COVID 19

Please read our updates and practical guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for South West museums.

Meet our Strategic Advisory Group Members (scroll the images for full profiles):

  • Stephen Boyce (Chair)

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

  • Isabel Benavides

    With a background in Visual Arts and an MA in Museum & Gallery Management, Isabel has worked in the museum sector for over 20 years. As Head of Collections & Interpretation for Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, she oversaw the work of the collections and learning teams, helped moved the collections to a new store and developed exhibitions and events. Having been a Museum Development Officer, specialising in audiences, Isabel is currently a Development Manager for a UK charity.

  • Tim Bryan

    Tim 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 he is looking forward to helping the team to support the wide range of museum collections in the South West.

  • Phil Collins

    I 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

    Crystal 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.

  • Helen Rana

    Helen is a freelance editor, writer and researcher for museums, universities and cultural organisations in the UK and abroad.  She intends to use her substantial experience in Higher Education, the private and voluntary sectors, as well as three Master’s degrees in History, Strategy, and Film to support, challenge and inspire South West Museum Development Programme.

    A few words from our Chair on the formation of our new Strategic Advisory Group

    The role of the Strategic Advisory Group 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 South West Museum Development add value to what happens on the ground.

    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. As far as possible our focus will be on the bigger picture and on focusing the work of South West Museum Development Programme to help museums thrive – so they can continue to make a major contribution to the region’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing.

    Stephen Boyce – Chair