creative leadership



Action Learning is a fantastic way to get together with  peers, in a small group, supported by a facilitator, to work on real life work challenges in a confidential environment. 

Each member of the group brings a challenge they are facing, and the group works together through active listening and reflection to gently provide routes to tackling each challenge. It is also a great format for peer support and for building a network of trusted colleagues.

For the Creative Leadership Programme we are running two Action Learning sets: Gaining Confidence as a Creative Leaders facilitated by Natasha Player; and Leading with Care and Empathy facilitated by Ciara Eastell.

Action Learning participants are:

  • Gemma Smith, Take A Part
  • Hannah Mills Brown, Make South West
  • Vanessa Crosse, Plymouth Racial Equality Council
  • Christina Bulford, Exeter Phoenix
  • Jim Baldwin, Fotonow
  • Janette Owen, freelance theatre practitioner
  • Anneliese Kesteven, Take A Part
  • Fran Hawkesworth, Real Ideas Organisation
  • Lauren Taverner Brown, Arts University Plymouth
  • Chloe Uden, Art and Energy
  • Katy Danbury, Exeter Phoenix 

We’ll be highlighting all the Action Learning participants over the coming months. 


Facilitated by Natasha Player 

This action learning set is providing a space for creative leaders who would like to gain more confidence in themselves as leaders.  Participants may not ‘feel’ like a leader but know, deep down, that they have skills and abilities that can be developed even further.  Or they may externally present as a confident person but inside often feel like an ‘imposter’.  

This set will give the participants the space to bring their issues and challenges around confidence into an action learning set environment.  It will be a supportive and nurturing space where participants can be open with others. 
Natasha Player

Natasha Player

Action Learning Facilitator

Natasha is a dynamic accredited facilitator, consultant and mentor, building pace working with towns & cities alongside industry-leading organisations, such as Watershed, Bristol, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill and outdoor arts consortium Without Walls. Her inclusive consultative methodology includes facilitating ‘Conversations with a Purpose’ underpinned by Action Learning. A space for brave conversations to move through significant challenges and build confidence and trust along the way to doing things differently as better-informed and more confident inclusive leaders of the future.

A successful cultural leader with a recognised reputation across the Southwest and nationally for her work on inclusion and diversity, often working with cultural organisations, local authorities and consortiums in coastal areas such as BCP Council and Plymouth Culture. She draws from two decades of experience working with freelance creatives, organisations, venues and communities as a producer, programmer and changemaker alongside holding an MA in arts and cultural management from Dartington School of Arts, an RSA Fellow and trustee.


Facilitated by Ciara Eastell

This action learning set (group) will be providing a space for creative leaders who would like to develop their understanding and practice around leading with care and empathy.  They maybe leading a small team at a time of great change or uncertainty within their organisation and are keen to lead that change with sensitivity and empathy. Or it may be that this is an area completely new to the participants and they would like to gain more insight into how to build an empathetic leadership style.    

These sessions will give the participants the space to bring their issues and challenges around care and empathy into an action learning set environment. 

Ciara Eastell

Ciara Eastell

Action Learning Facilitator

Ciara Eastell is an experienced coach, consultant and facilitator working within the cultural, HE and social enterprise sectors.  She works with clients from both large cultural organisations, such as Tate and the Royal Shakespeare Company through to small arts and heritage organisations.   

Ciara is an experienced coach and action learning set facilitator.  She works part-time as a Professor of Practice at the University of Exeter Business School, where she facilitates a number of networks and action learning sets. 

Ciara was a National Council member of Arts Council England from 2019 – 2022, is a Governor of Arts University Plymouth and was one of the first cohort of Clore Fellows in 2004/5.   

You can find out more about Ciara at