Dr Nick Owen MBE PLUS

Working in and on the Business of Cultural Education

Employment History

July 2016 – present day   Chief Executive Officer, The Mighty Creatives Ltd., Leicester

My role is to lead the organisation’s long-term, strategic development, develop proactive working relationships with senior level contacts at major funding organisations, unlock new, strategically important relationships that will lead to additional revenue generation, implement the organisation’s strategic plan and ensure the organisation focuses  on quality outcomes for children and young people, especially those who experience disadvantage.  Basically, the Buck Stops Here.

2014 – 2016               Development Manager, Creative Quarter Nottingham Ltd.

I led on the development and delivery of a comprehensive fundraising / income strategy and action plan for the company’s work, and developed new fundraising and income generation opportunities for the company to ensure its sustainability.  This involved developing projects and identifying funding from European (Horizon 2020, ERDF, COSME), National (Heritage Lottery Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund) and Regional (D2N2 LEP) sources.

I led on securing a £500,000 Creative Local Growth Fund grant from the Arts Council of England towards the support of a Creative and Digital Business Support programme entitled ‘The Big House’ and was instrumental in conceiving of that business support programme and contributing to the writing team which led to the submission of  a £4.9m bid for ERDF funding in 2016.  .

2014 – 2016                Freelance Producer, Art Gene Ltd., Cumbria

My role focused around a range of Project Management and Community Consultation projects in the Morecambe Bay area which focused on the built and natural heritage of the area. These included:

* Seldom Seen. This project explored the cultural heritage of Barrow and Morecambe Bay through the production of 5 artist designed maps which were the result of consultations with local communities around Barrow and Morecambe Bay. These consultations generated historical and natural information which were incorporated into the artworks. This project also produced 4 mobile phone Apps which, by using film and audio, provide historical and natural information about the landscape through the form of a walk led by local people. Over 500 people participated in this project.

* Fort Walney Uncovered. This project engaged local communities, archaeologists and artists in the exploration, interpretation and explanation of Barrow and Walney Island’s military heritage from World War I. The results are available on a mobile phone App for the site which details a walk around the Natural England Reserve, on North Walney, with video of local people sharing stories of the military and natural history. New artworks have also been produced in this project which provide an interpretation to the site. Over 200 local people were engaged in this project which addressed the sensitive natural and the historic nature of this World war 1 training ground.

* Tracks of the Ironmasters. This was a community consultation project which focused on the interpretation of the two walking and cycling paths on the West Cumbrian Coast from Whitehaven to Rowrah and from Lowca to Upland. Over 700 people were consulted through this project.

* South Walney – Hides and Masterplan. This project involved the design and development of 2 new artist designed family friendly bird hides and the production of a focused masterplan for Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s South Walney Reserve in Barrow. This was developed through engaging with the Barrow and Walney communities, schools and interested parties in the area. Over 150 local people participated in this project.

These programmes of live activity in 2014 / 2015 engaged over 2,000 people in 41 events from Sunderland Point at the southern tip of Morecambe Bay right up to up to Workington and its suburbs at the northern borders of West Cumbria.

2004 – 2014   DirectorAspire Trust Ltd., Wirral

I established the Aspire Trust as a charity and social enterprise in 2002 as the trading company of the Aspire Education Action Zone. Under my leadership, Aspire became an independent, sustainable arts education business which works in the fields of research and evaluation; learning and teaching and arts and events production and management. Driven by a commitment to partnership and collaboration, Aspire generated programmes with partners from across the social enterprise sector, the arts, creative industries and education. Key achievements included:

 

International Programmes

Comenius, for International CPD programmes; Grundtvig Partnerships, for International Adult Education programmes; Norwegian Government, KS programme, for cultural regeneration programme in Serbia; Sales of conference places to delegates in India, Nigeria, UAE, Malaysia; Sales of student exchange places to delegates from Norway, Serbia, Nigeria and Italy

National Programmes

 Arts Council England for annual productions; Creative Partnerships for school programmes; Youth Music for music education projects; National Lottery for community education projects; NIACE, for research into NEET young people; Faiths in Action, for Community Cohesion project; UKTI International Trade Support for overseas trade; Dept. of Work and Pensions, HMG, Transition funding for business redevelopment; Sales of conference places

 Regional programmes

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce for Business Start Up programmes; Merseyside Arts and Culture Media Enterprises, for Community Arts Programmes; Merseyside Disability Federation, for Disabled Artists CPD programmes; Salford Childrens Services, for Adult Learning Consultancy; Knowsley MBC, for music education, mental health and disability arts projects; Merseyside Community Development Foundation, for Disabled Artists Employment initiative; Find Your Talent, for Creative Education programmes; Culture Liverpool, for community arts programmes; Wirral MBC, for business development capital programmes; Culture Liverpool, for Arts in Health programmes.

2002 – 2004        Director, Aspire Education Action Zone (EAZ), Wirral

I led a strong partnership between 11 primary and secondary Wallasey Schools in order to pilot and develop educational projects which enhanced academic standards and promoted social inclusion. My achievements included building strong partnership between Head teachers, HEI / FEI partners and the private, voluntary and public sectors and developing international arts and education links in Cape Town, South Africa. I was responsible for a programme budget of over £1.0m:   £750,000 core funding came from the DfES and I raised a further £300,000 from the private sector and other sources. I was responsible for monitoring and regularly reporting the financial picture to a range of stakeholders: the Zone’s Action Forum and the Excellence in Cities partnership in Wirral LEA. The outcome was that the Zone stayed in excellent financial health and due to the extra funding I identified meant that it exceeded its original targets as originally described in its original submission to the DfES.

1994 – 2002  Head of Community Arts, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

I led the design, development and implementation of the B.A. (Hons) in Community Arts programme at LIPA and was one of the original team of six senior academic staff who started the organisation in 1994. I was responsible for overseeing the training and development of over 100 Community Arts undergraduates every year, the focus of which was on developing their skills to get into employment: either as freelance artists or employees with larger organisations. I also initiated and developed the UK’s first full time performing arts course in H.E. for Disabled People which was developed in partnership with the UK’s leading disability arts organisations including North West Disability Arts, CanDoCo and leading disability practitioners. I also led the creation and development of LIPA’s Outreach work and the development of part time courses including Arts in Prisons, Arts in Museums and Arts and Health which enabled over 300 local people a year to engage with LIPA in a variety of employment and educational contexts.

1989 – 94              Director,   Hope St. Ltd., Liverpool

I led Hope Street for 5 years from its early days as a department of the Everyman Theatre, through to when it became an independent company and registered charity. I led the development of a ladder of training opportunities for young people who were excluded from mainstream education through to young professional artists who were making their first steps into the world of work. I generated over £1.5m from a variety of sources including Liverpool City Council, the European Social Fund, the Further Education Funding Council, the Merseyside Training and Education Council, Liverpool City Challenge, the European HORIZON programme and various private sector companies.

1987 – 89                               Artistic Director,   Bramley Stop Theatre, Leeds

1986 – 87                               General Manager,  Tara Arts Group, London

1984 – 86                               General Manager,  Black Theatre Co-op., London

1981 – 84                               Tour Manager, Red Ladder Theatre Co. Leeds

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