What do I do? In a nutshell…
I work with heritage, arts and community organisations to help them communicate better and to more people about the great stuff they have, make and do.
Basically, I love sharing how brilliant our cultural resources are with people who might not have realised the value these things could have for them.
I went freelance by accident. In 2009, I was between jobs and a former colleague asked me to do a few days marketing work for the Renaissance WM Family Friendly Network… Then I was asked to give a training workshop… Then the Director of Avoncroft asked me to carry out an Audience Survey as part of the consultation for the next phase of their HLF-funded development… and so it grew!
Since then, I have specialised in audience development, community engagement and organisational development for heritage and arts organisations, with a particular focus on work with older people, diverse communities and with children and adults with learning disabilities.
I have worked with a wide range of clients across the West Midlands as:
- Evaluator and researcher, researching cultural organisations’ contribution to wellbeing, learning and the regional economy
- Coach and facilitator, encouraging teams of staff and volunteers to bring out their best and develop successful funding and accreditation applications
- Change agent, helping organisations to pinpoint and instigate cultural change
- Trainer and mentor, specialising in communication, digital media, archive management, community engagement, equality and diversity
- Match-maker, connecting cultural and community organisations to increase the sum of your parts
- Project manager, delivering activities of varying scale and complexity on time and in budget
I love working on evaluation research, as I firmly believe in the value of culture to bring great change and rewards to participants and deliverers alike.
I work directly with organisations to help staff and volunteers to develop their own evaluation frameworks and benchmarking activity. In doing this work, I get to hear first-hand of the powerful effect we have on the people we engage with.
The current evaluation projects on my slate include:
- Everything to Everybody: reviving Birmingham’s almost-forgotten Shakespeare Memorial Library, for University of Birmingham (NLHF)
- The restoration of the Falling Sands Viaduct for Severn Valley Railway (NLHF)
- Minibrum for Thinktank, examining how the gallery’s co-creation with young children has brought extra value to the organisation (Wellcome Trust)
- Ironbridge Coracle Trust‘s project to conserve the shed and tell the story of the last coracle men (NLHF)
- Friends of Ingestre Orangery‘s work to restore and revive to community use the historic Orangery at Ingestre Hall (NLHF)
- Big Bonkers Mobile Musical Carnival Contraption, a STEM-focussed creative engineering project for schools in Herefordshire (ACE)
In recent years, I have evaluated projects such as the regeneration of Stirchley Baths as a community hub; the National Memorial Arboretum’s Remembrance Centre; Culture Coventry’s Creative Bridges and International Transport Museum projects; and Catcher Media’s Herefordshire Life Through a Lens. You can see some of these reports amongst my publications.
I have also carried out significant audience surveys for organisations including Kidderminster Town Council, Tudor House, Worcester, and Avoncroft Museum.
I have worked on regional and national learning campaigns such as BBC People’s War; created blogsites for Museum of Carpet, the Worcestershire Soldier and the University of Worcester Research Collections; and am used to managing projects of every scale.
Clients include: Birmingham Museums Trust, Catcher Media, Open Theatre Company, Alarum Theatre, WMMD: West Midlands Museum Development, University of Birmingham, Arts Connect West Midlands; The Marches Network; Warwickspace; University of Worcester; Wolverhampton Archives, Museums & Galleries; Birmingham City Council; MLA; and Renaissance West Midlands
Previous employment: World of Kays Project Manager, University of Worcester; Regional Learning Project Manager and Peoples War Outreach Officer (West Mids), BBC Learning; Access & Social Policy Officer, MLA West Mids; and Archivist, Surrey History Service.
- Associate of Durnin Research, 2017 to present
- Member of the Arts Council England National Museum Accreditation Committee, 2019 to present
Professional qualifications and memberships:
- Level 3 Learning & Development Practice, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, 2014
- Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, 2014
- Member of the Museums Association, 2009-present
- Registered member of Archives & Records Association, 2001-present
- Diploma in Archives & Records Management, UCL, 1996