Karen joined the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2002 as deputy director with responsibility for Access and Learning, and Museums, Libraries and Archives. She now directs HLF's strategy, research, evaluation, partnerships and advocacy in a range of heritage areas and cross-cutting themes, including inclusion and placemaking.
Karen led HLF’s investment in Hull UK City of Culture 2017, and she is working with Coventry for 2021; she also directs HLF’s First World War Centenary programme. Since 2012 Karen has worked with the Arts & Humanities Research Council on a number of academic-community collaborations in heritage.
Karen read Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University. She started her career as a specialist curator in the British Library's Western European Collections.
Karen later became head of education at the British Library, where she established and directed education programmes for learners of all ages. She then became head of public programmes