Our Team

DR Ian Cunningham

Ian chairs the Governing Body of Self Managed Learning College in Sussex, which has been open for young people between the ages of 9 and 17 since 2001.

He created Self Managed Learning in the 1970’s. He was the first person to be awarded a PhD in Management Learning from the University of Lancaster. He has published six books and over 120 articles and papers in areas such as education, learning, leadership and organisational change.

He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Utah, Middlesex University and the Technical Teacher Training Institute, Bhopal and most recently in Organisational Learning at Kodolányi János University of Applied Science, Hungary. He also chairs Strategic Developments International Ltd, a social enterprise consultancy working across all corporate sectors. In the latter capacity he has acted as a learning consultant to most of the world’s largest international companies as well as to the UK National Health Service, Government departments and local authorities.

He is a dancer with the Three Score Dance Company in Brighton. His last educational qualification (2011) was to qualify as an oxy-acetylene welder.


Anne has been involved with the Centre since its inception, initially as a Director and latterly as Chair of Trustees of the Charity.

She has worked alongside the creator of SML, Ian Cunningham, for over 20 years. She is a seasoned and deeply experienced Learning Group Advisor and is passionate about bringing the benefits of SML to both organisations and individuals of all ages.

During her early career, she held leadership and HRD roles in a variety of corporate organisations including De La Rue, Dupont and Fuji. As the CEO of Strategic Developments International Limited since 1994, she has provided leadership programmes, team development and coaching support for organisations across sectors in the UK and Europe. She was appointed Editor in Chief for the international journal ‘Development & Learning in Organizations’ in 2007.

She lives in Monmouthshire with her partner and daughter, enjoying walking in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains. She is an Hispanophile, travelling regularly to enjoy Spanish cultures and cuisine and grapple with the grammatical complexities of the language!


Ben became a Director of the Centre for Self Managed Learning in 1994 and currently acts as the Charity’s Treasurer.

He has been actively involved with Self Managed Learning for more than 20 years and has published articles and co-authored four books in the fields of Self Managed Learning, coaching and work based learning.

Ben spent the greater part of his career as a researcher, practitioner and consultant in the fields of individual and organisational learning, latterly as senior lecturer in individual and organisational development at the University of Westminster. He retired in 2010.

He enjoys life with family and friends in a very busy household. He goes cycling whenever he can and brews his own beer.


Liz has been involved with the Centre since 1997 and has served two terms as a trustee since the organisation became a Charity.

She came across Self-Managed Learning in 1992 and she believes that being accepted onto the Self-Managed Learning MSc in Managing Change was one of the major events in her life. It has led to a lifelong continued interest in Self-Managed Learning.

Liz feels that she didn’t fulfil her potential at school; she was petrified of the head at Junior school and then endured indifferent teaching and rigid streaming at Grammar School.

Following a varied leadership career in both the public and private sectors, ranging from banking and finance to the civil service, she has been a management consultant since 2000, specialising in collaboration and facilitation in addition to her work as a Learning Group Adviser with Strategic Developments International.

As a farmer’s daughter, Liz’s love of animals continues today through her involvement with alpacas. She screens alpacas for the British Alpaca Society, acts as a judge in the UK and Europe and provides training for aspiring judges and other breeders.


Avis is a member of the Governing Body of the Self Managed Learning College and has represented the former as a Trustee on the Board of the Charity since 2015.

She became interested in Self Managed Learning as a well-researched and effective method, when her home-educated daughter attended the College from 2008-2011 before moving on to higher education and who is currently studying music at Leeds College of Music. During her daughter’s time at the College, Avis was a regular volunteer and acted as a parent representative on the governing body.

Before becoming a home-educating parent, Avis studied law at the London School of Economics moving on to teach law at Middlesex University.   She returned to college in her daughter’s teen years to study horticulture and now works for a local environmental charity and as a freelance gardener.

In addition to gardening, she also enjoys walking and, as reported at the time in the local paper, once spotted the ‘Beast of Bevendean” – a large wild cat known to roam the Brighton area.


Vikki has been a Trustee of the Centre since 2015 and also acts as the Centre’s Company Secretary.

She became involved in Self Managed Learning in 2008 when she introduced Self Managed Learning as the central tenet of the Leadership Development strategy for Nike across Europe. Having seen firsthand the power of the approach in terms of building competence, confidence and a culture of coaching and feedback, she is committed to spreading the word and supporting the ongoing development of the Charity.

She has an international HR background in organisations including Nike, Vodafone, AXA and more recently the University of Plymouth. Since 2016, she has operated as a consultant and executive coach, she delivers SML programmes in organisations as part of the Strategic Developments International team and she lectures on HR and leadership related issues at undergraduate and Masters level.

She lives in Devon with her husband, daughter and their two hypo-allergenic cats, and enjoys taking advantage of the beautiful moor and coastal landscapes that the location offers.