John McMahon

John is Head of the Education programme.

John heads up our work across education and learning, including early years, schools and the youth sector. He joined the RSA in March 2022, following 4 years leading Arts Council England’s national policy team, and their work in both health and criminal justice. Other past roles include Head of Learning at the Crafts Council, youth, education & volunteering lead at the Heritage Lottery Fund, and conservation traineeships manager at Tate. Prior to his work in creative and cultural education, John was Policy Adviser for London with the Offender Learning & Skills Service.

John is a regular guest lecturer in higher education, across cultural policy (King’s College London), museum and gallery learning (UCL/Institute of Education) and creative health (UCL).
He also maintains a wide range of creative and community projects, including as a film producer (including 2017 documentary The Ballad of Shirley Collins); curator of experimental music live events and partnerships (working with artists such as Thurston Moore, Sharon Van Etten and Stars of the Lid, and organisations including Café Oto and The English Folk Dance & Song Society); and occasional culture writer (including for The Quietus and UK Folk Radio).

John is also currently Chair of Calder Valley Constituency Labour Party, and a member of the building management committee for the Hebden Bridge Trades Club.