Founding Director and CEO
Trevor MacFarlane FRSA
Trevor is the Founding Director of Culture Commons, building strategic relationships with stakeholders from across the creative, cultural and research sectors to co-design policy and influence decision makers.
Trevor was an advisor to the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Shadow Minister for Small Business and the Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, advising on landmark Bills and legislation passing through the UK Parliament.
Trevor was Senior Researcher on the Labour Together report into the 2019 general election, which is still influencing the party leadership to this day.
Trevor was also Chief of Staff to Labour Party parliamentarians in the European Parliament, advising the Vice President of the Culture and Education Committee on the harmonisation of creative and cultural policy across the then 28 Member States of the European Union.
As a former theatre maker and creative practitioner, Trevor has led award-winning arts organisations, making work in some of the UK’s foremost cultural institutions.
Trevor is proud chair of Stand and Be Counted Theatre Company who support refugees, migrants and asylum seekers through creative practice, and Chair of 53Two, Manchester’s only independent city centre performance venue.
Policy & Programmes Manager
Alanna Reid is the Policy and Programmes Manager at Culture Commons, working on the organisations open policy development programmes and consultancy activities.
With a background in town planning and urban development, Alanna is a former policy advisor on housing and planning issues for central government, holding posts within the Department for Levelling Up, Cabinet Office and Department for Business & Trade.
In addition to policy roles, Alanna was also Private Secretary and Head of Office for two Ministers of State and ran the Deputy Leader’s office & Labour Group for Edinburgh City Council.
Alanna joined Culture Commons in 2022, while pivoting their career towards the creative and cultural sectors, training in both stage and screen writing. Alanna now combines a decade of experience across policy development, parliamentary procedure and local democracy to advocate for the UK’s creative and cultural sectors, while exploring the role of storytelling and creativity in policy development.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr Claire Burnill-Maier
Claire is a Postdoctoral Researcher whose current research explores the role of culture in place and place-making. Claire is working on Culture Commons flagship 'the future of local cultural decision making' programme.
Following her research excellence awarded PhD at the University of Leeds, School of Performance and Cultural Industries, examining the relationships between cultural organisations located in cities and their counterparts in the satellite towns on their peripheries, she has held research positions with ‘Here for Culture and Place’ on behalf of the eleven Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs) for the Northern Culture and Place Partnership.
Research has included collating evidence and mapping assets in support of investment strategies in culture, heritage and nature as part of wider place-based economic strategies.
Previous research roles have included research associate for Creative Manchester / AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (the PEC) at the University of Manchester (UK) where she remains an Honorary Research Fellow.
Prior to this Claire was a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Leeds and Research Associate with the Centre for Cultural Value.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr Lucrezia Gigante
Lucrezia Gigante, AFHEA, is a Museum Studies researcher with an interest in contemporary public culture and the politics of place-based cultural participation. Lucrezia is working on Culture Commons flagship 'the future of local cultural decision making' programme.
With a background in Classics and Art Museum and Gallery Studies, she completed her doctoral research at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, with the support of AHRC Midlands4Cities funding.
In her thesis, titled ‘The Spatial Politics of Art Organisations: Public Programmes as Sites for Cultural Citizenship’, Lucrezia explored how situated cultural practices are invested with political responsibility through the production and reproduction of ideas of place. Her research yielded an original critical model of cultural citizenship for constituency-based, place-responsive public programmes in art organisations.
Lucrezia’s work experience spans academia, where she held teaching and research-focused roles, as well as public programming and digital communications in visual art and heritage contexts (UNESCO Global Network of Water Museums and Pompeii Archaeological Park, among others).