Allison Fullerton, Glasgow

Consultant, AF Projects

Alison Fullerton has dedicated her career to creating spaces and environments that bring out the best in people. She is inspired by how our working environments can raise people’s aspirations, stimulate their thinking, make their ideas happen, build their businesses, grow their impact and make them feel happier and more fulfilled. Alison was previously Head of Development with Wasps Studios, an award-winning social enterprise in Scotland. While there, she worked on the redevelopment of many historic buildings into beautiful creative facilities including South Block, winner of the RIAS Best Building in Scotland. 

Alison now works as a consultant helping other organisations and agencies who are developing hubs. 

Amy Wootton-Hickson, London

Head of Chief Executive and Chair’s Office, British Council

Amy heads up the Chief Executive and Chair’s Office at the British Council providing strategic support, analysis and advice to the Chief Executive on the maintenance of his operational and representational functions; the development and management of the Chief Exec’s internal and external profile; and the management of key internal and external relationships across Whitehall and Westminster.

After graduating from the University of Durham with a degree in Spanish, French and Anthropology, Amy taught English in China and studied Mandarin. Amy has worked at the British Council in several roles including project management, Parliamentary and Westminster stakeholder management, crisis management and strategic planning with our offices across Africa, Middle East and South Asia. 

Andrea Stark, London

Director Employment, Skills and Culture, Islington.

Stark first worked in theatre before becoming the arts chief for the City of Sunderland and later Dundee City Council, where she worked on major regeneration programmes using the creative industries to drive local economic growth. In 1999, she became Chief Executive of the Eastern Arts Board, the Arts Council England Executive Director for the East and South East, and a member of their National Executive Board.

In 2012, Stark left to become Chief Executive of the new High House Production Park in Essex. There, she led the team that created a national centre of excellence for creative industries. She was chief executive of High House Production Park and has been appointed a director of the Foundation for Future London, the organisation responsible for developing the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a new cultural and educational district.

Benjamin Yates, London

Senior Parliamentary Assistant and Researcher

Benjamin Yates is the Senior Parliamentary Assistant and researcher to John Baron MP. After taking an MA and M.Phil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic from the University of Cambridge, he undertook further postgraduate research in international relations at King’s College, London and at the School of International Studies at the University of Vienna. This included international and EU law, economics and South Asian security.

In Parliament, he assists Mr Baron with his work on international affairs, latterly with the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and currently with the British Council All-Party Parliamentary Group and others.

Ciarán Devane, London

Chief Executive Officer, British Council

Sir Ciarán Devane took up the role of Chief Executive in January 2015. Ciarán has focused on ensuring that all stakeholders understand and value the contribution that soft power, cultural relations and the British Council makes to security, prosperity and influence, and that the organisation and staff are aligned behind that vision.

Prior to this, Ciarán was Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support from 2007 to 2014. He transformed the scale and impact of the charity, both on its own and in collaboration with other organisations and has raised its profile as an authoritative voice on cancer and on health matters, leading to Macmillan being the UK's 'Brand of the Year' in 2014.

Ciarán was awarded a knighthood in 2015 for his services to cancer patients.

Claire de Braekeleer, London

Director Arts, Wider Europe for the British Council, based in Istanbul.

Claire leads the strategic direction of an arts programme across 15 countries in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and the Western Balkans.  

Previously she was Director Partnerships for the British Council in Egypt from 2014-17, leading on business pursuit and communications.  Based in Moscow from 2012-14 Claire served as Deputy Director, British Council Russia, leading a portfolio across Education, English and Arts. Prior she was Head of Arts, running a major cultural programme with high profile partners in the UK and Russia.  Starting her career at the British Council’s Creative Economy team in London she managed the Young Creative Entrepreneur awards, a scheme for innovative entrepreneurs in the creative industries across 50 countries. 

Claire McColgan MBE, Liverpool

Director of Culture, Liverpool City Council 

Claire has led the legacy program in Liverpool over the last 10 years supporting and funding 35 cultural organisations, bringing new commercial events to the city and designing and producing a creative program for Liverpool that shapes it as a destination and a place to live. She sits on the City Regions Cultural Partnership and the Visitor Economy Board. 

Claire is a national and international advisor on best practice in Culture acting for Arts Council England and Ireland, the British Council, Local Government Association and represented the UK in Thailand, Brazil and China. Claire is a Director on the Board of Derry/Londonderry the inaugural City of Culture program, Claire is the European Board Director for Galway European Capital of Culture 2020. She was chosen by Karen Bradley, Secretary of State as the UK expert for the 2022 European Capital of Culture competition.   

David Anderson, Cardiff

OBE, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

David Anderson was born in Northern Ireland, grew up in England, and studied Irish History at Edinburgh University. After starting his career as a history teacher in a state school, he then worked as an educator in museums in England. In 2010 he joined Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales as Director General. From 2013 to 2015 he was President of the Museums Association.

David Anderson has published widely on museums, cultural policy and cultural rights, as well as a UK government report on museums and learning, and two children's books. At Amgueddfa Cymru, he has overseen the transformation of St Fagans Museum to become the National Museum of History for Wales, and the development of new programmes and research on the role of museums in society.

Dr. Andy C Pratt, London

Professor of Cultural Economy, City, University London - Conference Strategy Group Member.

Andy is an internationally acclaimed expert on the topic of the cultural industries. Andy specializes in the analysis of the cultural industries in the US, Europe and Japan. This research has two strands. The first focuses on the urban spatial clustering of cultural industries; he is particularly interested in the social and economic dynamics of clustering. The second strand concerns the definition and measurement of employment in the cultural, or creative, industries. He has developed definitions of the cultural sector that are used as standard measures by UNCTAD and UNESCO.

Andy has worked, amongst others, as a consultant or advisor for the London Development Agency, South East Development Agency, the Arts Council, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Department of Trade and Industry, NESTA. 

Dr. Gerald Lidstone, London

Goldsmiths, Director of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship.

Director of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London 

Founder of the MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy and co-founder of the MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship programme and the MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy.

He has worked for over twelve years on behalf of The Ministry of Culture and Information in Viet Nam establishing Arts Management education in Hanoi University of Culture, funded by the Ford Foundation, well as being awarded the national medal for culture in Viet Nam. He was also the director of a four-year British Know-How Fund (Foreign Office) project establishing arts management education in Slovakia. An outcome of this was the publication of the first book on arts management in Slovak and the British Council project Closer to the Museum.