The CC Team

The Connected Communities Programme is led by the AHRC and the Leadership Fellows supported by a small team of researchers and administrators. You can find out a little more about the team below. You can find our details on the Contact Us page.

Leadership Fellows

Professor Keri Facer, University of Bristol

I’m Professor of Educational and Social Futures at the University of Bristol where my work is broadly concerned with creating new relationships between universities, schools and wider society (or between formal education and informal/community learning). My background is in interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research, often bringing together education researchers, creative arts and design, new technologies, young people and teachers to create new approaches to education. In recent years I’ve been particularly concerned with understanding the implications of potential future economic, environmental and technological change for the relationship between schools and communities, which is the subject of my latest book Learning Futures.

These days I’m mainly concerned with exploring how we can best create new research cultures to ensure that all of our communities can build what Appadurai calls the strategic knowledge they need to thrive despite potential significant environmental, economic and technological disruptions.

Find out more

Professor George McKay, University of East Anglia

George is Professor of Media Studies at UEA.

His research and teaching interests are in alternative culture and media, the cultural politics of popular music, disability, festivals, community music, alternative cultures, cultures of protest and social movements, and gardening. He has written and edited numerous books, collections and journals in these fields, including the following AHRC-funded monographs:

  • Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain (Duke University Press, 2005)
  • Shakin’ All Over: Popular Music and Disability (University of Michigan Press; Corporealities–Discourses of Disability series, 2013)
  • with Emma Webster, Music From Out There, In Here: 25 years of London Jazz Festival (2017).

His international collection, The Pop Festival: Music, Media, History, Culture, was published by Bloomsbury in 2015. He is currently co-editing, with Gina Arnold, The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock. His personal website is

George was a member of the AHRC Peer Review College for Media, Music, and for Knowledge Exchange. His other involvement in Connected Communities projects includes being co-author of a 2011 scoping review entitled Community Music: History and Current Practice, Its Constructions of ‘Community’, Digital Turns and Future Soundings, alongside a 22,000 word, 90-entry annotated bibliography of the field, co-investigator on a 2012-13 project entitled Community Gardening, Creativity and Everyday Culture, and principal investigator for a small 2014 project in the creative economy, producing a film Carnivalising the Creative Economy: AHRC-funded Research on and with British Jazz Festivals.

Find out more


Katherine Dunleavy, University of Bristol

I provide administrative support ranging from organising events to updating the website. I also manage the very active and interesting mailing list for our Connected Communities researchers – please contact me if you would like to receive our emails.

Rachel Daniel & Jessica Knights, University of East Anglia

Rachel and Jessica worked on the Connected Communities Programme at the University of East Anglia between 2014 and 2018 supporting the Leadership Fellow George McKay.

Michelle Bagnall

is an experienced administrator and research project officer, as well as a keen worker in community arts and music festivals and venues in north Norfolk. She is administrator for the final part of the Leadership Fellowship work in late 2018 and 2019 with George at UEA.

Postdoc researchers

Dr Emma Webster

was postdoctoral research associate working with George at UEA, 2015-16, on a 12-month project called The Impact of Festivals. The key partner was EFG London Jazz Festival. Following this, Emma moved to a postdoctoral position on the AHRC-funded project about live music in Scotland. She is co-author of The History of Live Music in Britain (2013), and, with George McKay, of Music From Out There, In Here: 25 years of London Jazz Festival (2017).

Dr Lucy Wright

was a Senior Research Associate working with George on a 12-month project at UEA, 2017-2018, called Participatory Arts and DIY Culture. Among the outputs were contributions to The Oxford Handbook of Punk Rock, and a major national conference at UEA on New Perspectives on Participatory Arts.

Dr Elizabeth Bennett

is  is a postdoctoral performance researcher, working with George at UEA, 2018-19. Her main areas of interest are contemporary performance in relation to space, place, and landscape, participatory performance practices, community arts, and intangible cultural heritage. Her doctoral thesis, Singing the South Downs Way: Affect in Performance and Practice, was an autoethnographic study of folk singing in Sussex. She has recently completed a research assistant post at Royal Holloway University of London, undertaking research as part of the National Theatre’s flagship new programme Public Acts. Elizabeth has held visiting lecturer posts at Royal Holloway University of London and the University of Winchester, designing courses that explore theatre, geography, performance, and mobility. She  performs regularly as an unaccompanied folk singer and as part of natural voice community choirs.