UKRI Deputy Director – Culture and Environment
Karen was one of the original Co-Is on the Evidence Base: Growing the Big Grant Club project. In September 2019 she took up a new post at the UKRI as Deputy Director of Culture and Environment. This new role meant she was unable to continue as a Co-I in our team but she remains a great ally to the project in her new role.
Karen has over 26 years’ worth of experience working in and with communities, organisations, charities and governmental bodies, including running non-profits and engaging in community development work. Prior to taking up her post at the UKRI, she was director of the Centre for Research in Race and Rights at the University of Nottingham.
An expert on sovereignty, inclusion and systems of governance, she is a member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s 14-member Advisory Board, comprised of senior leaders from across sectors who develop and recommend priorities, programmes, and other initiatives that will deliver the AHRC’s strategies, and monitor and report on their progress. She is also Deputy Chair of the UKRI’s 11-member External Advisory Group for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and works directly with Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of ESRC and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion and other strategic teams within UKRI. The External Advisory Group works with UKRI to identify and prioritise areas, develop strategy and assist in the evidence-gathering that will allow the various teams within UKRI (including its 7000 employees), the individual councils and partner organisations to transform research cultures and implement sustainable inclusion efforts that prioritise accountability and transparency, as well as promote evidence based policies.
She is a sought after national speaker on diversity, equity and inclusion and frequently works with government agencies, cultural organisations and higher education institutions on institutional change. Her external research consultations involve direct engagement with senior management teams within charitable institutions, higher education and arts organisations on institutional racism and community organisations working on transformational social justice and racial equity.
Her extensive public engagement work includes speaking directly with media outlets on issues related to race—including two stints as an expert panellist on BBC Radio 4’s successful discussion programme, ‘In Our Time’ and additional appearances on Sky News, BBC News, BBC World Service and CBC News.