Steering Group

Marie Christie 

Marie has worked at a senior level in the Events and Festivals sector for more than twenty years.  She currently heads up the Development department within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, leading teams with responsibility for Events Industry Development, Events and Exhibitions, Themed Years and Growth Fund.  

Joining the EventScotland management team in 2003, Marie designed and ran EventScotland’s successful National Events Programme, working with a wide range of events across the country.  Marie also led the delivery of Homecoming Scotland 2009 – a year-long celebration of Scotland’s culture and heritage which influenced an additional 95,000 visitors to travel to join the celebrations generated an estimated £53.7M additional revenue for Scotland.  Prior to her current post, Marie was EventScotland’s International Cultural Events Director with responsibility for leading and delivering the strategy for supporting Scotland’s major cultural events and for securing new ‘one-off’ events such as MTV Europe Music Awards and the Turner Prize.  

Marie graduated from Glasgow University with a MA (Hons) in History of Art and from Queen Margaret University with an MBA in Cultural Management and Policy. She is co-author of the popular publication Events Management: A practical guide 

Julie Pearson

As Head of Events at Glasgow Life, Julie leads the events team to deliver Glasgow’s Events Strategy and calendar of major annual and one-off sports and cultural events to drive economic, social and wellbeing benefits for the city and enhance Glasgow’s reputation as a global events powerhouse.

This involves working with partners, industry and the local community to identify, attract, create, grow, promote and deliver events that generate significant value, whilst ensuring the city continues to provide the perfect event experience.

In addition to leading the delivery and animation of Glasgow’s major one-off events and programmes, including the UCI Cycling World Championships 2023 in Glasgow, European Capital of Sport 2023 and World Athletics Indoor Championships 2024, Julie manages the delivery and growth of Glasgow’s annual events portfolio, including the Merchant City Festival, World Pipe Band Championships, Winter Festival and Great Scottish Run.

Dr Victoria Hollows 

Victoria Hollows is chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, she was appointed to this role in October 2018 as the organisation sought to build on its success in delivering outstanding sport, cultural and leisure services. Victoria is a recognised leader within Scotland’s cultural sector and previously managed some of the UK’s most visited and iconic attractions at Glasgow Museums and its award-winning public programmes. At Renfrewshire Leisure, Victoria leads some 800 staff in the delivery of accessible and affordable cultural and leisure services to support the health and wellbeing of people who live, work and study in Renfrewshire. Victoria is passionate about social justice and the role cultural and leisure activities have in delivering fairer outcomes and opportunities. Her teams are also developing new cultural services through the redevelopment of the Paisley Museum and Coats Observatory, central library and Paisley Town Hall. These developments build on recent high-profile initiatives such as the highly praised Paisley UK City of Culture bid and are designed to combine a great offer for local communities as well as drawing visitors to the region from further afield. 

Sharon McAulay

Sharon McAulay is Project Manager at STAR Project – an award-winning community organisation based in the North End of Paisley. With an academic background in Psychology and expertise around mental health, attachment and psychotherapy, Sharon has successfully led STAR Project to become one of the most innovative and exciting third sector organisations in Renfrewshire. In the last year alone the small STAR Project team has worked with over 800 of the most vulnerable and disengaged community members: Families where the children are looked after, individuals who are repeatedly benefit sanctioned, individuals who suffer/have suffered abuse and those living with long term poor mental health. The statistics paint a very bleak picture of need, deprivation and vulnerability in the North End and STAR Project’s impact is to be found in its unique relationship based approach, not meeting the needs of the community but meeting them in their need, providing a safe, accepting experience which provides a platform for change. 

Alastair Evans

Alastair is Head of Knowledge and Research at Creative Scotland. He has a background in social research and worked across a range of public policy areas before specialising in the cultural and creative sectors.  Alastair is currently a member the Steering Group for pan-European research on the economic spillovers from the Creative Industries, sits on the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) panel for Art and Design and the Research Advisory panel for the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies. His own interests include electronic music, photography and film. 

Paul Zealey

Paul Zealey is Skills Planning Lead at Skills Development Scotland. In this role Paul is responsible for continuing the implementation of the Enterprise and Skills Review alongside senior stakeholder management and the development and implementation of regional economic strategies. Paul has leadership for Digital Economy programme and for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, supporting 40% reduction in youth unemployment.

Carolanne Robertson

Carolanne Robertson been worked for Renfrewshire Council for 27 years in a variety of roles including Clerical Assistant, Benefits Assistant, Housing Officer, Regeneration Officer, Antisocial Behaviour Coordinator, Community Safety Policy Officer, Wardens Team Leader and Community Safety Manager. 

Carolanne is currently a Community Safety Manager, in this role, she overseas Community Wardens, Youth Team and Street Stuff activities as well as community engagement work involving Team up to Clean up and green spaces. The foremost focus of Carolanne’s role is partnership working and the community engagement and, the creation of a safer, greener and inclusive community. 

Dr Ken Emond

Dr Ken Emond is the Head of Research Funding at the British Academy. Ken was born in Elderslie and went to school in Paisley. He is a graduate of the University of St Andrews with a doctorate in Scottish History. After working as a civil servant in the Department of Transport, Ken joined the British Academy in 1992. As Head of Research Funding since 2008, Ken is responsible for the administration of the Academy’s UK grants and fellowship schemes, and he has extensive experience in advising on research funding matters. Ken also acts as an adviser to the Aurelius Trust. His book, The Minority of James V: Scotland in Europe, 1513-1528 was published in November 2019.   

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