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Karen Pimbley

Job Role: Head of Arts Management

Department: Arts Management

Honours: MA, SFHEA, PGDip, PGCE (FE), BA (Hons), MILM.


Karen has been Head of Arts Management training at RWCMD since 2012. She began her career as a Marketing Officer at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven and then worked with Diversions, The Dance Company of Wales. In the mid-1990s, she became the first Head of Events at the newly opened International Arena in Cardiff. She moved into music promotion with Kennedy Street Productions in Manchester and Raymond Gubbay and Harvey Goldsmith in London, touring throughout the UK and Europe with several international pop and rock artists. Karen later returned to work in Wales, taking up a senior leadership role that helped establish National Dance Company Wales.


Karen brings her background in strategic leadership, governance, research and consultancy to her work at RWCMD alongside her ongoing freelance arts management experience, which ranges from small-scale producing in theatre and dance to writing/delivering arts management toolkit training for education and creative sector organisations. She is currently completing a PhD exploring the development of professional contemporary dance in Wales and is also working with the Wales Cultural Alliance - recent projects include the development of the Arts Council of Wales’s Cultural Contract and working to advance opportunities for cultural democracy in the arts across Wales. Karen is committed to widening access to arts training regardless of background and to working in partnership with industry to develop work-ready graduates.

Notable Achievements

Karen spent four years as a Director of UK Theatre (2017-21) where, through the pandemic, she was instrumental in developing the Covid-19 safety guidelines for theatre. She is an External Examiner for Arts Management and Collaborative Practice courses, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Institute of Leadership & Management. Karen is also a trustee of National Youth Arts Wales and an International Associate at Harvard University’s Business School. She was a National Advisor for Arts Council Wales for a number of years and has been a board member with a variety of arts organisations over the course of her career.

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