Professor Ben Walmsley
I lecture and research in areas related to arts management, arts marketing, audience research and cultural policy, with a particular focus on audience engagement and enrichment, change management in the arts, and cultural value and leadership. Prior to this, I worked as an Administration Manager and then Producer at the National Theatre of Scotland, before moving to Leeds Metropolitan University as a Senior Lecturer in Arts and Entertainment Management in 2008.
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Academic Advisor for CultureCase and Vice-Chair of Transform theatre festival in Leeds. Between 2010 and 2017, I was engaged as an Artistic Assessor for Arts Council England and from 2017–2019 I was a trustee of The Audience Agency. I am the Co-Editor of the peer reviewed journal Arts and the Market and have published widely on cultural value, arts marketing, arts & entertainment management and cultural policy in a number of leading arts management and cultural policy journals. I also edited the acclaimed book Key Issues in the Arts & Entertainment Industry (Goodfellow, 2011). In 2013/14, I worked as Co-Investigator on an AHRC-funded project to explore cultural value as a complex system through a case study of the LoveArts Festival in Leeds. In 2014, I was awarded a University Student Education Fellowship to explore the experience of international taught postgraduate students, and recently acted as the Principle Investigator on a NESTA/AHRC/Arts Council England funded project Respond - a collaborative project run with Yorkshire Dance and Breakfast Creatives to develop, test and evaluate the impact of a responsive online platform designed to broaden and deepen audience engagement with contemporary dance.
Since 2014 I have directed the highly acclaimed National Summer School for Arts Fundraising and Leadership and the corresponding PG Cert in Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy and I recently led the evaluation of the national Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Programme and developed a MOOC for arts and cultural leaders on fundraising and change management. I am currently leading the evaluation of the National Theatre's Theatre Nation Partnerships programme and in October 2019 I published a research monograph on audience engagement for Palgrave Macmillan's new book series, New Directions in Cultural Policy Research.
- Director of Research and Innovation
- Director, Centre for Cultural Value
My research interests cohere around theories and practices of audience engagement and are therefore broadly located within the fields of arts marketing, management and policy. I am particularly interested in the experiences of theatre audiences and the impact that theatre-going has on their lives, as well as how arts and cultural organisations engage with audiences and co-create meaning with them. My other research interests include cultural leadership (especially charismatic and quiet leadership); arts fundraising and philanthropy; organizational behaviour and change management in the arts; and strategic arts management and evaluation. I have published primarily on the audience experience (motivations for and impact of theatre-going) and am fascinated by the roles of flow, ritual and catharsis in the theatre experience.<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- BA (Hons) in French and German
I have taught recently on a range of programmes across our BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance, MA Culture, Creativity and Entrepreneurship and PG Cert Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy.
Research groups and institutes
- Audience, Engagement & Experience
Current postgraduate researchers
- Claire Burnill-Maier
- Yun Cheng, Blair
- Emma McDowell
- Anahi Ravagnani
- Ms Sarah Reynolds
- Agnieszka Wlazel
- Lizzie Ridley (Forbes-Ritte)