Dr Maia Mackney

Key details:

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Maia is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow who joined Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2019 as part of a research collaboration between Guildhall and the Barbican Centre. Her current research, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, explores Barbican-Guildhall Creative Learning’s National Development Programme. This national expansion project uses place-based partnership models to forge links between Barbican Guildhall and three regional arts centres: HOME in Manchester, Harlow Playhouse, and Creative Arts East in West Norfolk. In particular she is interested in young people’s ability to access local cultural learning, exploring the contrasts and commonalities in need, barrier and opportunity between these locations and how arts organisations working nationally can support existing local partnership models to improve access to art and culture for young people.

Maia received her doctorate from Royal Holloway, University of London, through an AHRC-funded project examining the tensions surrounding issues of sustainability in the ways Barbican-Guildhall Creative Learning engages young people from East London in their creative practice. Her thesis focused on questions of sustainability and durational engagement. Drawing from Henri Bergson’s conception of time and Doreen Massey’s relational approach to space Maia explored the ways in which arts practice that takes place over time, and with an understanding of place and context, enables the organisation to build meaningful relationships with local communities.

Maia has lectured at Winchester University and Royal Holloway, University of London, and delivered papers nationally and internationally, at the Theatre and Performance Research Association Conferences and the International Perspectives in Participation and Engagement meeting in Utrecht.

Since 2011, Maia has worked as an independent consultant, researcher, project manager, and participatory theatre practitioner, collaborating with a variety of arts organisations, funders, and educational institutions such as Royal Holloway, University of London, Winchester University, the Southbank Centre, Graeae Theatre Company, On the Verge, Heritage Lottery Fund, The Drive Project, Big Ideas, Fertility Festival, Mahogany Opera Group, Diverse City, Activate Performing Arts, AfriKids and Theatre Royal Haymarket. She also has a strong artistic practice of her own, most recently running improvisation masterclasses with Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists. Her broader research interests include theatre in education, theatre and disability, political theatre, participatory arts, cultural policy, theatre and arts with veterans, theatre and PTSD, and durational theatre.