-Artistic Director, 20 Stories High

Beth Sedgewick

Community Programme Manager, Oxford Playhouse

Becky Swain

Director, Manchester Poetry Library

Adam Tulloch

Founder & CEO, Total Insight Theatre

Henry Vann

Teacher, Bedford School & Bedford Borough councillor

Dr Erin Walcon

Co-Director & Co-Founder Doorstep Arts, University of Exeter lecturer in Applied Drama

Julie Ward

Creative Producer at South Tyneside Cultural Education Partnership

Theresa Ward

Headteacher, Creative & Performing Arts College, Riddlesdown Collegiate

Sharon Watson MBE

DL CEO & Principal, Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Jasmine Wilson

Head of Public Engagement Trinity Laban

Kithmini Wimalasekera

Team Leader, V&A X Adobe Artists in Residence Programme

Rachael Woodhead

Curator: Families, Schools and Young People, Tate St Ives