My career in Museums started when I joined the Science Museum in London as an Explainer in 1993. Since then I have held a wide variety of roles in public engagement and science communication, particularly focusing on the development and delivery of galleries, exhibitions and events.
In 2000 I moved to Cornwall to deliver a brand new museum - the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. I was responsible for the development and delivery of all the galleries in this new Museum, which opened in 2002.
But there wasn’t enough science in maritime heritage! So in 2004 I returned to the Science Museum to lead a team responsible for the delivery of the temporary exhibitions and gallery development programme, including the contemporary science content and the award-winning Atmosphere permanent gallery and associated climate changing programme.
In 2012 I moved to Bradford to revision the National Media Museum (part of the Science Museum Group), becoming Director in 2013. My focus here has been to forge new sustainable partnerships across the city and region which reposition the Museum as a centre of excellence in STEM learning and explore new ways to work with local communities. As part of this focus, I led a major relaunch of the renamed and rebranded National Science and Media Museum in spring 2017.
I have an honours degree in Biological Sciences from University of East Anglia and a Masters in Science Communication from Imperial College, London. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, a Board Member for Bradford UNESCO City of Film and an Advisory Board Member for the National Videogame Museum. I also sit on the Steering Group for the Bradford City of Culture 2025 bid.
I have always been passionate about science and technology – it is fundamental to our existence. But I care more about science communication because every day, science and technology become more pervasive in shaping how we live our lives. And it is imperative that people have the confidence and the ability to question how science and technology are applied and used.
The explosion of digital technologies and the internet, and the rapid pace of development of medical technologies, robotics, neurosciences and many other disciplines bring huge and exciting opportunities; while we concurrently face the biggest threat to the planet – climate change and biodiversity loss will change the landscape and our futures.
We need a scientifically confident and literate society. That doesn’t mean we all need to become scientists; but the more people that have an interest in science and technology; and the more people who are confident to ask a question will help us make better decisions, collectively, for the future.
I also care that science is not seen as an elite subject; that it is accessible to a broad diversity of people, regardless of background, gender or race. The more diversity we create in the sector, the richer our thinking and our outcomes will be.
The ASDC network of Science Centres play a huge role in making science accessible and inspiring and have a huge reach across the UK. If elected I would want to build on and support this collective to ensure that this access is maintained and expanded, and think creatively about how to respond to the current challenges the sector will face due to covid-19.