New Director for CCI

Emily Dowdeswell

Photo credit: Josimar Senior

Emily Dowdeswell has been appointed as our new Director, following an open recruitment process by the Board of Trustees.

Emily has worked with Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination as an associate since 2019. She will take up the Director role on 2 September 2024, replacing Ruth Sapsed who announced earlier this year that she’ll be leaving the charity after leading it for more than 15 years.

As an associate, Emily has collaborated with our artists, practitioners and partners across multiple projects. She has supported CCI’s income generation and fundraising, organisation strategy and transitions, and also helped transform how we communicate and talk about our work. In particular, she introduced innovative and creative ways to communicate CCI’s unique artist-led approach. The impact of these changes gave the work greater exposure, improving CCI’s ability to advocate for the urgency of nurturing the relationships children and young people have with the worlds on their doorsteps.

Richard McLean, Chair of CCI, said:
It is a pleasure to announce Emily’s appointment as Director. We were fortunate to receive a number of strong applications for the role, and Emily was the stand out candidate. She was truly exceptional in front of the selection panel.  Emily combines a background in education and research, a range of professional experience, a passion for our mission and values and a deep understanding of CCI’s practice. I look forward to working with Emily as CCI’s next Director, building on the strong roots that Ruth has put down.

Emily takes over an organisation on a strong footing, with a committed Board, an exceptional network of partners, experienced and gifted artists, and a dedicated team.  CCI’s work has never been more needed and with Emily’s inclusive leadership, we are confident CCI will continue to help children, young people and their communities to thrive.

As well as her work with CCI, Emily’s professional background includes arts informed anthropological training, corporate experience marketing and commercialising classical music, and research focused on children’s ways of knowing and being. She brings a deep understanding of children’s experiences of learning gained from her postgraduate research at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, Open University.

Emily Dowdeswell said:
I am delighted to have been appointed as incoming Director by the Board of Trustees. The bridge between theory and grassroots practice has always been very important to me, and it has been a joy and privilege to support the important work of CCI over the past five years.

Ruth Sapsed leaves a powerful legacy and a vision for a society in which everyone can enjoy fulfilling and creative lives. CCI offers the expertise and foundational research into nature connectedness and Artscaping needed to help children and young people flourish. We have an incredible team that leads outstanding programmes for children and young people, the practitioners who support them, and their wider communities, galvanising hope and optimism for the future as we all navigate the turbulence of today.