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Department of Management

Professor Ciara Eastell OBE

Professor Ciara Eastell OBE

Professor of Practice


 Streatham Court 1.50


Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK


Ciara Eastell is Professor of Practice in the Exeter Centre for Leadership at the University of Exeter’s Business School.

Prior to joining the School in 2019, Ciara was Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs library services across Devon and Torbay.  Since leaving Libraries Unlimited, Ciara has been working with the Executive Group of Tate Galleries on a consultancy basis, shaping and leading a major programme of organisational development and change.  In addition, Ciara was also awarded an Automation Fellowship with the South West Creative Technology Network in May 2019.  Her Fellowship is focused on exploring whether the senior leaders of charities and cultural organisations understand the potential of Artificial Intelligence and robotics to transform their organisations and increase their social impact.

Whilst at Libraries Unlimited, Ciara worked closely with academic colleagues from the Business School on the ‘Unlimited Value’ research project (funded by Arts Council England), which focused on the social and financial value of libraries.

Ciara was one of the first cohort of Fellows of the prestigious Clore Leadership Programme in 2004/5 and, since then, has held a number of national and regional leadership roles.  From 2014-16, she led the Society of Chief Librarians nationally as President and worked closely with Government departments and key funders to build the profile of public libraries. 

She was awarded an OBE for services to libraries in 2017 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield in January 2019.  She sits on the National Council for Arts Council England.

Ciara has a BA (Hons) in English from the University of Nottingham (1992) and an MA in Librarianship from the University of Sheffield (1994).

Her TEDx talk on libraries is now featured on the platform.

Nationality: British


  • MA in Librarianship – University of Sheffield (1994)
  • BA (Hons) English – University of Nottingham (1992)


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Research interests

  • Cultural sector leadership
  • The future of work
  • Entrepreneurial practice in the not for profit sector
  • Development of health and wellbeing practices in the workplace
  • Digital leadership skills
  • Women’s leadership
  • Coaching and mentoring as a leadership development tool
  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

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External Engagement and Impact

Awards and Honours

  • OBE awarded in 2017 for services to libraries
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Sheffield (2019)

External positions

  • Member, National Council of Arts Council England
  • Member of the International External Advisory Board, Wellcome Centre for the Cultures and Environments of Health, University of Exeter
  • Member of the International External Advisory Board, University of Exeter Business School
  • Member, British Library Advisory Council

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