Meet the Chairs

11 Nov

We are happy to announce the Chairs of the CultureBaby  seminar who will be facilitating discussion for each panel session.


Esmé Ward, Head of Learning and Engagement, Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester.

Esmé has worked in museum and galleries for over 15 years.  She started at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, The National Trust and  Manchester City Galleries before founding the education service at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.  Since then, she has overseen the growth of the Whitworth’s learning programmes to include adult learning, arts and health programmes, early years and family learning.  She has experience teaching at all levels and works currently co-teaches an MA Creative Learning module at the University of Manchester.  She is Head of Learning and Engagement at both the Whitworth and Manchester Museum, leading the development of a wide range of imaginative engagement and learning programmes, services and resources for visitors of all ages. She recently contributed an essay on early years gallery-based practice to DEMOS publication Born Creative ( and is passionate about the potential of culture to engage very young children and their families.


Ronan Brindley is the Principal Manager for Learning at Manchester City Galleries.  He leads a dynamic education team that is responsible for the delivery of learning programmes at Manchester Art Gallery and at the Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall.  Since 2004, the team has built up an impressive level of expertise, offering cultural learning opportunities across the whole age range, from early years to valuing older people.  

The recent experience of working with families has indicated the importance of developing specialism in the 0-2 and 3-5 age range.  It is a priority for Ronan to develop this strand so that Manchester City Galleries extends its provision for very young children. From 2012, Manchester and Art Gallery will develop creative activities with 0-2s, 3-5s, and their families / carers with the aim of boosting communication skills and emotional literacy. 

If you would like to know more, please contact Ronan at


Elaine Bates was born and educated in Manchester and attended Chester University where she gained a B’Ed. Elaine taught in primary schools in Oldham and Trafford for six years before moving into a post as Education Officer at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. She  has since worked in a variety of learning roles and managed projects at cultural venues across the city including Victoria Baths, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Ancoats Building Preservation Trust, Manchester Cathedral and Manchester Museum.

Elaine has been in post as Early Years Coordinator in Manchester museums for five years and has worked with museum, gallery, early years and family learning professionals and artists in Manchester and the North West region to develop programmes and resources for young children (0-5) and their families. She is a governor at Martenscroft Nursery School and Children’s Centre and is also currently working as a consultant on the Ardwick city region pilot, brokering projects between residents, community agencies and cultural organisations.

Elaine is based at Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester.


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