Ms Maia Mackney

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Personal profile

Maia Mackney received her AHRC funded doctorate from Royal Holloway University of London in 2019. Her research examined the tensions surrounding issues of sustainability in the ways Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning engages young people from East London in their creative practice.

Her thesis ‘Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning: A Bridge Over the Fortress Wall’, focussed on the characteristics and specificities of BGCLs engagement in local communities and offers a detailed analysis of Creative Learning activities taking place between 2012 until 2018. Its critical focus related to questions of sustainability, in particular the extent to which BGCL makes a sustained cultural intervention and long-term contribution to cultural sustainability in the diverse communities and sites that host the centre. B.G.C.L, and East London, occupies a contested space between two very different political agendas and communities. On the one hand, the Barbican is part of an ideal of a creative city and is sited close to the capital’s affluent financial centre. On the other, there is deprivation and poverty in the local area. Maia’s research focussed on how a sustainable programme of arts activity can be created with local communities within this cultural context. Maia’s research drew from Henri Bergson’s conception of time and Doreen Massey’s relational approach to space to explore the ways in which arts practice that takes place over time, and with an understanding of place and context, enables the organisation to build meaningful relationships with local communities.

Maia has lectured at Winchester University on BA (Hons) Drama and Royal Holloway University of London. Her research interests include theatre in education, theatre and disability, political theatre, participatory arts, cultural policy, theatre and arts with veterans, theatre and P.T.S.D and durational theatre.

Other work


Since 2011, Maia has worked as an independent consultant, researcher, project manager and participatory theatre practitioner, working with a variety of arts organisations, funders and educational institutions. These include Royal Holloway University of London, Winchester University, Southbank Centre, On the Verge, Heritage Lottery Fund, The Drive Project, Big Ideas, Fertility Festival, Mahogany Opera Group, Diverse City, Activate Performing Arts, AfriKids and Theatre Royal Haymarket. In addition to her work as a research and evaluation consultant, she has a strong artistic practice of her own, most recently running masterclasses with Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists.


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