About Us

Michael and Partners is a specialist consulting firm working across culture, media, sport and hospitality. We partner with our clients to develop strategy, launch new ventures, transform spaces and create exceptional customer experiences.

Our work spans commercial strategy / optimisation, new business development, business turnaround, tender management, audience research and development, digital engagement, catering strategy and visitor experience. Our clients include local authorities, visitor attractions, cultural venues, sports organisations, hospitality businesses and media groups.

Our five main practice areas are:

  • Strategy and Insight
  • Ventures and Projects
  • Places and Spaces
  • Customer Experience
  • Interim Management

Read more about what we do.


Stephen Michael

Founder and Director

Prior to founding Michael and Partners, Stephen held senior and board level commercial positions at ITV, Liverpool Football Club, Setanta Sports, the Royal Opera House and Ascot Racecourse, across a 20-year career.

He is an expert at developing strategy, elevating visitor experience, improving commercial performance and delivering long term financial sustainability.

Stephen established Michael and Partners in 2012 in order to deliver best-in-class strategy, innovation and commercial expertise to organisations of various types, but in particular to arts, cultural and sporting organisations and to local authorities affected by ongoing reductions in funding, or facing other major challenges, and for whom a more overtly commercial approach is therefore needed.

Natalie Highwood

Associate Consultant (Projects)

Natalie Highwood is a consultant specialising in the cultural sector. Her work spans strategy development to project management. Her approach is informed by a background in capital projects for the arts and wider cultural sector, management of the performing and visual arts and an ongoing commitment to bringing public buildings and spaces to life.

She has a strong interest in the intersection of heritage and the arts and experience of developing initiatives for heritage, libraries and archive. She is committed to ensuring that education, participation and skills development is at the heart of cultural life.

Natalie has worked in and with major cultural organisations including Southbank Centre, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, and with smaller arts organisations and within cross-sector partnerships.

Jonathan Catling

Associate Consultant (Research)

Dr. Jonathan Catling is a Senior Lecturer within the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham and has worked within academia for 10 years.

He specialises in and teaches both research design and data analysis.

He has previously worked on projects for the Imperial War Museum, NHS Scotland, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham), PA Consulting and Gloucester City Council. He has worked with service users within a number of leisure, health, educational and public sector contexts. He regularly consults on questionnaire/survey design, research programme design and statistical analysis.

We construct consultancy teams not just from within our organisation, but also by drawing on a bank of specialist partners. They might be architects or designers, highly specialised marketeers, academics or niche technologists. We leverage our network to ensure that the teams we build for each project are precisely matched to the challenge that we are working with our clients to meet.