CCI is run by a small core team supported by an extensive network of artists, associates and trustees. 

Director Ruth Sapsed has led the charity since 2007.

  • Gabby Arenge
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    Gabby Arenge


    Gabby Arenge (she/her) is a CCI artist writer and associate researcher. Gabby supports a range of CCI initiatives, including co-creating research 'artputs' and Artscaping resources, collecting stories of local 'Regenerators' leading creative and sustainable action, and facilitating webinars about supporting spaces of liberated learning. She is currently working with Dr Zoe Moula to understand the impact of CCI's first Creative Exchange training hosted in May 2024.

    At CCI and beyond, Gabby focuses on understanding and supporting educational change. She has over a decade of experience researching and designing educational programmes in the UK, US and East and Southern Africa with partners including Brookings Centre for Universal Education, the World Bank, UK Cabinet Office, and The Agency Fund. Gabby recently completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge where she identified processes and conditions that help teachers trial new practices and start shifting pedagogic paradigms.

    Gabby is committed to nurturing and expanding spaces of hope, transformation, and liberated learning for all. She dreams of one day becoming a CCI teaching artist, ceramicist, and farmer.

  • Fiona Brice
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    Fiona Brice


    Fiona is a trustee of CCI. As Funding Officer for The National Lottery Community Fund, Fiona manages a portfolio of grants to organisations seeking to address systemic change from small equity-led organisations to charities working across London and the South East of England. A key part of her work is sharing learning and best practice across the voluntary sector.

    Fiona is an advocate of creative approaches to learning and the power of curiosity and imagination in giving voice to communities. She has previously worked as Programme Manager for Peterborough Presents (Creative People and Places) and Creative Programmer for Creative Partnerships in the North East of England.

  • Michael Corley
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    Michael Corley


    Michael is the Learning Programmes Manager at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. He has over 20 years experience in the arts sector and specifically in activities which centre children and young people. For 10 years he led the Bridge programme for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival where he worked with cross-sector collaborations to develop partners that sought to enhance cultural education across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk & Peterborough. He has also been the CEO of Babylon Arts in Ely and worked in local government and at Arts Council England.

  • Hilary Cox Condron
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    Hilary Cox Condron


    Hilary Cox Condron is a Cambridge-based, socially engaged, participatory artist – passionate about using creativity, culture, stories, and collaboration to connect, strengthen and shape communities.

    Hilary is committed to equality, diversity, social inclusion and restoration through the arts. Her artistic practice is inclusive and responsive. Using visual art, performance, installations, photography, and film to engage, share ideas and stories and develop a sense of place and identity, Hilary works to build relationships and a vision that connects to the wider community, inspiring creativity and action to bringing about long term, positive change.

  • Jo Diver
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    Jo Diver

    Finance Manager

    Jo Diver is CIMA qualified, and brings a refreshing fusion of accountancy expertise and genuine business acumen that can really make a difference to the smooth running of a company. Jo has over fifteen years of experience working with a combination of global players like Deloittes, Philips, Bayer CropScience and local small to medium sized companies including restaurants, independent schools and local charities.

    Jo's career to date has armed her with the skills to run accountancy departments, introducing and setting up new systems to increase work flow and improve business performance.

  • Emily Dowdeswell
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    Emily Dowdeswell


    Emily Dowdeswell (MPhil in Art, Creativity and Education Cambridge University) is an associate researcher and writer at Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination. She is currently undertaking doctoral research with Dr Mimi Tatlow Golden and Professor Kieron Sheehy at the Open University, Milton Keynes, drawing on arts based research with children approaches to better understand fun and learning. Emily’s transdisciplinary research emphasises listening to children, advocating for the importance of creative spaces of learning and seeking out better understandings of what fun and learning mean to children.

  • Alex Elbro
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    Alex Elbro

    Charity Manager

    An educator, broadcaster and scientist, Alex (she/her) is driven by a wide range of interests, which has developed her depth of experience, expertise and enjoyment of many fields and disciplines.
    Her first degree in Materials Science led to an exciting role working on the Mary Rose in Portsmouth, and onto further materials research at TWI in Cambridge. Alex’s move into Early Years teaching, and then University Outreach for schools, fed her passion for enabling and fostering a joy in learning for all ages. 
    She has been interviewing local people doing fascinating and inspiring things for the last seven years on her Cambridge 105 radio show and, more recently, on the Alex and Jude Talk podcast. 
    Alex also works to support the Arts team at Cambridge University Hospitals delivering their Sounds programme, and supporting their annual arts festival.
    In any free time, she enjoys performing in musical theatre, watching live music, spending time with her family, and catching up with friends for a weekend run or brunch. 

  • Owen Garling
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    Owen Garling


    Owen is a trustee of CCI. He currently works for Cambridgeshire County Council and has twenty years’ experience of working in the public sector in Cambridgeshire. Owen’s current role with the council looks at how the public sector can work differently by taking a more deeply embedded place-based approach to how it works with people and communities. His practice also looks at how taking a wider systemic view of the world can help the public sector to address some of the complex challenges it faces. Music and the arts have always played a large part in Owen’s life and he particularly enjoys the ways in which the work of CCI challenges him to look at the world differently.

  • Zoe Gilbertson
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    Zoe Gilbertson


    Zoe is a CCI Trustee. Her practice is foregrounded in experience as a designer, entrepreneur, leader, artist, educator and regenerative practitioner. A recent MA in Ecological Design Thinking from Schumacher College underpins an on going quest into how humanity can co-evolve sustainable futures in harmony with all life forms. CCI’s work forms an integral part of this aim and is key to the regeneration of both people and planet.

  • Di Goldsmith
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    Di Goldsmith


    Di Goldsmith Advanced Skills Teacher in Performing Arts – Secondary/Primary/ SEND experienced. Whole school secondary Enrichment Coordinator SLT role. Trained in Synectics Breakthrough Creativity, Laban contemporary dance, and best theatre practice with the National Theatre.

    Creative Agent for Creative Partnerships for North London, The Mighty Creatives Leicester, and Creative Director for Creative Partnerships Norfolk.

    Director UROCK Youth Theatre, based in the Undercroft Theatre in partnership with Eastern Angles Theatre Company & Lamphouse Theatre. Successful National Theatre Connections participation in New Writing. Successful ACE Grants for the Arts Award 2017 to build capacity.

    Royal Society of Arts - Citizen Power projects in Peterborough. Delivery & facilitation project management around place & community. Citizen Power Peterborough: Impact and Learning.

    Creative projects working with primary schools across literacy and the arts. Multiple examples in Norfolk, Peterborough and Cambridgeshire. Models Space 4 Dialogue & A Book Literacy model.

    Three pilot Creative Parenting projects on behalf of PHACE [LCEP] with & CCI/ Fullscope consortium. Convener of new Forum - Vulnerable Stakeholder Group. Lead the project management design and levered investment in all 3 models whilst also providing creative facilitation for the participants and artist.

    Current Peterborough Coordinator for Royal Opera House Cultural Champions Leadership training working with a portfolio of 15 schools.

  • Karin Horowitz
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    Karin Horowitz


    Karin Horowitz is a Trustee of CCI.  She has worked as an independent leadership and personal development consultant since 1993 across a wide range of sectors including commerce, telecommunications, professional partnerships, central and local government.  She is a very experienced coach, facilitator and trainer, and accredited in the use of psychometric tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.  Her current work focuses on supporting the well-being and resilience of head teachers and clergy.  She also supports the careers choices and life skills of undergraduates through her role as a Newnham Associate.

    Karin has a diverse and eclectic approach to her work and a number of other interests which cross-fertilise.  She is passionate about the arts and nature which led her to be interested in Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination.  She is also enthusiastic about folk and traditional music and hosts home concerts as well as supporting programmes in schools which enable children to engage with folk music in a way that is relevant to them, developing their personal and social skills, and enhancing the wider curriculum.

    Karin is a yoga practitioner and teacher and is particularly interested in delving deeper into the history, philosophy and psychology of yoga.  She brings this learning to her work.

  • Susanne Jasilek
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    Susanne Jasilek


    Susanne Jasilek works as a mixed media artist, graphic designer and as part of the experimental video art group Neuf. As an art facilitator she has worked on a selection of arts projects for arts charities in Cambridgeshire and at museums and art galleries. She was the first artist in residence at the Faculty of Education University of Cambridge and devised the workshops for the first year of the ArtScapers programme. Susanne’s current practice focuses on art facilitation in museums with adults with anxiety and depression and with teenagers in schools and a new NEUF video art performance project ‘Am I in danger?’. In addition, after recent training with the Royal School of Drawing, she is working on a graphic novel and a series of graphic novel zines.

    Susanne was a founding member of CCI.

  • Nomisha Kurian
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    Nomisha Kurian


    Nomisha is a Teaching Associate at the University of Cambridge. She is currently researching human-centred design and recently became the first Education researcher to win the Cambridge Applied Research Award for "outstanding research with real world application", for designing and delivering interventions for 286 low-income and state-school students across the UK to widen participation in higher education. Previously, as a Yale University Henry Fellow, she used international human rights law to design an anti-bullying framework for marginalised youth. Her work has most recently been published in the Oxford Review of Education, the British Educational Research Journal, and the International Journal of Human Rights. She has presented her work on child wellbeing at the UNESCO Artificial Intelligence and Education Forum and her writing has also been featured by Harvard University's REACH (Research, Education, and Action to create Change and Hope) Initiative. She co-chairs the University of Cambridge Wellbeing and Inclusion Special Interest Group and previously co-chaired the Cambridge Peace and Education Research Group. 

    As a CCI Community Ambassador, Nomisha is excited to help disseminate CCI's work. One of her forthcoming publications (co-authored with Ruth) explores the impact of CCI's initiatives on young children's creativity and wellbeing, unpacking how CCI's innovative model of art-in-nature education nurtures children's cognitive, social and emotional development.

  • Elsa Lee
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    Elsa Lee


    Elsa Lee is an associate of CCI and is part of the research team for the Eco-capabilities Project (Supporting children’s wellbeing through participatory art in nature: AHRC Grant Ref AH/S006206/1) She is an educationalist with an interest in environmental and sustainability education, citizenship education and hydro-sociology. She spent ten years teaching science at secondary schools in the UK and Mexico before returning to university for further study. Since completing her doctorate she has worked on a number of projects seeking to understand human relationships with the natural worlds and their behaviour towards the environment and how this intersects with education.

  • Richard Mclean
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    Richard Mclean


    Richard is a trustee of CCI. He brings experience of working in senior management in both the public sector and the commercial world, expertise in strategic governance, and senior level knowledge of financial management. Richard used to be a teacher before switching to work in the civil service in Whitehall, Westminster, and Brussels. Richard lives with his young family in Cambridgeshire and enjoys helping CCI provide opportunities for creativity and play for others in Cambridge.

  • Amanda Morris Drake
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    Amanda Morris Drake


    Amanda Morris Drake has worked as a teacher for nearly 40 years and has recently retired from her position as Head Teacher of an alternative provision providing education for children and young people with severe mental health and physical difficulties. Amanda is a passionate supporter of the arts having seen first hand how working through a creative process can help recovery and increase the self- esteem of vulnerable children and young people.  Amanda is committed to equality and diversity and believes in inclusivity for all children and young people. She supports CCI as a volunteer on projects in schools.

  • Zoe Moula
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    Zoe Moula


    Zoe is a Lecturer in Mental Health at King’s College London, and former Research Fellow at Imperial College and University College London. Her research is focused on the impact of arts therapies and arts-in-nature on the wellbeing of children and young people. Zoe is also the Editor-in-Chief at the International Journal of Art Therapy.

  • Neil Parker
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    Neil Parker


    Neil Parker was CCI's office manager from 2006 to 2023. He is a freelance professional with extensive experience in events and financial management, programme development and information systems planning. He has worked in the areas of artist lead initiatives across the eastern region. Managing the Arts Marketing Association’s member rep scheme, a national group of volunteers who facilitate opportunities for members to network locally. He recently coordinated a national ‘tweet meet’ involving nearly 300 members with both face to face meetings in 13 locations across the country and via twitter. He has worked on many audience development initiatives including the ground break Map East project and was involved with event and project management for ‘Being Here’, a five-year social inclusion and regeneration project in Southend.

  • Filipa Pereira-Stubbs
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    Filipa Pereira-Stubbs


    Filipa Pereira-Stubbs works as a movement artist, dance teacher, and creative practitioner. Her projects, classes, and workshops happen in arts centres, museums & galleries, dance and sports studios, schools and early years settings, community settings, hospitals, hospices, open spaces, woods, and parks.

    Filipa's movement practice centres around inclusive and creative dance– taking the fundamentals of movement, dance, and choreography to engage and invigorate bodies of all ages and abilities, and facilitate a broader and richer understanding of self, and self within the environment, through dance.

    Her work as a creative practitioner draws on a range of arts to foster and inspire the making process of interpretation and expression. Many of her projects are done in collaboration with colleague artists from different backgrounds, determining a flexible and open approach to art work.

    Filipa's portfolio career has spanned over twenty years of work. In the past she has worked as a dance/movement therapist with the NHS, working in the field of palliative care with Rosetta Life, and was artist-in-residence for years at the Arthur Rank House in Cambridge. She has also worked with Cambridgeshire projects such as Vital Communities, and the Friends of Fulbourn and with organisations such as Inspire, and the Cambridge Drama Centre.

  • Jemima Robertson
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    Jemima Robertson


    Jemima is an ecological design practitioner and social entrepreneur working at the intersections of regenerative design, education and resilient community building. Jemima set up social enterprise, Soapbox Citizens, with the belief that connecting young people in their localities to each other through participatory, creative practices provides space and capacity for co-creating societies rooted in justice, care and mutual flourishing. Jemima is currently developing her practice by studying for an MA in Ecological Design Thinking at Schumacher College where she is exploring the design of systems that centre care for people and planet. Jemima also holds an undergraduate degree in Biological Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

  • Ruth Sapsed
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    Ruth Sapsed


    CCI's Director, Ruth Sapsed is responsible for the strategic direction of CCI. As a psychologist and researcher, she is interested in facilitating the development of creativity in everyone, young and old.

    Ruth is the managing editor on all CCI publications and resources. Other published research includes:

    Lee E., Walshe N., Sapsed R., Holland J. (2018) Artists as emplaced pedagogues: how does thinking about children’s nature relations influence pedagogy? In: Cutter-Mackenzie A.. Malone K., Barratt Hacking E. (eds) Research Handbook on Childhoodnature. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer.

    Bligh, D., Chacksfield, C. and Sapsed, R. (2009) Leadership and Learning in the Arts, Action Learning: Research and Practice 6: 3, 343 - 348, November 2009.

    Pereira-Stubbs, F. and Sapsed, R. (2009), Exploring a Cambridge Forest, Refocus Journal 8.

    Maddock, M. and Sapsed, R. with Drummond, M-J. (2008) Igniting a Fuse: developing the creative practice of primary school educators, London: Creative Partnerships. ISBN 978-0-7287-1391-8....

  • Esther Sayers
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    Esther Sayers


    As ArtScapers' strategic partner, Esther has worked closely with CCI to develop, research and establish this unique public art education programme for the University of Cambridge. Esther is head of MA Artist Teacher at Goldsmiths College and also a researcher with arts organisations including Wellcome Collection, Camden Arts Centre, Southbank Centre, and the Institute of Cultural Capital, Liverpool John Moore's. She was Curator for Young People’s Programmes, Tate Modern (2002 – 2011). Esther’s professional experience began as an artist leading workshops in schools, community settings and youth clubs. She has been gallery educator at Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Whitechapel Gallery, lecturer at Loughborough and Staffordshire Universities and Education Assistant at Camden Arts Centre (1998-2000). Participation in the arts is central to her research interests, especially developing creative strategies for co-working with young people.

  • Helen Stratford
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    Helen Stratford


    Helen Stratford is a practicing artist and architect. Her work is collaborative, working with architects, artists, curators, diverse communities and publics to develop projects that explore processes of placemaking. In 2004/2005 she was resident fellow in architecture at Akademie Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany. One half of collaborative duo urban (col)laboratory, she is also a member of taking place collective of architects and artists, studio artist at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambs, and an architect at MOLE architects, Ely.

  • Sally Todd
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    Sally Todd


    Sally Todd is a visual artist (Sculpture MA Chelsea College of Art) and theatre practitioner. She makes objects and installations and also devises theatre for children and adults; seeking out the theatrical potential of materials and the narrative possibilities within the everyday. As co-artistic director of Indefinite Articles Theatre Company, she has a particular interest in developing high quality and meaningful theatre for the very young - drawing on her background as an artist to create work out of sand, ink, chalk, clay, shadows and the odd puppet or two. The company's last production for early years involved improvised storytelling with clay. Made with and for 3 - 5 year olds, 'Claytime' has since toured to nurseries, theatres and festivals in the UK and overseas. Her recent practice also involves the use of video in theatre and in installation, as part of 'neuf' film collective.

    Sally is a founder member of CCI and experienced creative facilitator, enjoying working with all ages in diverse settings including; nurseries, schools, theatres, village halls, museums and galleries.

    In 2004 she was funded by ACE East to visit Reggio Emilia and since then has been especially keen on the potential of artist/educator collaboration in developing children’s learning.

  • Tonka Uzu
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    Tonka Uzu


    Tonka Uzu (aka Antoaneta Ouzounova) is a Bulgarian-raised, Italian-educated illustrator based in Cambridge, UK. She holds a Ba Hons in History and Theory of Art from the University of Bologna, Italy and MA in Children's book illustration from ARU, Cambridge School of Art.  Her picture books Olga e Olaf and Olga e Olaf in spiaggia  were published in Italy in 2014 and 2020, the latter becoming finalist in the national award “Nati per Leggere”. Tonka's work as artist and illustrator has been recognized and exhibited internationally. She is interested in psychology of Art, drawing, illustration, art education, collaborative and autobiographical creativity.

  • Nicola Walshe
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    Nicola Walshe


    Nicola is the Pro-Director of Education at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. She is also co-founder and Executive Director of the UCL Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education, the aim of which is to significantly improve climate change and sustainability education within schools by providing free professional development for teachers of all disciplines, all phases and all career stages, underpinned by high quality research.

    She is an associate of CCI and principal investigator of the Eco-Capabilities project (Supporting children’s wellbeing through participatory art in nature: AHRC Grant Ref AH/S006206/1).

    Having gained a PhD in glaciology, Nicola trained as a geography teacher and went on to become Head of Department in three comprehensive schools. She then joined the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education where she worked for ten years, ultimately leading the Secondary Geography PGCE course. Nicola’s research interests lie within Teacher Education. She is particularly interested in Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE), primarily how it is conceptualised by children and the pedagogy for developing learners’ understandings of and engagement with sustainability at all levels (primary school to HE). Most recently she has developed an interest in arts-based approaches to ESE, developing a module on arts-based approaches to ESE for the Primary Education Studies at ARU and connecting local teachers and charities interested in sustainability education.

    Nicola’s work with CCI builds on this to explore how artists working in nature with school children can support their connectedness with nature and, thereby, their wellbeing. The overarching aim of the Eco-Capabilities project is to explore how the wellbeing of all children can be supported through working with artists in familiar outdoor places that they find difficult to engage with. The research focuses on the creative adventuring of CCI, exploring the processes by which this practice supports children’s wellbeing (with a capabilities approach to wellbeing). It will ultimately contribute to contemporary academic and societal conversations about children’s disconnect from nature, their wellbeing (or lack thereof) and the role of the arts at the intersection between the two.

  • Nicky Webb
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    Nicky Webb


    Nicky worked in the arts as a creative producer and communications consultant for more than 30 years, and  held a variety of senior roles in arts organisations including Glyndebourne Opera and the Brighton and Salisbury festivals. She co-founded Artichoke, producers of large scale arts events and festivals, which she ran for 12 years. As well as working with arts organisations as a freelance producer and consultant, she now also uses her project management skills to help people renovate their houses and is co-lead (with Ruth Sapsed) of Resettle Chesterton, a community sponsorship group that is supporting a refugee family from Iraq as they settle in Cambridge.

  • Caroline Wendling
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    Caroline Wendling

    Artist and Trustee

    Caroline Wendling is a multidisciplinary visual artist. Her socially engaged practice bridges art and ecology. She devises complex site-specific experiences in the form of choreographed walks/ performances of poetic nature to connect people to land and landscapes. Her works range across media including print, performance, sound and film. Her projects draw on collaborations with residents as well as specialists in their fields.

    Commissions include: Whitechapel Gallery, London; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn; and Deveron Projects, Huntly. Her work is in the collection of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, The Higgins, Bedford, and a number of private collections.

    Educated both in France and the UK:  Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Strasbourg, MA; the University of Greenwich, PGCE. She teaches at the University of Cambridge Museums, the University of Reading, and West Dean College.  She has been a CCI artist since 2011. Her research is concerned with ways of being and connecting to land, offering deeper and more meaningful understandings of place and ideas of belonging.

  • Lucy Wheeler
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    Lucy Wheeler


    Lucy Wheeler is a freelance arts education project manager, with ten years’ experience working in gallery, museum and arts participatory settings. Passionate about the natural world and the intrinsic benefits of nature, Lucy is motivated by the transformative power of interdisciplinary arts programming. She is coordinating the Branching Out programme on behalf of the Fullscope consortium.

    Lucy has worked in education roles at Ikon Gallery, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts and the Wallace Collection, honing her skills in collaborating with children, young people, artists and partners, establishing programmes that prioritise participants and their part in making meaning. Most recently Lucy worked as Education Project Manager at Bow Arts, where she initiated and managed a broad range of artist-led programmes with schools across East London and developed a programme of skills exchanges and professional development opportunities for artists. Previously she worked in various roles at Kettle’s Yard, leading innovative artist residencies in schools, leading on user requirements for the new education spaces and delivering Circuit – a 4- year national programme setting out to create better access for 15-25 year olds to galleries.

  • David Whitley
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    David Whitley


    David is an associate of CCI. He is curating the Artscapers exhibitions in 2019 and is a member of the advisory group for The Eco-Capabilities Project.

    David Whitley has taught film, poetry and children’s literature at Cambridge University for over 20 years. He was a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education before he retired, and continues to be research active as a Fellow of Homerton College. In his academic life he has contributed to thinking about the way the arts offer different forms of understanding and engagement with the natural world, including writing an influential book on Disney animation The Idea of Nature in Disney Animation (2008/2012). He has also collaborated on interdisciplinary projects concerned with environmental education, such as Pathways to Understanding the Changing Climate (2012-2016). He has been passionately committed to the teaching and dissemination of poetry, which has also formed a major strand of his research, collaboration and writing. His contributions here have included co-editing Poetry and Childhood (2010), collaborating with the University of the West Indies on developing the teaching of Caribbean poetry, and working as Principal Investigator for the Poetry and Memory research project ( He has published many articles on poetry education, children’s literature, and on major poets, such as Ted Hughes, William Wordsworth, Carol Ann Duffy and Derek Walcott.

  • Deb Wilenski
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    Deb Wilenski


    Deb Wilenski is an Early Childhood educator, consultant, and writer, working with Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination and Reflections Nursery and Forest School.  She is the author of 37 Shadows – Listening to children’s stories from the woods, A Story of Smallness and Light, Outside/Inside (with Caroline Wendling) and A Fantastical Guide: Ways into Hinchingbrooke Country Park (with Caroline Wendling). 

    With a background in Biological Anthropology and the Arts, she is inspired by the preschools and infant-toddler centres of Reggio Emilia, the woodland nurseries of Scandinavia, and by projects which value children as makers of culture and meaning.