meet the board
Dr. Paul Belford
Paul is a professional archaeologist and currently the CEO of a third-sector organisation delivering cultural heritage services in Wales and England. He has over 25 years experience of leading, managing and delivering archaeology and cultural heritage projects in the UK and overseas, across the public, private and third sectors. Paul’s wide research interests include the archaeology and social history of industrialisation – particularly ferrous industries and industrial housing – and he has published widely on these and other subjects. With particular expertise in planning, education and community engagement with heritage, Paul also has considerable experience in the leadership and governance of educational charities in the heritage and environmental sectors.
Jonathan Badyal, Deputy Chair
Jonathan is Head of Communications at Universal Music UK, where he works across all aspects of the company’s internal and external communications. He is also on the Board of the Roundhouse, Julie’s Bicycle and the National Academy for Social Prescribing. He is also a member of the Tate Modern Advisory Group.
He previously spent five years advising former Culture & Digital Economy Minister Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP, and his successor, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP on policy and communications.
His passion for music came to the fore during his time working at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Although knowledgeable and well connected across every facet of British culture, from film to fine art, he became a vocal champion of British music, and especially British urban music.
Jonathan grew up in Wolverhampton and was educated at Heath Park and Wolverhampton Grammar School. He studied Biochemistry at the University of Birmingham before going on to study a Masters in Political Science.
Chris is Head of Participation and Learning at the National Memorial Arboretum, where he leads the formal learning offer and arts-based learning programme. Previously, he was Exhibitions Officer at Birmingham City University and has produced cultural engagement and learning projects across the country. Chris holds a Masters in Fine Art from Oxford University and has lectured at the Birmingham School of Art and Central Saint Martins. He is currently completing a diploma in management and a Masters in Business Administration, in which his research focusses on leadership in the cultural sector.
Katy is Director of Services at Oaks Consultancy, a Birmingham-based business consultants who specialise in supporting organisations with a social purpose with strategy, business planning and income generation. Katy has over 15 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, including many years experience as a Youth Worker, working with some of the country's most disadvantaged young people. Previous roles include Managing Director at Summit House Support, Regional Manager at UpRising, Regional Partnership Manager at UK Youth, and Programme Manager for Catch 22.
Born in Birmingham, Katy actually grew up in rural Wales and now lives in the Black Country. Katy's family are all from the Midlands – her grandfather was born in Dudley and worked as a jeweller in the city's jewellery quarter. Katy has a History degree and an MBA in Strategic Management from Aston Business School. Katy is also a trustee for Aston University's Students Union.
Duncan is Partner & Head of Commercial Property at Fisher German, specialising in industrial and office properties, commercial property investment, and strategic portfolio advice. He studied at Oxford Polytechnic and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1990.
Duncan has deep roots in the Black Country, coming from a family of chain makers from Cradley Heath. His interests include British history, motorbikes and sailing. He is also a local Committee member of the Young Farmers Club.
Sally served as a police officer with West Midlands Police for 30 years and retired in August 2020. Throughout her service she worked in operational policing roles at all ranks in a range of areas across the region including Dudley and Wolverhampton. She has a wide knowledge and experience of neighbourhood policing, community engagement, partnership working, crime reduction, serious crime investigation, and covert policing. As a senior leader, she played a significant role in the development and delivery of a Blueprint for the future of policing in the West Midlands (known as WMP2020) in partnership with Accenture. Sally is an advocate for digital transformation and led WMP2020 work on transforming the relationship with citizens through new digital channels. She spent the final chapter of her policing career as the Dudley Neighbourhood Policing Unit Commander working closely with partners including with the Black Country Living Museum. Sally has a passion for heritage. She was chair of the West Midlands Police Museum and played an active role in ongoing work to develop a heritage centre at the Lock Up at Steelhouse Lane in Birmingham. She also volunteers for Moor Pool Heritage Trust in Birmingham.
Sally is an accredited assessor with the College of Policing for Fast Track and Direct Entry schemes reflecting her commitment to people development. Sally continues to give back to policing and our communities through her involvement with a not for profit organisation, Practice To Progress. She is currently involved in work to support women and people from minority ethic communities who want to join policing.
Parminder, Creative Director at Creative Black Country, has been designing and developing audience development initiatives for over fifteen years.
Since graduating in Arts Management and Fine Art, Parminder has introduced innovative ways of working across sectors and has catalyst impressive collaborations. She has commissioned pioneering arts projects locally, nationally and internationally with the BBC, managed Arts Council England national portfolio organisations, and has produced projects with the Victoria and Albert Museum, Radio 4, The Leicester Haymarket Theatre (now the CURVE), the New York Asia Society, and several UK leading artists. She is passionate about arts and broadcast and likes a good story.
Councillor Matt Follows
Councillor Matt Follows joins the Board as the representative for the Association of Black Country Authorities (ABCA).
Matt has been a local Councillor for Bloxwich West in Walsall since 2015, championing his hometown and promoting local heritage. He has helped lead various projects including launching the official Bloxwich Flag and promoting the town’s historical features and green spaces.
Matt is a member of Walsall Museums and Art Galleries Development Trust, supporting The New Art Gallery in Walsall. He holds an MA in Contemporary History from the University of Birmingham.
Victoria Jessop, Deputy Chair
Victoria is the Art Handling Manager at Christie's, where she oversees their team of technicians and is responsible for the movement/installation of artworks onsite.
Before this, she worked at The British Museum (2014-20), where she managed the galleries, loans and exhibitions for the department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan. Her previous experience included the V&A Museum, Whitechapel Gallery and a number of other institutions.
With a decade of technical experience dealing with sculpture and exhibition construction, she is passionate about encouraging women to pursue technical-based careers in museums, and has lectured extensively about this at universities across the UK.
Victoria grew up in Stourbridge and worked at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham prior to relocating to London in 2011. She is enthusiastic about sport and has fenced internationally for several years. In her spare time, she is also a Run Director for parkrun UK and is currently studying Art Law.
Ruth is the Chief Executive of Relate Birmingham, a local charity providing services to help people have better relationships and improved wellbeing. Ruth is responsible for overall service delivery across the West Midlands and South Staffordshire and has many years’ experience of charity management including setting up new services, partnership working and income generation. She is passionate about ensuring services are accessible to all.
She has a keen interest in history and heritage and studied the Industrial Revolution as part of her history degree. She enjoys going to historical places and events, especially those that bring history to life and is a regular visitor to the Black Country Living Museum.
Catherine is currently the Audience Analyst at the Natural History Museum in London and has been working in the field of audience development and marketing for almost ten years. Prior to this she worked at The Audience Agency where she helped launch the Audience Finder programme working with hundreds of arts organisations across the country to collect data and develop deep insights about UK arts audiences.
Catherine holds an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester and a BA (hons) in History from the University of Sheffield. Growing up in Birmingham she has always had a keen interest in the history of the West Midlands and is particularly keen on widening public engagement with history and the arts.