art & the public realm, Director: Geoff Wood


Frances Downie

Frances Downie has been a senior professional working in the visual arts, public art and architecture for 20 years. Her work has been split between organisational development roles and policy and strategy development for Local Authorities and RDAs.

Previously, as Director of two small arts organisations, Shape East and the Design Initiative she was responsible for developing, managing and often hands-on delivery of the programme and the finances to deliver.

She has been active in developing strategy and commissioning but is also concerned with education and capacity building and has set up programmes such as Board retreats, learning workshops, conferences and education programmes.

In all roles she has taken the lead in developing partnerships and networks of unlike organisations to participate in projects and has developed the contractual arrangements to underpin those relationships. Whilst her background is in the visual arts and design she has always worked in an interdisciplinary and multi disciplinary fashion and nearly always in the public realm or in formal and informal spaces.

Frances has also developed creative projects for non arts organisations (a Regeneration Agency and a University).

Frances has worked on a wide range of Working pArts’ projects including Creativity in the Coalfields, Liverpool Ropewalks, Landmark Wales, Milton Keynes and Northstowe.

Rosie Crook

Rosie is a senior heritage professional with over 25 years’ experience in managing museums, heritage and cultural organisations.

She has a career-long commitment to opening up heritage to everyone and an expertise in consultation and evaluation based on developing good understanding with communities. She has exceptional people skills which enable her to develop a rapport with consultees and an ethical approach which is about making sure that people are correctly represented.

Her key skills include consultation with communities and individuals; working with hard to reach groups; devising evaluation plans and strategies; innovative and meaningful evaluation that is appropriate to the audience; research; understanding and presenting results of evaluation.

Rosie’s recent experience has involved working with creative practitioners and schools to deliver measurable educational outcomes from creative interventions.

Tom Lonsdale

Tom Lonsdale is a landscape architect with a national reputation for the analysis of ‘place’ and the development of strategic and logistic aspects of its enhancement and conservation. He draws on over 35 years’ experience at management level, including 14 years as Chief Landscape Architect with Manchester City Council and, subsequently, as founding Director of renowned landscape and urban design practice Camlin Lonsdale.

Tom now works to promote understanding of the need for quality in shaping the built environment, through the processes of Enabling, Design Review and creative collaborations.

Having served for five years on the national CABE Design Review Panel and chaired the Places Matter panel in the Northwest for its inaugural two years, he was Vice-chair of the Yorkshire Panel and Chair of the Humber Panel.

Other activities include extensive conference speaking and competition judging etc. in UK and abroad, as well as acting as Design Champion within multi-disciplinary teams tackling major regeneration schemes.

Tom has been a regular contributor to Working pArts’ projects including Creativity in the Coalfields, Northstowe, Workington, Chesterfield and Pooley Country Park.

Mererid Velios

Mererid is an experienced curator and public art project manager. Working pArts and Mererid’s practice, Celfwaith regularly collaborate providing professional services including advice on strategy, sites, budgets, brief development, commissioning and project delivery. This has included Weymouth and Portland, Landmark Wales and Swansea SA1.

Mererid’s experience includes preparation of public art strategies, feasibility studies and public art policies, either as standalone documents or within masterplans. She can produce public art strategies for towns, parks, hospitals, boroughs and specific regeneration schemes.

Mererid also develops training seminars for architects, landscape architects, engineers, planners, regeneration officers, developers and is experienced at designing training seminars to specific needs.

Mererid creates realistic computer illustrations of artists’ proposals from small-scale models or drawings. She also creates databases and enables on line access.

Abi Horsfield

Abi Horsfield is a community theatre/arts professional with over 25 years experience of theatre facilitation, performance and project management. Her long career has seen her deliver workshops across 300 projects in 27 challenging countries such as Ghana, Thailand, Uzbekistan, the Philippines and Nigeria. Recent Project include Now and Then, a project which explored the experiences of people with dementia; and Songs from the Streets, a project with Liverpool’s homeless community. Her strengths are in teasing out people’s hopes and aspirations and helping them express themselves in a way that can feed into projects.

She has worked with us on several elements, in particular the Kirkby programme of consultation and engagement.

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