DARE Working Group

Matthew Treherne

I am Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, where I have also served as Head of School of Languages, Cultures and Societies and as Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute and co-founded the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies. I am Professor of Italian Literature; my research interests focus on medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature, and on the role of the arts and humanities in the future development of finance. I have also worked as a business strategy consultant, and co-founded and directed a translation business.

Dominic Gray

Dominic Gray is Projects Director at Opera North, leading on collaborations and partnerships, new work, and the public programme in the Howard Assembly Room. He has developed major projects with the Barbican and Southbank Centres, and for festivals including Hull City of Culture, The Great Exhibition of the North and Leeds 2023. He sat on the advisory boards for the AHRC, the Gulbenkian Inquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations, and the University of Leeds Cultural Institute. Dominic has also been a trustee at Phoenix Dance Theatre and Leeds Conservatoire. Originally from Barry in South Wales, Dominic studied English Literature and Theatre Studies, before working for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North. He steered Opera North’s bid to become a Theatre of Sanctuary in 2018.

 Wieke Eringa

Wieke joined the University of Leeds as Director of the Cultural Institute in September of 2022. She was CEO and Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance for 15 years, leading a team of talented people to support independent artists to create excellent dance experiences for people who face barriers, in the belief that dance can speak powerfully to critical issues of our times. Previous roles include audience development at Sadler’s Wells and Director of Learning and Access at Northern Ballet. Wieke trained and worked as dancer and choreographer and has an MA from the University of Surrey. She’s driven by the transformational power of culture and it’s potential as catalysts for change in contemporary society in bringing joy, connection and well-being in the face of increasing social-injustice, polarisation and the climate crisis.

Dr Kevin Almond

Dr Kevin Almond is Associate Professor in Fashion at The University of Leeds. He is a master’s graduate from The Royal College of Art Fashion School, London and gained a Ph.D. with a thesis titled ‘Suffering in Fashion’. He has held various posts in academia, which include the role of Head of Department of Fashion and Textiles at University of Huddersfield. He has also worked in the international fashion industry as a designer and has published widely on fashion related themes that include: creative pattern cutting; sculptural thinking in fashion; mourning dress and oversize fashion. He has conducted considerable research into the cultural significance and history of fashion in Yorkshire and is Deputy Director of the Yorkshire Fashion Archive held at University of Leeds, which is which is a regionally focused collection of (mainly) twentieth-century garments and accessories. This expertise has led to the award of two successful grants from the Cultural Institute, University of Leeds and Leeds Museums and Galleries. He organised and chaired The International Conferences for Creative Pattern Cutting in 2013 and 2016 at The University of Huddersfield. These events were an opportunity for academics and industrialists to present current research about pattern cutting and to network. He is co-investigator on the AHRC-funded Future Fashion Factory, which is a £5.4 million R&D partnership exploring and developing new digital and advanced textile technologies to boost the design of high-value creative products. He serves on the advisory board for the Journal of Dress History and is peer reviewer for numerous academic journals. He is Research Group Leader for Fashion and Textiles at University of Leeds.

John E. Ladbury

Initially trained as a physical/inorganic chemist (University of London and University of Greenwich), Prof. Ladbury completed post-doctoral research at Yale University, Harvard University Medical School and New York University Medical Center in biophysics and molecular biology. Prof. Ladbury was privileged to obtain a Research Career Development Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust in 1994, which enabled him to return to the UK to start his own laboratory at the University of Oxford. He joined University College London in 1996 and obtained a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 1998. In 2003 he became Professor of Molecular Biophysics. In 2008 he moved to Houston, USA to take up the position of Edward Rotan Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research and Director of the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Function at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He returned to the UK in 2014 to become Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. Since 2019 he has been Director of the Leeds Centre for Disease Models. As Faculty Dean Prof. Ladbury promoted interactions on the “creative process” in the arts and sciences and funded inputs to Creative Labs. He is an active member on the Culture Institute and DARE Committees and a judge for the DARE Art Prize.

Christine Chibnall

Christine attended her first opera at the age of eight and was immediately hooked. After studying English Language and Literature at University College, London she went straight to Cardiff to work for Welsh National Opera, where amongst other things she worked for the Head of Music and Chorus Master, but also founded the Education Department and ran the Small Scale Touring Department touring shows as diverse as Janancek’s Diary of One Who Disappeared to An Evening with Ivor Novello, and Handel’s Tamerlano all over Wales, from the purpose built theatres such as Theatr Clwyd and Theatr Harlech to Treorchy Miners Welfare Hall. In 1983 she joined Opera North to run the then non-existent Planning Department. For the last 40 years she has been involved in coordinating the work on the main stage and has been responsible for many of the company’s most innovative creative ideas from the Eight Little Greats Season in 2004 to the South Asian Orpheus in 2022.

Becky Smith

Becky Smith is Opera North’s Head of Academic Partnerships. Her work involves building links and creating opportunities for engagement between Opera North and the wider cultural industries, and all those working, studying and engaging with higher education (HE). Prior to joining Opera North in 2021, Becky led on international business development activity for Advance HE, working with institutions, sector bodies and governments to support HE development. Previously, she spent twenty years in academic and professional service roles within universities on three continents including the University of Leeds, University of York, University of Groningen and Shanghai University. She also spent seven years at the University of Toronto where her work in a senior management role focused on business development, partner relations management, international student recruitment and student services. Becky is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She was formerly a Member of the International Advisory Committee at China’s prestigious Peking University and was also Lead Technical Advisor on HE Leadership and Teaching Quality for the UK Government’s ‘Skills for Prosperity’ Programme. She has an MA in Language Teaching, has published research in relation to the use of MOOCs in continuing education and won an award for her work developing an outreach programme to encourage minority students to enter medical degree programmes.

Dr Sonja Andrew

Crossing the disciplines of design, semiotics and narratology, Dr Sonja Andrew employs the creative process as a mode of research inquiry. Her main research focuses on textile semantics, communication and cultural memory, exploring multi-modality through visual and tactile communication on cloth, and the influence of context on audience/user perception. In 2014 the Arts and Humanities Research Council selected her work on visual narrative for an Image Gallery Award and publication in their centennial book ‘Beyond the Trenches, Researching the First World War’. Sonja exhibits internationally, with designs jury selected by peer review for exhibitions in Ukraine, Lithuania, China, South Korea, Portugal, Belgium, and the UK. In 2016 she received an excellence award for her installation ‘The Ties That Bind (II)’ in the Lausanne to Beijing International Textile Biennial and was invited to Adidas to run workshops on perception and memory with their design teams. She has undertaken art-science collaborations with the Cancer Research UK Institute in Manchester, creating pieces for the exhibition ‘The Fabric of Research’ for European City of Science 2016, and more recently worked with biophysicists at the University of Leeds, developing creative responses to their scientific research as part of the 2019 ‘Creative Labs: Biological Sciences’ programme. Sonja’s commissioned work includes pieces for the United Bristol Healthcare Trust and Wells Cathedral, and her designs are featured in ‘Textiles, The Art of Mankind’, a global review of contemporary textile practice. An academic and a creative practitioner, Sonja is an Associate Professor in the School of Design at the University of Leeds


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