Emma McDowell is currently working towards a PhD in audience engagement and arts marketing, after recently receiving a White Rose College of Arts and Humanities Doctoral Studentship Award. By analysing the relationship between audience and artist in the dynamics of live performance, her doctoral research aims to critically reframe the dominant and transactional arts marketing paradigm employed in the UK theatre sector, in the context of the total art-making process. Through a framework developed from theories of embodied cognition and enaction, she will take an interdisciplinary, phenomenological approach to exploring processes of sense-making, meaning communication and interaction using a comparative case study of theatre shows employing a range of audience engagement models.
In addition to her own research, Emma continues to freelance as a researcher and arts marketer and is currently part of the evaluation team for the National Theatre: Theatre Nation Partnerships scheme. She is also working with the International Network for Audience Research in the Performing Arts and is on the Board of Directors for Leeds-based theatre company Red Ladder. Prior to starting her PhD, Emma worked in the arts sector for over a decade in a range of roles in arts management, including Head of Marketing at Harrogate Theatres and Square Chapel Arts Centre Halifax. In addition, she also worked as associate producer and studio programmer at Harrogate Theatres, and research executive for a range of performing arts and cultural clients at Morris Hargreaves McIntyre research consultancy. She has an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Administration, a BA in Drama and French Studies and is a trained focus group moderator. She has two lurchers called Max and Matilda.