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Mr Tony Graves

Job: Subject Leader, Arts and Festivals Management. Director, Cultural Exchanges Festival

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 250 6132




Personal profile

A former concert pianist, Tony has extensive experience in the arts both as a manager, board member and performer and was previously the Chief Executive of The Drum Arts Centre, Birmingham and a theatre producer at Nottingham Playhouse. 

Tony is involved in the delivery of strategic arts planning at a regional and national level with particular emphasis on cultural diversity. 

He was lead researcher for the Cultural Management and Policy Group evaluating the cultural diversity gateway of the New Audiences Programme for Arts Council England in 2002/3.  Amongst his publications are a report entitled ‘Fear of the Artist’ produced in 2005 in collaboration with Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre, and funded by NESTA.  In 2008 he received a Research Into Teaching Award from the university. 

He is Director of the university’s prestigious annual festival, Cultural Exchanges and has developed this major event over the past 14 years.  Previous guests include Germaine Greer, Ken Loach, Meera Syal, Grayson Perry, Matthew Bourne and Ben Okri.

In 2012 he conducted research with colleagues on behalf of Leicester City Council into three major arts venues in the city and in 2013 was a mentor on the Performing Arts Leicester ‘Emerging Leaders’ Programme.  He is a board member of Nitro Theatre Company.

Publications and outputs

New Audiences Research for Arts Council England 2002.

Navigating Difference (2005) Chapter entitled ‘Programming outside the comfort zone’ Arts Council England.

Cultural eXchanges Festival Director 2000 - onwards
Yearly delivery of the festival to audiences of 4,000.  Guests include Germaine Greer, Zandra Rhodes, Melvyn Bragg, Benjamin Zephaniah, Nitin Sawhney, Matthew Bourne, Ken Loach, Meera Syal, Honor Blackman, Adrian Lester, Alan Moore and Grayson Perry.

Areas of teaching

  • Cultural Policy
  • Festivals 
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship


  • BA (Hons) Arts Management
  • A.R.C.M.
  • L.R.A.M.

Honours and awards

Research into Teaching Award 2008
Leicestershire First Achievement in Arts and Music Award 2008-9
Gained for achievements as Director of the Cultural Exchanges Festival

Membership of external committees

  • Board Member of Nitro Theatre Company - current
  • Member of Leicester Arts Festivals Forum
  • Former member of Leicester City Council Cultural Strategy Partnership (2007-10)
  • Former board member of Dance 4, regional dance agency

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Member of Mainstream Partnership – 2008 onwards – regional culturally diverse arts and artists network

Forthcoming events

Leicester Cultural Leadership Programme 2014 at DMU
Aim is to develop confident artistic and cultural leadership in Leicester (funded by Arts Council England and Leicester City Council)

Delivery of Cultural Exchanges Festival 2015

Consultancy work

Conducted with colleagues ‘Value for Money’ research for Leicester City Council into 3 arts venues, 2012-13. 

Current research students

  • Jade Yeow PhD 2nd Supervisor
  • Funmi Adewole PhD 2nd Supervisor

Internally funded research project information

Research Into Teaching Award (RITA) 2008 Collaboration with Professor Stuart Price (DMU).

Professional esteem indicators

  • External Advisor for Validation of FdA in Festival Management, Hugh Baird College in 2014
  • Nominated for Distinguished Teaching Award 2010 and 2014
  • Nomination for Vice Chancellor’s Award 2014 - Outstanding Service, Contribution and Achievement Recognition