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Creative Industries Knowledge Cluster

News updates…

October 2016: Jo McGrann, BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Management student, wins MPA Inspiration Award.

August 2016: Welcome to new cluster member Dr Louise Platt.

July 2016: Four Manchester Met Business School students in Marketing, Operations and Digital Business are nominated in the MPA Inspiration Awards 2016 Shortlist.

July 2016: Professor Tony Conway to deliver an alumni lecture on 22 September called experiential marketing and the co-creation of value.

March 2016: Manchester Evening News and theEword have agreed to work with a number of our postgraduates to conduct consultancy dissertations.

February 2016: Congratulations to our Masters students Diana, Gemma, Marion and Margarida on their success as the winning team at Future Talent in the Creative Industries 2016. They will accompany Become UK as their guests at the The Roses Creative Awards.

January 2016: The Creative Industries Federation and the ICAEW has published Creative industries – routes to finance: A guide to sources of funding and investment for arts, cultural and creative organisations, which is free to download.

December 2015: Launch of Creative Industries Consultancy Dissertation, which offers the opportunity for creative organisations to partner with an MMU postgraduate students on original and independent research projects. (See below for more info.)

November 2015: 10 places available to MMU staff and postgraduates for the Outsmart Workshop with Exterion Media and the MPA. To reserve your place, please email Katherine Roycroft at

The creative industries make up one of the UK’s leading industrial sectors, responsible for 1.4 million jobs and 5.3% of the country’s gross value-added (GVA).

It is a broad and diverse sector which ranges from advertising and crafts to performing arts and video games. As well as their direct economic value, these industries play an important role in catalysing innovation across the wider economy, through the products and services they provide, but also as means of originating and spreading new ideas, knowledge and ways of working.

Technology Strategy Board

The Creative Industries knowledge cluster brings together like-minded academics and research students to explore a range of specialist subjects in the creative sector (new media, creative services, the arts, publishing etc.).

What do we do?

Our Creative Industries Knowledge Cluster is an interdisciplinary research centre that encompasses a broad range of creative design practices, innovation and external engagement. It reflects the vibrancy and innovation of this growing sector in the United Kingdom and, in particular, Manchester – one of the largest hubs for creative and digital content creation across Europe.

The Cluster aims to increase awareness of our strong creative industry links and high levels of employability for graduates through relationship building, mentoring, events led by industry experts, as well as networking and employment opportunities.

It will also contribute a strategic approach to curriculum development via a review of Undergraduate and Postgraduate provision, informing future planning and the development of courses aimed at industry practitioners.

If you are interesting in finding out more about our work, please get in touch by emailing Jane Tonge at

Who are we?
Teaching & Research

One of the key strengths lies in its teaching and research around the area of digital communications. In our teaching we emphasize practitioner skills, with knowledge in areas such as digital marketing strategy, specific platform skills development and best practice in the use of digital and social media platforms as marketing, PR and retail channels.

MSc Public Relations and Media Management
& PgCert Public Relations and Digital Communications

We recently launched an innovative new MSc Public Relations and Media Management aimed at public relations and communications practitioners who want to progress in their careers and continue their professional development by adding an academic discipline and advanced postgraduate qualification to their practical experience.

Experienced professionals whose initial qualifications do not include public relations, or which pre-date the development of digital communications, or who are seeking to progress to a more strategic PR management role will find this course equally valuable. The course will also suit marketers, journalists or other communications practitioners who may be seeking a career change qualification.

Delivered part-time and online via webinars, the course is one of the first in its kind in the UK and attracts student from the UK and beyond who take part in live webinars from their own home or office, wherever they are based. Underpinned by public relations theory and strategy, the course also explores campaign planning using the latest digital and social media techniques, investigates corporate reputation management, including media law, and provides a senior practitioner view of current management and leadership practice in public relations.

Teaching uses a unique blend of live delivery, webinar and web-based learning platforms building on Foundation Days for each unit, which also provide networking opportunities for attendees. Students can also apply for the new online part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations and Digital Communications which is a shorter course and delivered as above.

For more information contact Dr Jane Tonge on

MSc Digital Marketing

We also run an acclaimed masters degree in Digital Marketing with a private training company and a number of other private awards. Our practitioner-based research covers diverse issues in digital and social, such as social media evaluation, best practice in agency roles, social media and sports, and digital and social media roles in the support of retail marketing.

Please contact Jeff McCarthy for further details.

Expert Biographies

Dr Jane Tonge

Jane is a senior lecturer in marketing communications, specialising in public relations and corporate reputation management. She has 15 years of commercial experience working in the public relations and communications industry, both in-house and within consultancies, and in public and private sectors with clients as diverse as housing associations, automotive, healthcare and chemical industries.

Her experience includes account management, campaign planning, event management and web content development, and implementing public relations and communications campaigns, particularly in the business-to-business area. Key skills are writing, editing, publication management, and media relations. Jane also ran her own freelance PR and copywriting consultancy, and previously worked as an Editor and Writer for the Plain English Campaign.

Jane is the Programme Leader for the full-time MSc Public Relations course and the part-time online MSc Public Relations and Media Management, aimed at public relations and communications practitioners. She teaches at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level and currently lectures in the areas of public relations skills and specialisms, corporate reputation management, and research methods. Jane also delivered workshops on public relations for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs on the New Entrepreneurs Scholarship scheme.

Jane completed her PhD at MMU Business School where she researched the role and contribution of networking to client acquisition and retention within public relations consultancies. Her research explored business networks for SMEs and professional services, as well as barriers to women in networking. Jane’s current research interest is arts marketing and public relations, with a focus on theatre and audience development. She has published journal articles on networking, book chapters on public relations, and co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Public Affairs, as well as presenting her research at national and international conferences.

As well as a PhD, Jane also holds a BA (Hons) in History from Cambridge University, and an MA (Distinction) in Public Relations from MMU. Jane is a Member of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She was also a Senior Examiner for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) for Managing Corporate Reputation at postgraduate level. In her spare time, Jane is involved in acting, directing and writing for amateur and fringe theatre in Greater Manchester.

As Leader of the Creative Industries Cluster, Jane aims to bring together academics, businesses and practitioners involved in the creative industries to identify opportunities for collaboration to enhance research, student employability and education provision.

Prof Tony Conway

Professor Tony Conway lectures in Marketing Communications and Relationship Marketing. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Academy of Marketing and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Prior to moving to Manchester Metropolitan University, he was Associate Dean of Corporate Business and Work Based Learning at the University of Chester. Prior to Chester, he was Head of Business Strategy Directorate at Salford Business School and successfully developed a number of corporate Management Development Programmes.

Tony has produced journal articles, text contributions and conference papers on Public Sector, Relationship and General Services Marketing Management. Many of these have focused on the Arts and Heritage sectors and his doctorate specifically dealt with the application of Relationship Marketing in the subsidised performing arts. He was guest editor for a Special Arts and Cultural Edition of the International Journal of Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Marketing and has been Editorial Board member of the US Journal of Non-profit and Public Sector Marketing since 2003.

He was the Chair of the North West Institute for Services Management (NWISM), a grouping of like-minded individuals who were interested in research/ consultancy in the service industries (particularly the public sector). He was the Director of the Centre for Audience Development Research (CADRE) and through collaboration with the Department of Art and Design at Salford University, developed a broader cross-faculty Centre: Vis A Vis (Centre for Audience and Visitor Research). As a result he was involved in a number of consultancy and research projects linked to the Arts sector. He has been the Chair of the Arts and Heritage Marketing Special Interest Group of the Academy of Marketing and thus was on the Academy’s Executive Committee. He has been a track chair for many national and international conferences in both general and Arts and Heritage Marketing/Management.

Tony presented three conference papers at the 2015 Academy of Marketing Conference hosted bt the University of Limerick. One was specifically linked to the Creative Industries, and the other two concerned the Marketing of Higher Education:

  • Conway, T. & Hemphill, T. (2015) The Magic of Marketing: ‘Growth Hacking’: Aiding UK Technology Start-ups, Annual Academy of Marketing Conference, University of Limerick, Eire.
  • Conway, T., Bakewell, C. & Smith, A. (2015) The Magic of Marketing: The Role of Cross-Cultural Emotions on Behavioural Intentions; An Exploratory Study in the UK Higher Education Setting, Annual Academy of Marketing Conference, University of Limerick, Eire.
  • Conway, T. & Lichy, J. (2015) The Magic of Marketing: Internationalising the Student Experience – Applying Relationship Marketing to UK Business Schools in Overcoming Psychic Distance: The Case of a French Relationship, Annual Academy of Marketing Conference, University of Limerick, Eire. Best Paper Award winner

Tony’s current PhD supervision includes the following titles:

  • ‘The Practice of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in the Service Sector in Pakistan’ (supervising with Jane Tonge).
  • ‘An exploration of the role of social media within the decision making process of prospective postgraduate students.’

Prof Steve Miles

Steve Miles is Professor of Sociology at MMU and is interested in the impact of culture-led regeneration and in the commodifiction of the city. He has advised the city of Sao Paulo on the development of its creative industries in conjunction with the British Council.

He was also previously a reseaercher on the Brighton FUSE project looking at the lessons to be learnt from the development of creative industries in the south east and was responsible for designing Impacts08 the biggest research programme of its kind worldwide to look at the social and economic impact of European Capital of Culture.

Steve is author of Spaces for Consumption: Pleasure and Palcelessness in the Post-Industrial City (Sage, 2010) and Retail and the Artifice of Social Change (Routledge, 2015) and is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Consumer Culture.

Dr Kevin Albertson

‘My interest in the creative industries is that economics as a discipline has focussed far too much on quantitative measures, and in particular GDP. Beyond a certain level of income, however, it is worth considering that wellbeing might be more effectively advanced through arts and humanities, rather than business, skills. Therefore, I am interested in the evaluation and promotion of arts and humanities based wellbeing projects.’

Dr Nikolai Duffy

My main areas of research and teaching are American literature, poetry, and experimental writing practices. I am Convenor of the 3rd year unit Reading and Writing Poetry, the 2nd year unit American Spaces, toegether with the MA Creative Writing unit, Reading Poetry.

My research explores different forms of writing that combine critical and creative practice. Much of my own practice in this area stems from scholarly research into modern and contemporary poetry and poetics, experimental writing in theory and practice, the relation between literature and philosophy (especially the work of Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, and Emmanuel Levinas), literature and the visual arts, Samuel Beckett, and 20th century American literature.

I’m currently writing a book on The Cultural Place of Poetry (MUP, 2017) exploring the cultural place of poetry and how contemporary poets make a living.

Dr Valerie Antcliff

Valerie is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Enterprise. Her research interests focus on work and employment in the creative industries, especially freelance work and self-employment in the television industry. She has over 15 years of experience in employment research and has also taught survey design and quantitative data analysis at MMU, Manchester University and The University of Central Lancashire.

She is currently working with colleagues from Leeds, Cardiff and Plymouth Universities on a proposal to explore the impact of apprenticeships on a range of issues in the television industry: including skills shortages, equality and conditions of employment.

Valerie’s interest in the television industry stems from her family’s involvement in broadcasting over three generations. At least one family member has worked for ITV since it first took to the air 60 years ago!

Dr Shuyu Lin

Shuyu is a Senior Lecturer in Fashion Business as well as a leader of the Fashion Business Management Research Cluster at the Department of Apparel, Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research has focused on investigating aesthetic innovation in the creative ecosystem in the designer fashion sector. The key areas include:

  • Determining the fashion value chain from conceptualisation to commercialisation along the strategic innovation process.
  • Identifying the structural and relational characteristics of the creative ecosystem in the designer fashion industry.
  • Determining the mechanism of value creation and appropriation between network participants in a highly creative environment.
  • Discovering successful business growth strategies employed by micro designer fashion businesses within the creative ecosystem.

Dr Louise Platt

Louise leads on the MA International Cultural Arts and Festival Management. Her teaching specialisms are related to cultural events, community identities and the role of festivals in the urban milieu. She gained her PhD from Liverpool John Moores University, an ethnographic study that examined place and community identities during the European Capital of Culture 2008. Her current research focuses on how the Manchester and Salford Whit Walks contribute to place-making and identity.

Louise is on the executive committee of the Leisure Studies Association, is convening the first Critical Event Studies symposium and supervises PhD students in the area of festivals and cultural consumption. Prior to completing her PhD, Louise undertook an MA Arts and Museum Management and worked in the arts sector in Greater Manchester.

Michelle Gledhill

Michelle’s main area of expertise is advertising and branding and she has been involved for over 15 years in teaching, writing and assessment. She is currently Programme Leader for the MSC Marketing (Creative Advertising) programme.

She has held three Senior Examiner positions for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Emerging Themes at postgraduate level. She was involved in the syllabus design and assessment methodology for Stakeholder Marketing at Certificate level in addition to being Senior Examiner. She was also Senior Examiner for the Communication Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM), in Direct Marketing and Sales Promotion. She is currently an External Examiner for Plymouth University and their BA (Hons) Marketing Programme.

Before joining the MMU Business School Michelle worked at Edge Hill University where she was the Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Media Advertising degree. Prior to entering academia Michelle worked as a buyer for British Aerospace and Massey Ferguson.

Since 2014 Michelle has been a voluntary committee member responsible for marketing and PR for the Knutsford Beer Festival which has raised over £7,000 for charity and contributed to two highly successful festivals.

Michelle’s research interests are branding, magazine audiences and digital platforms. She is currently undertaking a PhD in brand placement and the affects of brand attitude on purchase intention for real and fictional brands in computer synthesized worlds. She has presented at national and international conferences on celebrity and branding and teen consumption.

Dee Goldstraw

A PR professional for more than 12 years, Dee has worked in a mixture of PR, marketing and events agencies across the north of the UK. Currently a lecturer in marketing and digital communications at Manchester Metropolitan University, she has also worked at University of Central Lancashire and University of Chester. More recently, she was appointed course leader for MMC’s MSc in Digital Marketing and presents workshops on a regular basis.

Dee specialises in online PR, social media, events management and copywriting with a research interest in building and managing professional relationships online. She has published papers and presented at conferences on PR and journalist relationships via social media.

A member of the Public Relations Consultants Association, Dee also finds time to freelance on PR and social media projects for a range of consumer and B2B clients.

Susan Kinnear

Susie is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing Communications and Public Relations as well as teaching on modules across other Manchester Metropolitan Business School programmes.

A former journalist, she has held senior roles in marketing and public relations in both the public and private sectors, as well as working in television production and running her own communications consultancy.

She was a Shell Livewire and Lloyds TSB Business finalist and holds awards for business entrepreneurship and planning. She has given conference presentations and published on public relations skills, international communications and the history of public relations.

Susie is now approaching the end of her PhD in cultural research at the University of Manchester and has delivered communications contracts for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Royal Courts of Justice, regional development agencies and several blue chip companies including Marks & Spencer.

Jeff McCarthy

Jeff is a senior digital & sport marketing specialist. Since 1996, experience in Ecommerce, internet retail, mobile marketing, digital and direct marketing in B2B and B2C environments. Skills include social media, digital publishing & magazines, email marketing, SEO, PPC, mobile marketing, affiliate, database marketing.

Jeff is nearing the final phase of his PhD, entitled Social Media: Friend or Foe of the Football Club? and is also an internationally published author in academic and practitioner journals.

He formerly ran his own digital agency before transferring to academia with MMU. Joined the Operational Board of the Manchester Publicity Association in February 2015, to help nurture and retain NW talent by forging exciting career pathways.

A highly experienced speaker/trainer for CIM, IDM, Econsultancy, MMUBS, MMC Learning, and more, Jeff has a particularly strong track record in sports marketing, mail order, retail, B2B, online gaming & sports betting. In his spare time, Jeff’s maintains a running/eating/drinking blog called RunEatRepeat.

Creative Industries Consultancy Dissertations

MMU Business School thrives on strong links with industry and employers. This new initiative provides opportunities for creating industry connections for taught postgraduate students by working directly on a co-designed research project with industry to enhance their employability, and both their personal and professional development.

Individual research projects provide clients with an opportunity to commission an authoritative piece of work on a business or management issue. This typically takes an in-depth look into a defined research area, and results in a substantial report containing extensive research, rigorous analysis and practical conclusions.

What are the benefits for the client?

  • Access specialised business thinking to undertake a piece of research or analysis that you may not have the expertise or resources to tackle in-house.
  • A dedicated piece of work for your business from a postgraduate student as an integral part of an intensive master’s degree programme.
  • Receive a rigorous report setting out research, analysis and recommendations to help shape future strategy and vision.

We will promote projects across different programmes to find the most suitable student for your project.

To find out more, please request the Creative Industries Consultancy Dissertation Briefing Pack for Clients from Katherine Roycroft at

The Dissertation project runs from February to September. The current deadline for proposal submissions is by the end of 7 December 2016.

For any queries about the Creative Industries Consultancy Dissertation, please contact the Cluster Leader, Dr Jane Tonge at


Consultancy enables University knowledge to be transferred to business and the wider community; it is a key part of MMU’s business engagement activity. Consultancy can also help to develop research collaborations and maintain longer-term relationships with funders.

For further information, please contact cluster team members directly.

Events 2015–16
Manchester’s Got Talent

If your organisation would like to work more closely with postgraduate students, such as through visits, projects, guest speaker opportunities, placements or internships, please contact Dr Jane Tonge on Below are some examples of our previous successes.

MSc Public Relations students gain internships at Weber Shandwick

The MSc Public Relations course at MMU has strong links with a wide range of Manchester PR agencies including global PR firm Weber Shandwick, which has offices in the city and where many of our graduates have worked. The agency recently awarded MSc PR students after they won a pitch as part of their Creative Campus initiative.

Ten postgraduate MMU students took part in an Immersion Day at the agency’s city centre offices where they were challenged to respond to a brief based on a real client and present their ideas in a pitch environment. The pitches were judged by a panel of experts including PR practitioners and journalists from MEN and BBC. As a consequence, three MSc PR students were given 3-month full-time paid internships at the agency, and joined a fourth student from the course who had already secured a placement with the agency.

Media coverage in the Manchester Evening News can be found at

Managing Director, Jo Leah said:

Weber Shandwick has a productive working relationship with MMU and this summer has taken 4 student placements. All are contributing strongly within their teams, frequently bringing fresh perspectives and ideas to the challenges posed. The PR course should be commended for having students who are well prepared for the world of work and who are articulate, confident and yet, willing to listen and learn.

PR student wins dream internship to Dubai

MSc Public Relations student Rebecca Ireland from Oldham successfully beat of stiff competition to secure a prestigious internship with Manchester-based agency Brazen PR. They were impressed by the PR skills she had been taught on her Master’s course at MMU. The internship included a week in Dubai helping the managing director prepare for upcoming pitches.

She said:

It has been a brilliant opportunity for me working with Brazen. I’ve developed new skills through the experiences and got to work in an international setting. In Dubai, I was able to carry out research, draft copy and create social media content, while in Manchester I have been assigned two accounts to help with. It is such an invaluable experience and it complements what I’ve been learning on the course. I have learned about the theoretical elements of PR as well as putting real skills to the test through practical assignments with live clients. The University also offer a postgraduate internship scheme which helped me get my first PR work experience placement at the beginning of the year.

Dr Jane Tonge, course leader for MSc Public Relations said:

This reflects the close links that Manchester Met has with the north west’s thriving PR industry. We’re delighted that Brazen approached our course about their internship. Rebecca is one of many postgraduate students who has secured a PR internship this summer, which will greatly enhance her employability in the industry.

To read more media coverage, visit the following websites:

Impact Case Studies

This section will showcase a selection of case studies highlighting MMU research impact in various areas of business and society related to the Creative and Digital Industries.

Further details to follow…

Industry Networks & Partners

MMU works closely with a number of high profile industry partners across the North West, including:

  • Weber Shandwick
  • Mediacom
  • TheEWord
  • BJL
  • ThisisMC2
  • MEC Manchester
  • Carat
  • iProspect UK
  • Favourite People

We also sponsor the Manchester Publicity Association (MPA) Inspiration Awards and have developed a number of exciting new initiatives with them e.g. Manchester’s Got Talent and the MPA/MMU Training Academy (scheduled for 2015/2016)

MMU Creative Industries Advisory Board

MMU/MPA Creative Exchange
and Training



  • Tom Cull, iProspect
    Guest speaker on 3rd year digital marketing undergraduates and postgraduates (September and November)

Interested in mentoring current students? If you’re working in the Advertising, Marketing or Creative industries, we’d like to hear from you! Enhance your management skills and help MMU Business School students and recent graduates (within the last five years) to success by sharing your experience.

For more infoformation, please email Jeff McCarthy at


At MMU we are proud that so many of our graduates have gone on to achieve successful professional careers in the creative industries.

We are always keen to develop these industry-specific alumni partnerships as they provide opportunities for both current students and MMU staff:

  • Mentoring Programme for current MMU students and from local schools and college.
  • Hear stories from previous graduates about their experiences working in industry.
  • Access to work placements or internships.
  • Access to guest speakers for MMU events and teaching programmes.
  • Keep updated – stay informed about the latest news across the industry.

Alumni Stories

Photo of Diana Boch

Diana Boch
Communications Officer, Daimler Group (Stuttgart)

After graduating in British and American Studies in Germany in 2013, Diana secured a five-month internship with an automotive company which continued over the period of her postgraduate study. She began her MSc in Public Relations in September 2013. She chose Manchester Metropolitan University for many reasons, including its international feel and the fact that the MSc in Public Relations is accredited by the CIPR and PRCA.

Photo of Helle Jakobsen

Helle Jakobsen
Account Director, Amaze

An extremely positive and customer focused professional, Helle has enjoyed a very rapid rise since graduating from MMU Business School with a Distinction in MSc Marketing Communications. Her experience cuts across a number of digital disciplines, developed through large national and international B2B and B2C clients. Helle is a proven guest speaker and lecturer, known for being extremely knowledgeable and positive.

Photo of Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson
Digital Marketing Consultant

Digital marketing and media expert, based in Manchester. Very commercially focused with a proven track record of helping agencies and clients maximise their returns from digital and social marketing. Exemplary developer and leader of teams, nurturing talent in both an agency and client environment. Experienced Associate Lecturer with MMU Business School in addition to trainer in digital marketing qualifications.

Photo of Shauna Pearson

Shauna Pearson
Pelican Public Relations, Manchester

A mature graduate, Shauna left a full-time career in publishing to complete her MSc in Public Relations. Although it was a daunting prospect, she carried out research to find the best course for her, and began her master’s at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013.

Photo of Beth Stallman

Beth Stallman
M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment

Since graduating from MMU with an MSc in Public Relations, Beth’s client portfolio in her role at Saatchi & Saatchi includes Coca Cola, Reebok Global, Sainsbury’s and CR7 by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Photo of Kleon West

Kleon West
Business Development Director, theEword

Kleon combines real passion for digital marketing with a love of networking and presenting. Highly proactive and astute, he has rapidly progressed to join the board of theEword. Alumni of MMU Business School having achieved a BA (Hons) in Digital Marketing and Communications.

For more information

  • Cluster Leader:
    Dr Jane Tonge
  • Address:
    Knowledge Hub,
    Manchester Metropolitan University
    Business School,
    All Saints Campus,
    Oxford Road,
    Manchester, M15 6BH,
    United Kingdom
  • Email: