Before taking the helm at the Cultural Policy Center in 2009, Betty Farrell, who earned a Ph.D. in sociology at Harvard University, was associate director of the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences and a senior lecturer in the Social Science Division at the University of Chicago.
Her recent work on the cultural sector has included the book, Entering Cultural Communities: Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts, co-edited with Diane Grams (Rutgers University Press 2008), a study of 85 nonprofit cultural organizations across the U.S. and their ongoing strategies to increase audience participation in the arts, as well as the research report, "Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums" (American Association of Museums 2010).
At the CPC, Farrell has organized public symposia, research presentations, and a weekly workshop series on topics of broad relevance to the cultural community. She has cultivated an informal partnership with a consortium of international arts consultants, under the name of "CultureLab," with the goal of spurring innovative practice and critical thinking for the cultural field. She teaches a yearly graduate research practicum at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies that immerses students in real-world cultural policy projects dealing with some of the most pressing issues affecting the cultural sector.