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Meet the team

The Institute is an exciting venture co-led by an Academic Director - Professor Helen Wheatley, and a Professional Services Director - Andrew Todd. It is home to a dedicated team of professional support staff, academics, and our cohort of Fellows. We work across Warwick’s hugely talented staff and student communities, and collaborate extensively with our many wonderful external partners.

Helen Wheatley

Helen Wheatley, Academic Director of the Institute

Helen is an experienced leader in public engagement and delivering research impact. She has led and participated in a variety of projects that take research out of the university and into our wider communities. In 2020-2022, Helen assumed the role of Director of Warwick Institute for Engagement’s City of Culture Programme and the Resonate Festival. Following this, she took on the role of Partnerships Lead, strengthening our ongoing work with cultural organisations and communities and working with our Regional Fellows, and she is now Academic Director of the Institute. Helen is Professor of Film and Television Studies. She is also co-founder of the Centre for Television Histories. She works collaboratively with archives and curators to engage the public with the history of British broadcasting and has twice been awarded the university’s prizes for impact/community engagement for this work. Her book, Spectacular Television: Exploring Televisual Pleasure (IB Tauris, 2016) won the BAFTSS Award for Monograph of the Year in 2017 and she has just published her latest book Television/Death (Edinburgh University Press, 2024) . Helen is committed to supporting and championing public engagement activities and research which are co-designed or co-produced with partners outside of the university. This approach recognises the valuable skills, experience and knowledge of the people we work with, both inside and outside the university.
Andrew Todd

Andrew Todd, Co-Director of the Institute

Andrew is the Professional Services Director of the Institute as part of his role as Director for Regional Engagement. He leads the University’s local growth, civic and community activities in the West Midlands. His role includes strengthening partnerships across the West Midlands and ensuring the University is embedded in its region. It also includes engaging in the development of local economic and community strategies so the University can contribute fully to the local economic, social and cultural growth.

Andrew has nearly 20 years’ experience working between universities, business and the public sector and his career includes secondments to Advantage West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority focused on bringing the strengths of regional universities to support the West Midlands.

Rachel Edwards

Rachel Edwards, Associate Academic Director

Rachel is a Reader in the Department of Physics. She is passionate about engagement with schools, and the need to reach out to children of all ages in order to show them what a scientist does, and the wide range of people who are scientists. She loves giving public lectures and has been involved in many of the Warwick Christmas lectures - any excuse to play with liquid nitrogen on stage! She also engages with school teaching bodies, helping to give new teachers different examples of where science and engineering knowledge is used in active research.
Kerry Baker

Kerry Baker, Associate Director

Kerry is a manufacturing engineer and sociologist and has spent the majority of her career working with academics, researchers, students, employers, teachers and young people to share knowledge and enthuse others about the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Throughout her career she has designed and delivered a variety of public engagement and school events, developed and conducted training to support others and designed and manufactured specific kit to support each of these endeavours.

Kerry enjoys finding links and common ground to work successfully in partnership with others and likes to bring innovation and creativity to everything she does, channelling her enthusiasm into supporting her team, colleagues and local communities to have access to a wide range of opportunities to explore, wonder and enjoy.

Naomi Kay

Naomi Kay, Engagement Officer

Naomi is an experienced engagement professional with a background in event and project management. She has delivered a number of university festivals, including the Science Family Day held to celebrate Warwick’s hosting of the British Science Festival in 2019. She works on a range of strategic projects for the team, including leading on the creation and launch of our first student facing public engagement module through IATL. She is passionate about empowering staff and students to develop their engagement expertise, and ensuring Warwick activities are enjoyable and accessible for a wide range of people.
Helen Luckhurst

Helen Luckhurst, Engagement Officer

Helen joined the Institute in August 2022 to work on student-led knowledge exchange. Her post is funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund.

Helen has a background in teaching, having previously worked as a primary school teacher in Birmingham. She joined Warwick in 2019 to work on Outreach and Widening Participation in WMG, and led their Bright Stars Insight into Engineering module which was taught by Warwick students in local schools. For Coventry City of Culture, she developed Stitch In Time, training local teachers to teach a cross-curricular, creative computing project. Helen has also supported postgraduate research students in WMG.

Since joining the Warwick Institute of Engagement, Helen has set up the Public and Community Engagement Module Development Fund and a programme of Public and Community Engagement Internships. She also leads WIE's support of the URSS programme, enabling students to engage the public with their summer research projects.

Helen is currently on maternity leave, returning in March 2025.

Charlotte Pearce

Charlotte Pearce, Engagement Officer

After working locally as a teacher of English and Drama, Charlotte moved into Higher Education as a Widening Participation Officer with English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick. She has spent the last 5 years working collaboratively with ECLS students to create programmes that build partnerships with local schools and also develop employability skills and a sense of community for ECLS students.

Charlotte is delighted to join the team as an Engagement Officer during Helen Luckhurst’s maternity leave and looks forward to supporting students from across the University in developing their engagement practice.

Please contact her for enquiries about any of the initiatives usually managed by Helen.

Laura Harford

Laura Harford, Public Engagement Project Officer

Laura joined the Warwick Institute of Engagement as Events Coordinator after completing her doctoral research in immunology. She has experience in a range of public engagement and outreach roles with organisations such as Pint of Science, In2research and In2scienceUK, and is passionate about making research accessible to everyone. She enjoys working within diverse teams to find creative ways to share knowledge with different audiences and develop exciting events that are welcoming for the whole community. After just a year in the role she stepped up into the role of Public Engagement Project Officer to take charge of the Resonate Programme of Events and notably the Resonate Festival 2023.
Kate Laister-Smith

Kate Laister-Smith, Events Coordinator

Kate started in Public engagement when she took our UG Public Engagement module while a student within the Faculty of Arts. She went on to undertake a summer internship with the Institute, co-creating and running an event that showcased UG research with the wider public. Kate’s involvement with the Institute continued to grow when she became our communications support officer and became involved with numerous events including the Big Read, Pint of Science and Resonate Festival. Kate is passionate about producing inclusive events and creating interdisciplinary collaborations to connect communities with research.

Josh Oakes, Administrator

Josh is an experienced administrator with a background in business governance, project management and people development. He is passionate about people and creating inclusive teams. He enjoys enabling productivity through streamlined systems that ensure we can focus on what matters.

Josh joined the University in March 2020, just before the first lockdown. Starting within the HR team at WMG, he joined WIE in November of 2021 and provides the backbone to our activities, underpinning them with the financial, HR and administrative support required.

In 2023, Josh's expertise and work ethic were recognised on a regional level when he was awarded as Administrative Professional of the year in the West Midlands PA Awards.

Aniyah Petrus

Aniyah Petrus, Administrative and Communications Support Officer

Aniyah joins WIE in August 2023 to support us with our admin and comms. She brings a unique skillset to the team as well as a keen team spirit. We're delighted to have her on board.