CQ Staff

Kathy in round table discussion

Kathy McArdle
Chief Executive Officer

Born in Ireland, near a small town called Castleblayney, Kathy began her working life as a theatre director in Dublin, working on both professional productions and in youth and community settings. She went on to become the Founder-Director of the first Outreach & Education programme at The Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre, and then Artistic Director at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Whilst there, Kathy oversaw the capital development programme for the centre’s new venue and also worked with Temple Bar Properties on the regeneration programme for the area.

In 2002, Kathy moved to Scotland as Director of The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen, one of the UK’s most loved and respected music and performance venues. From 2005, Kathy worked in Liverpool, with Fuse, a young people’s theatre company, as Artistic Producer, and then as head of Find Your Talent, a national programme in Merseyside offering children and young people high-quality creative experiences.

Most recently, Kathy was Arts and Cultural Development Manager at The Quays, developing a programme of events at Salford Quays and MediaCityUK, working with the BBC, The Lowry, ITV, University of Salford, local authorities and SMEs.

Kathy has a long history of working as a cultural and creative industries entrepreneur.

Email kathy@creativequarter.com

Jane Brown

Jane Brown
Business Engagement Manager

Before joining the CQ, Jane was the Manager of the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership at the University of Nottingham, a consortium of six universities across the Midlands. Prior to that, Jane worked as Project Manager at an economic development consultancy specialising in the creative economy, and spent eight years at Arts Council England as a senior manager. Jane’s role at the Creative Quarter is to help businesses start-up and grow.

Email jane@creativequarter.com


Stephanie Robertson
Communications, PR & Media Manager

Before joining the CQ, Steph worked as a freelance copywriter and PR for a range of businesses and organisations around Nottingham and beyond. Prior to that, she worked in copywriting, PR and journalism roles in creative agencies in London, Leicester and Nottingham. Steph loves film and is a regular contributor to specialist film websites including Film Inquiry. Her role at the Creative Quarter is to promote all the great things that are happening in the area, both locally and nationally, and support local businesses and projects with their PR and marketing.

Email steph@creativequarter.com


Lauren Lynch
Marketing & Communications Assistant

Lauren studied towards gaining her qualifications in Art and Design, Drama and Fashion and Design as she has a great interest in the creative subjects. After leaving school she went on to further her knowledge in Performing Arts, studying Acting at NCN Clarendon college for 3 years. Also while studying at college she attended The Nottingham Youth Theatre. After leaving college she went on to work with Nottingham City Council in the Short Breaks Team as a Link Worker, working alongside children with learning disabilities. Lauren did this while also working in retail to gain experience in different work environments. She then went back to her Fashion roots by working as a Cutting Room Assistant making luxurious dressing gowns for The Daniel Hanson Partnership. After that Lauren then went on to a different career path, expanding her horizons within the Marketing industry working on social media projects. She has now joined the CQ team as our Marketing and Communications Assistant.

Email lauren@creativequarter.com

Heather Forknell

Heather Forknell

Heather is a multidisciplinary arts practitioner and the CQ’s Administrator. She studied a BA(Hons) degree in Fine Art at De Montfort University, Leicester winning the Embrace Arts Award for dedication to her art practice, and went on to complete a PGCE in Further Education at Derby University. She worked as a Lecturer of Art at Loughborough College and as a Graphic Designer at Image Surgeons, before becoming a freelance photographer and videographer. For the past two years Heather worked as an Assistant Producer at Dance4, where she produced both national and international dance, installation, performance and visual art, both for national and international platforms.



Cathy Mahmood
Creative Nottingham North Coordinator

Cathy’s first job in the arts was working for Birmingham City Council as the Administrator for a £1.7m new work festival to celebrate the turn of the millennium.

She then took up the post of General Manager for New Perspectives Theatre Company; at that time delivering participatory arts projects in Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire as well as producing and touring three new productions a year.  Managing the Old Library in Mansfield as a venue for exhibitions, workshops and performances she was surrounded by wonderful artists, actors, designers and directors who all believed in the power of art to transform lives and engage communities.

Cathy’s six years with New Perspectives were followed by a unique post within NHS Nottinghamshire – advocating for the role of the arts to improve health environments; to engage public, staff and patients through creative consultation and to work alongside the architectural design teams for new NHS buildings. She led the recruitment for a Lead Artist for Bulwell’s new £22m Joint Service Centre and gained funding for two artists residencies for local health centres in the county.

Cathy has worked as a freelance arts coordinator for the last 5 years – in arts and health as well as youth and community settings.  Most recently she has been working at The Greenway Centre in Sneinton as their Youth Arts Coordinator and developing her Graphic Design portfolio.