Our Board

Our Board aims to guide the work of the team and support the development of the Programme

South West Museum Development Programme

Meet our Board

Strategic expertise and direction for the programme is provided through our Board. Led by our Chair, Stephen Boyce, membership of the group reflects expertise and experience in key areas of priority such as fundraising, natural environment and academic research. The Board meet approximately once a quarter. Through the Rising Arts Agency’s OnBoard programme, we recruited two people under 30 to join our board in January 2023. 

  • Stephen Boyce (Chair)

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    Stephen has worked as an adviser to a wide range of arts and heritage bodies following senior roles at Southern Arts Board, the Community Fund and National Lottery Heritage Fund where he now sits on the London & South committee. He has held trustee roles at a wide range of cultural bodies. As a published poet he finds museum artefacts and their stories a wonderful source of inspiration.

  • Tim Bryan

    Decorative imageTim has worked in the transport and industrial heritage sector for more than 25 years and led the curatorial team at Swindon’s STEAM Museum before becoming Head of Collections at the British Motor Museum in 2004. Returning to the South West in 2019 as Director of the Brunel Institute at the SS Great Britain Trust he is looking forward to helping the team to support the wide range of museum collections in the South West

  • Phil Collins

    Decorative imageI am privileged to be involved in helping the South West Museum Development Programme and its support of the region’s diverse and wonderful museums.  I have a strong passion for museums and heritage organisations.  I believe that they can make a huge contribution to people’s well-being, to our communities and to the understanding and  protection of our cultural and natural heritage. I was a member of the SW HLF Committee for six years until 2019 and am a former Director of Torquay Museum.

  • Crystal Johnson

    Decorative imageCrystal has worked in the museum sector for over 20 years, originally as an Museum Development Officer in the South West.  More recently her freelance work has focussed on the development and delivery of diverse projects in the heritage sector.  She is particularly interested in the potential for cross sector partnership working to support audience development and organisational resilience.

  • Helena Rana

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    Helen is a freelance writer, researcher and editor for museums, universities and cultural organisations in the UK and abroad. Her screenplays have been selected for film festivals and won awards. She is passionate about the contribution museums make to individuals, communities, collaborations, wellbeing and happiness.

  • Sarah Cheers

    Decorative imageSarah has held senior external engagement positions across the cultural, higher education and charity sectors, most recently at Tate and University College London. Through her roles and as a consultant, Sarah has led teams to design and deliver innovative, incoming generating and strategic stakeholder activities to ensure their long-term feasibility within a changing external landscape. Sarah has recently returned to the South West and is personally passionate about enabling access to high-quality cultural experiences in the area

  • Jess Hoare

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    As a researcher and museum professional, Jess has examined the challenges and opportunities inherent in the adoption of new technologies, as well as the forms of value attached to the experience of the past, the development of new methods for engaging with heritage. She has worked at the intersection of the heritage and cultural sector and technology since 2013 and has collaborated with leading public institutions across the UK. At National Museums Wales, Jess led the development of a strategic approach to technologies that centred on brokering collaborations and leveraging XR technologies to meet the access needs of specific disabled groups. Relatedly, Jess has lived experience of disability and an interest in supporting museums to adopt practices that prioritise dignity and inclusion by improving processes related to access needs and preferences. She brings this experience to my role on the Advisory Board and act as the board’s EDI champion.


  • Hannah Stone

    Decorative imageHannah Stone is currently working as a Customer Service Adviser at English Heritage, having completed a Heritage Management Masters at Bath Spa University in 2022. During her time there she worked with Cleveland Pools Trust, researching what local teachers want from the Pools’ education programme. Additionally, she worked with the Roman Baths to deliver “Heritage Hunters”, a series of summer holiday activities for children aged 7 – 12.

  • Issie Tovey

    Decorative imageIssie Tovey is from the South West and has worked in the arts since 2018. She has previously worked as an art technician at the British Museum, Bonhams and Christies. Her passion for museums stems from working at the Pier Arts Centre in the Orkney Isles where she worked in engagement. She gained experience in managing projects and writing acquisition applications. She has also worked as a freelance consultant for Rising Arts Agency working on projects with Bristol Libraries. She has an interest in working with young people and exploring ways in which we can analyse museum collections.

  • Corina Westwood

    Decorative imageCorina has worked as a museum curator for over 20 years and has recently been appointed as Libraries and Heritage Manager for the Isle of Wight Council. A qualified primary school teacher she is passionate about working with young people and volunteers. A strong believer in the strength of networks and partnership to create positive change.

A few words from our Chair on the role of our Board

The role of the Strategic Advisory Board is precisely as it says ‘on the tin’ – we aim to guide the work of the team by providing advice that’s informed and strategic. Our primary concern, of course, is to ensure that the needs of the South West’s extensive museum sector are well understood and that they’re fulfilled in the best possible way. This means listening to the sector and helping Museum Development South West add value to what happens locally throughout our area.

We have a passion for history and heritage, a high regard for the work done by so many museums throughout the South West – whether run by volunteers, professional staff or major institutions – and we are all committed to enabling the sector to flourish through the strength and relevance of training, advice and other initiatives.

As a group we bring a wealth of professional experience of museums – large and small – as well as knowledge and expertise in related areas such as the environment, arts practice, higher education, funding and management. We provide oversight, challenge and support to ensure the work of Museum Development South West helps museums thrive – so they can continue to make a major contribution to the region’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing

Stephen Boyce – Chair