Expert Advisor, Public Engagement, National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) – ongoing
I’m delighted to be part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s support services as an Expert Advisor for Public Engagement. The role includes closely supporting heritage projects in their development of an NLHF Round 2 application, and monitoring heritage projects’ progress in the area of Public Engagement once their project is underway. Heritage venues that I am currently assisting in this way include Bevis Marks Synagogue, New Unity Meeting House and Old Palace Croydon, all in London.
Content Advisor, Shenzhen Children’s Palace, and at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, China
Working with the team at design studio HKD and other consultants, I am advising on the content across four major galleries which will be for children aged 3-14 and their adults, in Shenzhen, China. My role is to ensure positive and engaging educational experiences for all of the visitors, and for all of the exhibits to be informed by the most appropriate and relevant pedagogical approaches.
Also working with HKD, I am helping to form the content for the redevelopment of the Children’s Discovery Gallery at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, one of the world’s most visited museums.
Interpretation consultant, Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter
As an Associate Consultant for the design studio PLB, I am leading on the interpretation content for the high-profile Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter in Darlington, which celebrates the world-renowned Stockton & Darlington Railway. The North Road Station site and the adjacent historic buildings will provide the fitting context for visitors to engage with the enormous significance of this heritage
Interpretation consultant, Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
I am delighted to be working with the Roald Dahl Museum on the planned redevelopment of their galleries. I am responsible for the refreshing of their Interpretation Plan for the project, to inform their Round 1 grant application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Focussing on the overarching concept, ‘Everyone’s a storymaker’, the project invites a close exploration of the creative process, using Roald Dahl’s stories and archives as inspiring examples.
Evaluation Mentor for The Electoral Commission
I am currently involved in mentoring and training staff at the Electoral Commission in the evaluation of their new resources for young people and teachers. Working with fellow consultant Claire Adler, we have advised the team on establishing and then measuring quantitative outcomes. This has included conducting training, and ongoing mentoring on their evaluation framework and evaluation mechanisms, such as online surveys.
Lead Consultant, Dorman Museum & Albert Park Feasibility Study
Working as an Associate of PLB Ltd, I am leading a professional team in assessing options and then writing a Feasibility Study for Dorman Museum and Albert Park. Both are impressive examples of high quality civic spaces, and there are exciting opportunities to explore how they can work together to engage more and new audiences. I am leading on public engagement and consulting widely with stakeholders, potential partners and local residents.
Mentor, Temple Newsam House & Farm, Leeds City Council
With Claire Adler, I am providing a mentoring role for Temple Newsam House and Farm in the areas of audience development and audience consultation. The venue has received a Resilience grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to explore how to develop its audiences and present its heritage in new and engaging ways. Claire and I are working with the team over an 18 month period as ‘critical friends’, overseeing and facilitating the process required to meet these aims.
Evaluator of the Creative Care Programme, Fullscope Consortium, Cambridge
I have been recently immersed in evaluating a Covid-19 responsive project which directly reached nearly 400 children and young people through high-quality resources. Entitled the Creative Care Programme, the resources invited participants to create work and ideas, using their immediate environment and in many cases, art materials delivered to their door, with the aim was to improve their mental health. My role was to evaluate the role of the newly-formed consortium Fullscope, the effectiveness of the resources – the ‘invitations to create’ – and a proportion of responses from the participants. The ensuing report had a series of findings and recommendations to inform future arts and health projects for children and young people. I am continuing to work with Fullscope as an Evaluator.
Norfolk Museums Service: Institutional Change Evaluator (2019 – 2023)
It’s both an honour and an insight to be further involved Norfolk Museum Service’s ground-breaking project, ‘Norfolk Journeys’ which seeks to engage young people, after co-writing the Activity Plan for the project last year. Again working with Claire Adler, this longer-term work – running from 2019 to 2023 – will seek to measure how Norfolk Museum Service has developed as an organisation to successfully accommodate young people’s involvement and agency at strategic and operational levels.
Recent and projects, 2017 – 2021
Learning Strategy, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
I wrote the Learning Strategy for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a stunning example of a Victorian botanical gardens, and amazing resource for the residents of Birmingham. Working closely with the Gardens’ staff and trustees, I consulted with current and intended audiences, and with the Gardens’ many stakeholders to formulate an exciting, robust Learning Strategy for the next four years.
Learning Strategy consultant, St Albans Museum and Gallery
I worked with the Learning department and their stakeholders at the recently-opened St Albans Museum. The task was to review their provision for a range of audiences, and to develop a four year strategy to direct their future activity. It involved a full understanding of the wider strategic context for the museum service, and how their aspirations can be realistically matched with current and potential resources.
Heritage Consultant for the 1972 Wings Tour Bus
Painted in a colourful psychedelic hippy design, WNO 481 is probably the most famous bus in the world, carrying as it did Paul McCartney’s band Wings across Europe for two months of live gigs in 1972, visiting 29 cities in nine countries. It was recently bought by a private owner and is in need of restoration. As the Heritage Consultant, I conducted consultations and research to inform a full programme of public engagement activities, and assisted with partnership-brokering and fundraising activities.
Activity Planner, All Saints Church, North Street, York, 2020
With PLB, I was the Lead Consultant in developing and writing the Activity Plan required for a Round 2 application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (as well as leading on the content for the interpretation required). Working closely with the Project Steering Group, I conducted extensive consultation with a range of groups and individuals. The ensuing Activity Plan provided robust and substantial evidence in the keen interest in the renowned Medieval stained glass windows housed within the church. This was complemented by a full list of activities with realistic costs attached.
Interpretation Planner, The Loughborough Bell Foundry
I led on the interpretation for Britain’s last operating bell foundry, as part of design company PLB’s team, working collaboratively with the Trustees and stakeholders. Together we developed the interpretation in the bell foundry’s museum, exploring how to present the venue’s rich heritage in an accessible and relevant way to existing and new audiences. The project has since received its Round 2 grant award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Outline Activity Plan Planner for new Sound & Vision galleries, National Science and Media Museum, Bradford
I worked closely with the project team at the National Science and Media Museum to subsequently develop and author the Outline Activity Plan for the museum’s Round 1 grant application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The application sought funding for the museum to develop its flagship ‘Sound & Vision’ galleries, which will integrate the display of world-class collections and first-hand interpretation and stories by local communities. You can read a testimonial of my work for the museum here.
Audience research for interpretation planning: The Stockton & Darlington Railway Heritage Project
Working as an Associate with Julia Holberry Associates and part of a team with interpretation planners TGAC, I conducted extensive consultation with a range of audiences along the historic 26 mile railway line running from Shildon to Stockton-on-Tees – the location of the ‘Birthplace of the modern railway’ – which hosted the first passenger train ride in 1825. This cross-borough project, led by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, has aspirational plans to place this significant English region on the map through innovative interpretation and activities along the line.
Family Interpretation Consultant: English Heritage
I worked in a consultancy capacity on a number of projects for English Heritage, including at Scarborough Castle, Whitby Abbey and Richmond Castle, all in North Yorkshire. My remit included the development of on-site intergenerational learning resources, assisting with exhibition interpretation and conducting audience consultation.
Pedagogy and Play consultancy: Cogges Manor Farm
My role was to assess the current play provision at this historic farmstead and to consider ways in which it can further engage families through creative, playful interventions. The work culminated in early 2019 in a ‘Play Strategy’ with recommendations for the Trustees to take forward.
Interpretation consultancy: Seven Stories, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Working with design consultancy PLB, I led on the interpretation content and approaches for Seven Stories’ new flagship gallery, ‘Where Stories Come From’. Working collaboratively with the venue’s team of staff and facilitators, we established the core principles to inform the more detailed content development and playful, interactive approach of the gallery.
Interpretation consultancy: Ampleforth Abbey
During 2018, I was the Senior Interpretation Consultant for Ampleforth Abbey, North Yorkshire for the creative design consultancy PLB, The work included refreshing the Estate’s existing visitor centre, and providing clear and compelling interpretation for a wide range of visitors. The Interpretation Plan contributes to the Abbey’s Round 2 application to the HLF.
Interpretation consultancy: Stori Brymbo
Working as an Associate Consultant for Julia Holberry Associates, I was the lead Interpretation consultant for Stori Brymbo, formally the Brymbo Heritage Area, North Wales. This is a fascinating project which has successfully received its Heritage Lottery Fund grant, and consists of three centuries of industrial heritage and an awe-inspiring fossil forest that is 300 million years old.
Interpretation and training: The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum
I assisted the research-led Design Studio HKD in the content development and fabrication of The Wilson’s new Under 5’s gallery, WoW!, helping to shape the content so that it is engaging and appropriate for young children and their parents and carers. I also delivered training to the volunteers and staff at The Wilson on facilitating play-based learning in gallery environments.
Activity Plan Consultancy: St Mary’s Church, Beverley
I worked as the Heritage Consultant for St Mary’s – a gem of a church dating from 1120, with 625 Medieval bosses in its ceiling. I helped the church with its successful Round 2 application to the HLF by formulating an Activity Plan which places these bosses at the heart of a public engagement programme, and which, through interpretation, ensures that they can be fully enjoyed and appreciated by a wide range of audiences.
Fundraising Consultant, Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
I am proud have worked closely with the team at Eureka! in Halifax, West Yorkshire to secure funds for exciting digital projects to take place in its interactive Spark Gallery.
Activity Plan consultant – Norfolk Museums Service (Oct 2017 – Jan 2018)
With fellow consultant and associate, Claire Adler, I produced an Activity Plan for Norfolk Museums Service for their successful Round 2 Heritage Lottery Fund application. This was fascinating work, exploring the most effective ways of engaging young people with heritage, including those who come from challenging circumstances. Norfolk Museum Service is already a trailblazer in this area, and with the HLF’s injection of funding, it will provide more sustainable and high-impact programmes for young people aged 12 – 25, potentially changing lives. You can read a testimonial of my work by Norfolk Museums Service here.
Learning Consultant – The Moat Brae Peter Pan Trust (Nov 2017 – Jan 2018)
I worked with creative design company PLB to provide a high quality visitor experience at the property Moat Brae – The Birthplace of Peter Pan. This wonderful Georgian house in Dumfries celebrates JM Barrie’s life, the house and of course, the Peter Pan story. The building will also be the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling. My role was to ensure that the interpretation was pedagogically informed, relevant and inspirational. Together with PLB, I also developed content for an exhibition space designed for visitors to engage with existing stories and to create their own.