Performing Arts

Cathy John

Senior Lecturer – Creative Events Management

BA Hons (UEA), MPhil (Cantab)


Cathy John is a Senior Lecturer on the Creative Events Management BA (Hons) course, she researches the construction of disability within the Higher Education Sector and is interested in issues of equality within the creative industries workforce.

Conducting research into professional issues within the creative industries, Cathy has investigated European screenwriters’ income for a European Commission funded project, and has also worked for BECTU, the NUJ, Equity, the MU and Writers Guild on a report for their Creating Without Conflict Campaign evolving from the Leveson Inquiry and the BBC’s Rose Review. Observations on this research form the basis of her chapter ‘Conflict in the Creative Industries’ in Gower’s A Handbook for Dealing with Workplace Bullying.

Cathy’s current research interests focus on the production of disability in the Higher Education Sector which is central to her Doctoral work at the University of Bristol.  She is focused on exploring barriers to and within Higher Education for under-represented disabled students.

This research interest in diversity and inclusion has been in part motivated by Cathy’s experience working as an advocate on disability issues.  She has written for popular audiences including articles in The Independent on the public disclosure of MS (with which she was diagnosed in 2010) and works creatively on projects to recast the limited narratives around disability.  On screen Cathy produces short fiction films with award-winning young directors, including BAFTA winner Michael Pearce.   Made for the pioneering social network, the films challenge stereotypical stories of triumph or tragedy in illness. Cathy has also worked with Northumbria University writing the story for a book of multiple narrative pathways.

Cathy began her career in arts management at London’s Barbican Centre becoming a Film Programmer managing international film festivals and special events, with a particular interest in representations of disability on screen.   She has chaired the Advisory Board for the University of the Arts London based Fashion in Film festival exhibiting in London and New York, and programmed a strand on women in the video games industry at the ICA in London, for Birds Eye View. 

Currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education at the University of Bristol, Cathy has an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, a First Class BA (hons) from the University of East Anglia and was an undergraduate visiting student at UC, Berkeley.

Professional practice

Cathy is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education from the University of Bristol.

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2015–Present)

Research Specialism


Cathy’s research interests centre on the production, in governmental and institutional policies, of disability in Higher Education, and on the potential role of the creative arts curriculum in building new, more inclusive, Higher Education institutions. She is undertaking a Doctorate in Education at the University of Bristol exploring this field.

Cathy has previously undertaken several research projects on professional issues within the creative industries. Most recently Cathy has contributed a chapter to the Gower publication A Handbook for Dealing with Workplace Bullying edited by Dr Anne-Marie Quigg regarding bullying within the creative industries, based on the report that she wrote for the Federation of Entertainment Unions to investigate bullying within the creative workplace. Cathy has also researched the profile and remuneration of international screenwriters for the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds and on a European Commission funded project. Cathy was the Chair of the steering committee for the University of the Arts London based Fashion in Film research initiative and festival.

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Research output