What we do

Big Ideas develops and delivers projects for public participation.

We specialise in projects which bring groups together and create new experiences and relationships.

Local National and Global.  We work in partnership.  We innovate.

BICO makes big ideas happen, tackles big issues, empowers everyone, engages people who aren’t included, connects locally nationally and globally, has a global reach, removes barriers to participation, transforms understanding, opens new possibilities, creates new platforms. Be part of something bigger.

Big Ideas has a Limited Company [9426254] and Community Interest Company [10535798].

 @Big_Ideas_Co           Big Ideas

Virginia Crompton

Virginia Crompton

Chief Executive


Virginia joined the BBC’s Latin American service as a programme assistant in 1994 while completing her PhD in English Literature from University of East Anglia.  She quickly established herself in Radio Documentaries and originated Radio 4’s history programme, The Long View.  She developed and produced many significant projects for the BBC, including the Water Season and Generation Next. Virginia founded BBC World Class in 2004which under her leadership was a core legacy of the London Olympics for the BBC.

Upon leaving the corporation at the end of 2012, she continued to develop inspiring community projects.  As the British Council’s Executive Producer for First World War Centenary she delivered Football Remembers (marking the Christmas Truce in partnership with the Premier League, The Football Association and the Football League) as well as a series of 11 international debates with the BBC, The War that Changed the World.  Virginia also founded The Last Post, a music and memory project funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Culture Arts and Leisure Northern Ireland, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Emily Hadwen

Emily Hadwen

Communications Director


Emily cut her teeth as Marketing Manager at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, where she managed the strategy and delivery of marketing campaigns with an audience development remit – primarily targeting young and hard-to-reach audiences. This involved working across multiple artforms, from visual arts, to film and performance.

Previous to this she has worked in public museums, galleries, and commercial theatres, with a focus on audience development and public engagement.

Her subsequent work at Film London and the British Film Commission cemented her work in industry-facing communications and strategy, with an overall remit to promote London as a world-class hub for the screen arts.

Since going freelance, Emily has co-curated public-facing exhibitions and events with BAFTA, implemented a communications strategy for London House at the Toronto International Film Festival, provided design consultation for Film London, the British Film Commission and exhibition designers Factory Settings Ltd, and overseen key projects as part of the global Shakespeare Lives programme for the British Council, such as an exhibition in their headquarters and the essay collection Living Shakespeare.

Her passion for contemporary visual arts continues, and she is currently consulting with an artist on a new art book publication.

Sarah Giles

Sarah Giles

Partnerships Director


Sarah became part of Big Ideas in March 2017, after several years at the British Council delivering cultural relations projects across the education, language teaching and arts sectors. Her most recent role was Project Manager for the Shakespeare Lives programme – a year-long programme across 2016 in partnership with the GREAT Britain campaign – commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Sarah managed the delivery projects in over 140 countries around the world in the arts, education, society and English language teaching sectors. Highlights of her time on the programme included co-authoring an education resource, helping develop a culture and development programme in the Horn of Africa, and co-producing an essay collection, Living Shakespeare, which features eminent essayists from around the world.


Katharine Lane

Katharine Lane



Part of the Big Ideas Team since 2015 Katharine has managed the delivery of The Living Memory project, a partnership project with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and leads on the planning and development of large scale Big Ideas projects.

Katharine previously worked as a Director at not for profit arts organisation Superact where she managed the development and delivery of a range of community development and health and wellbeing initiatives, including two Department of Communities and Local Government UK wide projects, ‘Our Big Gig’ the First World War Centenary HLF funded project ‘The Last Post’.

Katharine was elected as Chair of the European Music Council’s Youth Committee in 2012 following several years as an active committee member. Within this role Katharine campaigned and lobbied for change in the youth music sector, working on the creation of a Manifesto for Youth and Music and Europe which aimed to enhance youth engagement across Europe’s music sector.

Olga Stanojlovic

Olga Stanojlovic


Olga joined the British Council in 1979 and found the work of the organisation inspiring, varied and satisfying. Most of her time was spent developing links in the education sector or contributing to the policy for the work in Africa, South Asia, the Commonwealth, Russia and Central Asia. Olga was based  at the British Council headquarters in London but she also spent time in Sudan, Tanzania and South Africa.

The highlights in her career include: going to South Africa after the fall of the apartheid regime, contributing to the development of a transformational leadership programme for  potential young leaders in Africa and Africawoman, an online newspaper to promote the position of women in Africa and develop African women journalists; going to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban to help develop a strategy for the British Council in Afghanistan; and leading the development of Connecting Classrooms, a global programme for schools to for intercultural dialogue, and strengthening the impact of the programme through  strategic partnership with the BBC for BBC World Class and with the Department for Education through the development of their online portal the  Global Gateway.

Since leaving the British Council Olga has become a trustee of the Thames Festival, The Last Post and the British Serbian Benevolent Fund. Olga is also Chair of the Serbian Council of Great Britain which aims to promote good relations between the Serbian community in Britain and the wider British public.