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By background a teacher working in comprehensive schools, Alan is an elected member of Norwich City Council. In May 2015 he was elected Leader of the Council. Alan is an Associate Tutor for the School of Education & Life Long Learning at the University of East Anglia. He is Deputy Chair of Key Cities and the Executive Member with responsibility for Culture.  

He is also a member of the editorial board of ‘Local Economy’ (based at South Bank University), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of Arts Council England South East Area Council.