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Lara Ratnaraja


Lara is a freelance consultant specialising in ideas, innovation, leadership, collaboration, cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sector. She develops and delivers projects and policy on how cultural and digital technology intersect for a number of national partners as well as programmes around leadership, resilience and business development for the arts and creative industries.

She co-produced RE:Present a new initiative delivered in partnership with Creative Shift, funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England, which supported the development of cultural leaders from diverse backgrounds so that the cultural ecology of the city better reflects its changing demographic.

She is also Programme Director on Creative Warwickshire a programme for creative and digital freelancers and businesses who have ambitions to grow their businesses, develop new markets and enhance their business skills. 

Lara has also developed, managed and delivered successful ERDF, ESF, ACE and other funded and non-funded programmes and projects cross sectors. Until 2011, she was the Sector Development Director for the Creative, Cultural and Digital Industries at Business Link West Midlands. She is also on the Board of Stan’s Cafe.


Helga Henry

co - producer 

 Helga is Director of Organisational Development at Birmingham Hippodrome, a role which focuses on the organisation’s culture and leadership (especially its investment in staff, board and volunteers) together with strategic consultancy projects and thought leadership that contribute to the theatre and the cultural sector as a whole.  Immediately prior to this role she was Lead Consultant at Creative Shift – a wholly owned subsidiary of the theatre which brought business skills to creatives and creativity to business.  Her perspective – as a former corporate solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in arts organisations nationally and internationally – combines commercial savvy, artistic vision and incisive observation.  Her experience includes advising a range of national arts organisations, a secondment at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY where she worked with the team on the strategic plan that led to the creation of an award winning theatre space which opened in 2015. 

A former Clore fellow (2008-2010 NESTA supported fellow for Entrepreneurial Organisations), she now develops talented staff and  cultural leaders, most recently in partnership with Lara Ratnaraja on the



ASTONish programme and also on the highly acclaimed RE:Present programme – Transforming the Diversity of Cultural Leadership (funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England).  With her friend and respected consultant colleague Dr Andrew Bass, she is the co-author of “NetworkAbility – Building your business one relationship at a time”, published in November 2016.