Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Danielle Tanton

Fine Art 2011

Project Manager for Live Events and Attractions at Mattel (Toy Company)

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I graduated from Leeds in 2011 with a 2:1 in Fine Art BA.

What made you choose to study your course? And why did you choose Leeds?
I was a very creative person at school, and wanted to pursue that through Fine Art, whilst also studying a theoretic element to it through the History of Art modules offered. Leeds is a fantastic city, and has so much to offer students in a relatively small city.

What are you fondest memories of your time at Leeds?
Some of my fondest memories were the last few weeks of the course, sitting in the studio till late with friends, working hard on our final pieces, and taking breaks on the old moth-balled sofa we’d acquired off the street to relax and give each other feedback. When I wasn’t in the studio, I was also in Leeds Student Radio station, my biggest love of Leeds.

Where do you currently work and what is your job title?
I work for Mattel, the World’s biggest toy company, and my role is Project Manager for Live Events and Attractions. Within this, I manage live events and attractions licenses and brand execution of a range of the most popular children’s brand from Thomas the Tank Engine (Thomas & Friends) and Fireman Sam for pre-schoolers, to Barbie and Hot Wheels for slightly older children.

Can you tell us about your day-to-day role?
My day to day roles include speaking with theme parks and family entertainment centres to discuss opportunities of placing our brands within their space, and with theatre companies to create live shows for our characters. Once the license is agreed, we are then fully involved in the creative process from the brand experience itself, to the look of a website, and the fabric of merchandise created to go with the attraction.

How do you think your degree has helped you in your career? In particular, what skills did you learn and how do you use these in your job?
From the various exhibitions we put on, I developed many project management skills which have proved helpful. Additionally doing a Fine Art degree made me into a much more creative person with a “go get” attitude, which has come across into my current role.

How would you sum up your time at Leeds?
Fantastic. I was apprehensive at first about moving far away from my family (in Surrey), but once there I had an incredible 3 years.

What are your plans for the future?
To progress my career in the live events and attractions industry, with a view to work more on the attraction and merchandise design side of the team in years’ to come.

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