Speaker Biographies


Iain Watson, Director, Tyne & Wear & Archives & Museums
Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums since November 2010 following a previous 25 years experience in the cultural and heritage sector, I am also a Director of Audio Visual Arts North East, a Board Member of the BUPA Great North Run Cultural Programme a lay member of Newcastle University’s Ethics Committee, North East representative for the Museums Association and a member of the National Museum Directors’ Conference. My job involves running 12 museums, galleries and archives on behalf of seven core partners and this is done in collaboration with a wide range of regional and national co-workers championing a collegiate approach and culture. Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has a national and international reputation for audience development, access and inclusion.


Hedley Swain, Director, Museums & Renaissance, Arts Council England
Hedley Swain is Director of Museums and Renaissance at Arts Council England (ACE). He joined ACE in the summer of 2011 from the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). He had joined MLA in 2007 as Head of Museum Policy becoming Director of Programmes in 2008. Has been closely involved in the development of the Renaissance programme including being part of the 2009 independent review. Hedley was previously Head of Early London History and Collections at the Museum of London with a background in archaeology. He has published and lectured widely on museum matters. He is an honorary lecturer at University College London and also teaches for Birkbeck College, university of London. He started is professional life in Middlesbrough as a field archaeologist.


Pip Hardy, Founding Director, Pilgrim Projects and Patient Voices
Pip is a founding director of Pilgrim Projects Limited, a UK-based education consultancy specialising in aspects of healthcare quality improvement. Her professional career has always combined education and writing – and stories. Together with fellow director, Tony Sumner, Pip established the Patient Voices Programme as a direct and accessible way of communicating patients’, carers’ and clinicians’ experiences to those who design and deliver healthcare. The digital stories in the Patient Voices Programme are now being used extensively in the UK National Health Service, in schools of medicine and healthcare throughout the English-speaking world and beyond, to remind us all of our shared humanity and the importance of compassionate and humane care.


Pete Wright, Professor of Social Computing
Peter Wright leads research on design. He is Professor of Social Computing at Newcastle University and has over twenty years of experience as a human-centred design researcher and over 130 publications in the area of human-computer interaction and experience-centred design.


His current projects focus on health-related services and technologies. At Newcastle he is involved with the Engineering & Physical Science Research Council’s Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy (SiDE) hub. He is Principal Investigator on the Economic and Social Research Council Landscapes of cross-generational engagement project, and Co-lead on the National Institute for Health Research, User-Centred Healthcare Design project.


Rachel Clarke, PhD Candidate, Culture Lab, Newcastle University
Rachel is an artist, facilitator and PhD candidate as part of the Digital Interaction research group at Culture Lab, Newcastle University. Her research is focused on the design of digital artefacts to facilitate the creation and sharing of life stories with immigrant families, drawing from experience-centred design practice developed by Peter Wright and John McCarthy.


Since joining the Digital Interaction research group, she has worked on a Collaborative Innovation Partnership between the Great North Museum: Hancock and ONE North East, developing interactive and participatory museum exhibits. Prior to joining the group, she worked as a freelance participatory arts and media practitioner for over ten years in the North East and internationally, working on animations, films and exhibitions with a diverse set of organisations including Barnardo’s, Seven Stories, NHS, Natural England, Polish Storyteller Centre, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Durham and Yukon Archives, Scope, Creative Partnerships and Royal Shakespeare Theatre.


Barrie Stephenson, Owner of Digistories
Barrie started his digital storytelling business in 2005 after successfully leading Telling LIves for the BBC. Eighty digital stories created in BBC workshops were broadcast on BBC 1 and 2. He is now concentrating on training trainers who want to facilitate their own workshops. He was the main trainer at the start of Culture Shock, equipping museum outreach workers in the North East. Barrie is a trained broadcast journalist who began his BBC career as a technician. He was also Managing Editor in BBC Local Radio. In 2001 his team won a Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for it's coverage of the severe floods that struck North Yorkshire. Barrie lives in York but travels all over the country to lead digital storytelling training workshops.


Alex Henry, Project Coordinator, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Alex Henry has worked at Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums since 2002.  She joined the new Outreach team when it was formed in April 2004 as Assistant Outreach Officer working with community groups and organisations on bespoke projects inspired by museum and gallery collections.  In June 2008, Alex became the Project Coordinator for the Culture Shock project.

Alex has a particular interest in community engagement and has extensive experience of working with hard-to-reach groups on museum outreach projects, in particular, digital storytelling, oral history projects and contemporary collecting projects.  She is also interested in exploring the ideas of what the “personalization” of culture means from the collecting side of museum practice and the consequences of collecting being more participatory and personal.


Chris Wood, Director, Culture:Unlimited
Chris Wood is the Director of Culture:Unlimited, the think-tank for the cultural sector. Before that he was the Director of the Campaign for Learning through Museums and Galleries (clmg), a Director of the Open University and a Director of Common Purpose (a charity immersing chief executives in public issues like education, criminal justice, healthcare strategy and sustainability) – all of them driven by being generally malcontent with the way things are and a restless search for new ways to do things better.

In the cultural sector, Chris has advised many of the major organisations on their social role, in issues such as cultural identity, democracy, emotional well-being, and learning: including work with Number 10, the Home Office, Lottery funders, charitable trusts, and myriad museums and galleries.


Kylea Little, Keeper, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Kylea Little is Keeper of History at Discovery Museum, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums. Kylea works with the History team managing the social history and costume and textile collections for the Newcastle area.  Over the past seven years Kylea has worked on a variety of community projects with a number of different communities. The outputs have included 'Memorynet', a website that brought together digitally collected material from sea communities in the North East, 'One in Four' a co-curated temporary exhibition about disability representations in Tyne and Wear and most recently 'What's Your Story? Discovering Family History' a project encouraging family historians to contribute and share their stories and experiences on a community website and in a temporary exhibition. Using personal stories to open up local history has been key to all of these projects.


Anita Moffitt, Museum Assistant, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
I began work with the TWAM Outreach team in 2008. Before this I have worked at various museums and galleries since graduating in 1996. My first degree is in Archaeology and I achieved a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education and Training in 2005. I am a Union Learning Rep and have worked for and run Unionlearn partnership projects with TUC, Newcastle City Council and TWAM.

Just about the first thing I did in TWAM Outreach was digistory training for the Culture Shock project. I have worked with hard to reach communities in North Tyneside and have used the digistories workshops to engage participants with museum objects and develop a lifelong relationship with museums and galleries.

Sophie Mitchell, Collections Access Officer, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Sophie Mitchell is Collections Access Officer for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. She joined TWAM in 2008 after completing her degree in History of Art and Museum Studies. Her first role with the organisation was as Assistant Outreach Officer for the Engaging Refugees and Asylum Seekers project.  Sophie worked throughout Tyne & Wear with a range of diverse groups on a variety of community and museum partnership projects including exhibitions and publications. Sophie has worked closely with local ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to produces ESOL learning resources for TWAM venues. Sophie worked with members of the local refugee and asylum seeker community on Culture Shock projects, producing digital stories which are now on permanent display at the Laing Art Gallery. In her role as Collections Access Officer Sophie is working on a new project in which we aim to make our collections in stores more accessible to visitors and staff and increase public knowledge of behind the scenes work.


Barrie Cooper, Chaplain, HMP Durham
At present I am the Lead Chaplain at HMP Durham and I have just completed 18 years in the Prison Service. Initially I worked with Juveniles and Young Offenders for 8 years, but for the past ten years i have been working with adult males from 21 years old.


I began my working life in Secondary Education before getting ordained. For eight years I worked in two parishes on the edge of Manchester, both of which had significant social problems. Throughout my working life I have engaged with those on the margins of society and have had to develop skills and strategies in order to connect with individuals and groups.


In August 2010 we ran a Culture Shock programme  at HMP Durham with two facilitators and seven prisoners. For all involved this was a very powerful and in some cases, life changing process.


Lauren Prince, Project Co-ordinator Volunteers, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
I have been managing volunteers for over 6 years in a variety of roles. I have worked at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums for over 2 years coordinating the Culture Track Volunteers Project. Within this project I have provided individualised support to unemployed volunteers from diverse backgrounds to help them to gain experience and learn new skills in order to prepare for employment. This role has been very exciting and innovative and enabled me to support a group of volunteers to complete their own Culture Shock story and also to produce my own.


Helen Graham, Research Associate, International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University
Helen joined the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies in 2008 to work with Rhiannon Mason and Chris Whitehead on the Art on Tyneside project. She is currently working with Rhiannon Mason and Nigel Nayling (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David) working on the AHRC Partnership and Participation: Copyright and Informed Consent and has recently taken up a post as University Research Fellow in Tangible and Intangible Heritage at the University of Leeds.


Helen's research interests explore the theory and practice of 'collaboration' and 'participation'. Her current research is concerned with deploying theoretical insights associated with post-social theory for developing understandings of participation, community engagement and inclusion in the contexts of education, museums and heritage sites and social policy.


Mel Whewell, Principal Officer Collections Management, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums is responsible for over 1.5 million museum objects. These are either on display or are stored at our 12 museums and galleries across Tyne and Wear. In order to keep track of the collections Mel and her team work alongside venue-based teams to manage collection information (including loans to museums worldwide) and museum environmental conditions. Mel is currently managing a project that will transfer all Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' object information into a new state of the art, web accessible, collections management system – EMu.


John Hentley, Evaluation Officer, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
I have worked for the North East Region Museums Hub (NERMH) for the past 4 years. My role includes capture and collation of data used to evaluate the performance of Renaissance funded projects; expert support for others to carry out evaluation; training workshops in both evaluation and project planning; information and advice services.


The role incorporates sitting on a range of working groups, both at a local level and nationally, including: evaluation, collections, diversity, workforce, training, ICT.


Prior to joining the NERMH I spent four years working as a senior research officer for Barnardo’s, specialising in research work around Sure Start and Children’s Fund based initiatives.


Zoe Brown, Outreach Officer, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Zoë Brown joined Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums in 1998 as Assistant Education Officer. With a creative arts education, youth and community background and post Graduate qualification in Professional studies: Youth and Community Work, she entered the museum and heritage sector via a non-traditional route.


Within a few years of working at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Zoë helped develop the initial stages of the Outreach team while in the new role of Outreach Officer. Zoë completed the pilot NewcastleGateshead Cultural Leadership Programme in 2008, funded by Arts Council, MLA and European Development Fund. Currently she manages the Outreach Team at Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.


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