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Music and Motherhood UCL

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Music and Motherhood

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M C7355

Stephen Stapleton

  • Founding Co-Director, Jameel Arts & Health Lab
  • Founder & CEO, Culturunners


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Stephen Stapleton is a British-Norwegian social entrepreneur known for leading organizations and developing platforms for cultural production, education, and diplomacy across international borders.

Following a year-long artist road trip across the Middle East in 2002-3, Stephen founded Edge of Arabia and the UK charity Crossway Foundation, platforms for creative collaboration between the Middle East and the West.

In 2015, Stephen launched Culturunners at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to develop artist-led initiatives that transform communities, societies, and systems, and inspire greater empathy across ideological borders.

In 2019 Culturunners launched The Future is Unwritten initiative, as part of the UN’s 75th anniversary programme, as a way to facilitate cooperation between the international arts sector and UN agencies, and to accelerate implementation of its Sustainable Development Goals. In 2020, Stephen established the Healing Arts initiative, in collaboration with Christopher Bailey at WHO, as a rapid response to COVID-19 and its impact on mental health. Three years later Stephen co-founded the Lab, with colleagues from WHO, New York University, and Community Jameel.

Stephen has produced over 50 international exhibitions, including at the Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bates College Museum of Art, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Smithsonian Institute, The Kennedy Center, Venice Biennale, Royal Geographical Society, Arab American National Museum, United Nations and the British Museum. He has published six internationally distributed books with Booth-Clibborn Editions, including Offscreen: Four Young Artists in the Middle East (2004) and Edge of Arabia: Contemporary Art from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" (2012); and produced several documentaries with The Guardian, Creative Time, and World VR Forum.