Maria is currently Head of the Division of Creative Industries, Director of Enterprise for the School, and also Director of the Centre for Research in Digital Storymaking. She brings two decades of experience from across new media to the ACE IT programme, and has been working in the School of Arts and Creative Industries here at LSBU for 4.5 years.
I come from theatre and performance but have worked across sectors and disciplines for many years now - since 1996! Back then, I initiated the first Art and Technology festival to take place in Greece. It become quite a big event and was co-opted by the Ministry of Culture and Cultural Olympiad.
"I love working with people and companies outside of the academy - and I think it's a very important reality check for academics!"
There's no typical day in the School of Arts and Creative Industries (ACI)! I have no routine and my days are widely different - which I love! Some days are full of back-to-back meetings (this can be rather exhausting...). Other days involve meeting students in one-off lectures, tutorials or more formal contexts, such as Course Boards. I supervise PhD Students, so those tutorials can be long and intense. I also do a lot of external work - so sometimes I'm attending meetings in places like the V&A Museum and the Lyric Hammersmith theatre (this is lovely!).
I sometimes organise and chair research events, such as workshops for staff, talks with external speakers or research seminars. I also attend external events like conferences and symposia, deliver talks and on occasion, keynote addresses. All in all, it's fun!
If I wasn't an academic, I'd be working in the creative industries sector, as I did start off as a performer and curator.
"Take time to consider the need for the product you're developing ... Find clear evidence that there is market demand for this product."
I became involved with ACE IT when I attended a training event around funding. Daisy Chatterton, LSBU's Head of Strategic Projects, was presenting there. She talked about the ERDF Programmes and presented a number that LSBU is running. I thought, 'this woman knows her stuff!' and aspired to work with Daisy ever since. We worked together on a number of unsuccessful bids before I contributed to shaping the application for the ERDF project ACE IT. I am now an Academic Lead on the programme, together with my colleague Alan Lewis.
I enjoy working on ACE IT because I love working with people and companies outside of the academy - and I think it's a very important reality check for academics! ERDF programmes bring together academics and industry, and they allow academics to check the value and relevance of their research to those who might be their intended audience or beneficiaries. They allow us to use our knowledge, expertise, resources and infrastructure to make a real change in society - however small this may be - and we learn so much from working with industry partners. Hopefully, ACE IT will also generate new research collaborations and we'll keep working with some of the industry partners we'll be meeting through the project.
My area of expertise is the crossover between theatre/live performances and digital technologies, such as immersive technologies and XR, but also networking and mobile technologies. As Director of Enterprise for ACI, I also bring some expertise in cultural and creative entrepreneurship. Furthermore, I am a practicing curator, specialising in curating ephemeral and live media, such as performance and new media arts.
"[LSBU's ERDF Programmes] allow us to use our knowledge, expertise, resources and infrastructure to make a real change in society."
My top tip for a startup developing a new product or service is... Consider the need for the product they're developing - is there clear evidence that there is market demand for this product? If so, is this a completely new idea or a new iteration of something that already exists? Is the latter, who are the competitors and how does the new product stand out? What is its USP?