The Cultural Skills Unit's vision is to create a stronger, more prosperous cultural sector with high quality technical, transversal and English language cultural skills provision, benefiting institutions and enriching the lives of individuals, thereby increasing the UK's reputation for excellence and building trust between people and institutions worldwide. 

Meet the team

Simon Dancey

Simon is Director of the Cultural Skills Unit.

Simon was previously British Council Director for Wales and prior to that was Senior International & Nations Policy Director at Creative & Cultural Skills. Simon has worked extensively as a professional artist and on community arts projects.

He is currently working towards a PhD in international cultural policy with a focus on Latin America. Simon plays guitar for an experimental jazz pop band called Olivia and the Saint.

Sarah MacShane
Senior Programme Manager

Sarah is responsible for developing partnerships and programmes in the Americas and China. Her projects include Scene Change, Backstage to the Future International Festivals Academy, Asia Fashion Future and Lead The Way.

Previously, Sarah worked for Creative & Cultural Skills and INSSO and has lived and worked in Brazil, Mexico and Spain. Sarah recently completed a MSc in Education, Power and Social Change at the University of Birkbeck.

Erica Roscoe
Research Manager

Erica is responsible for undertaking and commissioning research internationally into skills gaps and shortages in the cultural sector.

Before joining the team Erica worked at Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, a research consultancy with a specific focus on audience development in the arts. There she worked on both qualitative and quantitative projects for a range of clients including theatres, museums and orchestras.

In her spare time Erica enjoys art, food and exploring new places and cultures.

Helen Thomas
Head of Museums and Cultural Heritage

Helen has over 10 years’ experience in the arts and heritage sector. She has developed and delivered both exhibitions and educations programmes for the British Museum and prior to joining Cultural Skills in 2014 worked for the Association of Illustrators, providing vocational support and establishing an international awards programme. With Cultural Skills she has developed training opportunities for museum professionals across the world, most recently launching International Museum Academy UK.

Irini Vouzelakou
EU Programme Manager

Irini develops and manages the CSU’s EU Europe regional strategy.

She was previously Head of Arts at the British Council in Greece. She has worked extensively with artists and organisations across the cultural and creative industries. Prior to this, she was Assistant Artistic Director at the European Capital of Culture “Patras 2006” and prior to that Section Manager of Culture at the “Athens 2004” Olympic Games. 

Her personal interests include working out, healthy diet and good company.

Lowri Jones
Programme Manager

Lowri develops programmes in EU Europe and Wider Europe and leads on stakeholder management in Wales. 

Prior to this, Lowri managed a number of British Council education projects ranging from small government grant-funded projects to large-scale EC funded initiatives. Lowri also worked on a high-value business transformation programme for the British Council English & Exams department.

Lowri's personal interests include cooking, performing and visual arts, languages and interior design.

Marcia Mansur
Project Manager

Marcia develops projects for social change and capacity building in the Brazilian cultural sector and acts as a liaison with the Transform Arts Programme in Brazil.

She holds a MSc in Anthropology, has worked as an independent executive producer and collaborated with institutions aimed at supporting indigenous people through audiovisual resources.

Marcia enjoys making documentary films and riding her bike regardless of the weather.

Nathan Tregarvan
Marketing and Programmes Manager

Nathan develops training courses for arts and museum professionals across the world, has regional responsibility for the Middle East and North Africa and East Asia, and manages the team’s digital, marketing and communications.

Nathan’s past work includes cultural festivals in Qatar (Qatar UK 2013) and China (UK NOW), and exhibitions including Gagarin in Britain and The English Effect.

He enjoys travelling, psychology, sculpture, technology and reading the Economist.

Souzan Mansour
Research Manager

Souzan undertakes research and analysis on the skills gaps and shortages in the cultural and creative industries in Sub Saharan Africa, and has previously managed research for the CSU in the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.

She has worked at various NGOs and development organizations in Egypt as a researcher and writer, and has worked prior to that in academia in Canada. She holds an MSc in Social Research Methods.