GEM Course Directors

Pete Brown, Foundation Course Director for Museum Learning

Pete Brown

Pete has over 20 years experience in the museum sector, interpreting science, nature, art, history and human cultures for a wide range of audiences through learning activities, outreach, exhibition making and gallery development. He has worked in museums, art galleries, historic houses and aquariums, with collections as varied as steam engines and stingrays. In 2015, following eight years in senior management, Pete became an independent museums consultant, specialising in access, learning and interpretation.

Find out more about the GEM Foundation Course.

Sarah Oswald, Course Director for Heritage Interpretation

Sarah Oswald

Sarah is a creative coach with over 20 years’ experience in heritage interpretation, which she shares as the course director for Heritage Interpretation. She has worked in consultancy, on projects large and small, and in community heritage and loves to use that experience to help coach, mentor and train others in the sector. Outside of heritage, Sarah is “mum” to two miniature Schnauzers, and keeps her life in balance with yoga, meditation and Zumba.

Find out more about the GEM Heritage Interpretation Course.

Kara Wescombe Backman, Course Director for Museum Learning Basics

Kara’s work with collections, exhibitions and museums spans over two decades. With responsibility for learning, public programmes and visitor services for a number of prestigious museums in different settings, she has wide-ranging insights and practical experience to share, from engaging new audiences to creating new museum and learning spaces.

Find out more about Museum Learning Basics Course.

Nick Winterbotham, Course Director for Resilience, Leadership and Me

Nick is a former director and chief executive of many prestigious museums, including Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, National Railway Museum, York, and the Museum of East Anglian Life. Nick is now the managing director of Nick Winterbotham Associates, delivering high quality consultation and training on leadership, heritage learning and team development, amongst other subjects.

Find out more about Resilience, Leadership and Me.

Sam Bowen, Course Director for Developing SEND-Inclusive Learning with Confidence

Sam Bowen is an experienced museum professional having worked in the sector for over 20 years in curation, education and museum development roles. Sam’s daughter is disabled and she draws on her personal experience as a SEND mum and museum professional visiting museums and galleries for her work. She challenges the sector’s perception of learning disability and who museums are for and argues that as agencies for change and place making, museums have a role to play in fostering better inclusion and access in their communities. Sam is the author of the Special Schools and Museums Toolkit and the Kids in Museums SEND family toolkit and is project manager of the SEND in Museums project funded by Arts Council England. She lives in Kent with her husband, daughter and cat and is a keen crafter when ever she has the time.

Find out more about Developing SEND-Inclusive Learning with Confidence.

Sam Cairns, Course Director for Fundraising for Museum Learning

Sam is an innovative and enthusiastic senior strategic manager in cultural learning. She has strong advocacy and lobbying skills and a proven track record of generating, implementing and evaluating programmes across the arts and heritage sector.

Sam has worked in the cultural sector for over 20 years – starting in museum education and then working in libraries, archives and the arts. Sam and Lizzie have worked in partnership in various forms since 2007.

Sam project managed and compiled the Clore Duffield Foundation’s Space for Learning: a new handbook for creating inspirational learning spaces (2015) and Space for Learning Covid Guidance (2020). She was Project Manager of RSA Learning About Culture for a year in 2019 and led the team that produced the Arts-Rich Schools report.

Find out more about Fundraising for Museum Learning

Jean Campbell, Course Director Developing Anti Racist Practice in Museums

Jean is a trained teacher, art therapist and museum educator born in Jamaica and raised in North London. For over 15 years Jean has designed and delivered learning projects and public engagement initiatives on a wide range of subjects in many major museums and galleries. Jean also delivers staff training sessions which specialise in transatlantic slavery, colonialism, and their legacies. Her approach to training uses creative, arts-based encounters to deepen people’s emotional and professional capacity to work with histories, collections and audiences. She aims to create safe spaces in which people are respected and supported to share thoughts, experiences and ideas, and be their creative best.

Find out more about Developing Anti-Racist Practice in Museums.

Meera Chauda, Course Director Developing Anti Racist Practice in Museums

Meera is a Creative facilitator and Consultant. She has worked in Learning and Interpretation in the Museums and the cultural sector for over 25 years. She has worked with Museums, Galleries, Schools, and other Cultural organisations to devise and deliver projects, workshops, training, resources, and evaluation. She is currently a critical friend for Tate Schools and Teachers. 

Since 2020 Meera and Jean have devised and run a series of arts – based training and consultation for Museum staff responding to the drive for anti-racist, inclusive, and decolonising practices. These include The Pitt Rivers Museum, The Museum of London and The London Transport Museum.

Find out more about Developing Anti-Racist Practice in Museums.

Melissa Maynard, GEM Mentoring Champion

Melissa Maynard Photo, GEMStarting her career in a small, independent open air museum, Melissa worked as a Learning & Community Officer for the National Trust at Belton House. One of the things she learnt quickly in a small museum is how much your job title doesn’t actually reflect your day to day role in its entirety as it’s all about team work and networks like GEM that provide support. Having benefited from having amazing mentors and other support to find creative ways to engage visitors throughout her career, often on a small budget, Melissa has recently set up a consultancy, Melissa Maynard Heritage, to support others in their work.

Find out more about the One to One Mentoring Programme.

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