Peter Thornton

Visiting Fellow in Arts and Management and Consulting
External Relations Director for Arts Council England East


Peter has been External Relations Director for Arts Council England East based in Cambridge since September 2003 with responsibility for:
  • Communications and resource development teams
  • Regeneration initiatives in the regions major growth areas e.g. the Royal Opera House production park being developed in Thurrock Thames Gateway
  • International work in San Jose California, Krakow Poland and Brazil
  • Management of our national lottery grant scheme
  • Creative industries development
  • Skills and creative learning
  • Relationship management with East of England Development Agency, Royal Opera House, BBC, Government Office for the East of England and East of England Regional Assembly
Peter began his career in 1982 teaching Drama and Theatre Arts in an upper school in Suffolk. He then moved into the arts funding sector becoming the first Youth Arts Officer in the country working across all art forms to improve the provision of creative activity for 15 -25 year olds, out of formal education. Following this, he then moved into Venue Development continuing to work across art forms to strengthen the region's arts centres

In 1994 he acted as consultant to Anglia Polytechnic University in the establishment of a new Masters Degree in Arts Management; his involvement subsequently grew through a secondment to include the design, validation and delivery of the core module and an option entitled "Youth Arts Strategy". He has devised and presented numerous seminars and participated in national arts management training conferences.

Previously, he established his own consultancy which ran until September 2003 and specialised in Management Training, Project management and consultancy in both the commercial and cultural sectors. He also spent 18 months as National Director of Artswork - youth arts development agency. In this role he headed the charity, line managed staff and was instrumental in developing national training and seminar programmes as well as running focus groups and taking an active role in advocacy for Youth Arts.

Throughout his career in public funding of the arts Peter has focused on management issues, paying particular attention to staffing and personnel questions, profitability and capital development.

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