What I do
I have a curatorial background in the visual arts, but now mainly work in the wider museums and heritage sector.
I specialise in organisational planning, audience development, education and evaluation.
In the course of my career I've done many things: collections care, curating exhibitions, working with schools, community outreach, business planning, capital development and digital strategy.
I serve on the National Lottery Heritage Fund's Register of Support Services as an adviser on public engagement with museums and heritage sites.
Evaluation and research
I'm a seasoned researcher, with a track-record of producing well-evidenced and readable reports for funders and policy-makers. Recent projects include evaluation of ARTIST ROOMS for Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, and a national review of formal learning in museums for Arts Council England.
In the current climate many organisations are looking to increase their resilience and sustainability. I work closely with staff teams and trustee boards to support new thinking around governance, audience development and business planning. If required, I can also bring together a team of trusted associates with commercial, digital and fundraising expertise.
Mentoring and training
I enjoy acting as a critical friend for individuals and organisations embarking on something new. An external perspective can be helpful, especially if it is offered with plenty of encouragement and practical support. I also run one-off training sessions on evaluation, with the emphasis on making it robust and easy to implement.
"Sheila mentored me during the development of The New Immortals project and exhibition. In fact, it was knowing I had Sheila's support that gave me the confidence to take on such an ambitious curatorial project. She was a great person to turn to in moments of doubt - always generous with her time and thoughtful with her guidance. Our conversations were, and are, something I value and look forward to."
Judith Alder, artist
"Thanks for all your hard work over the last few months. You were all invaluable in guiding us through the process of developing MK Collection’s second stage strategy. I know all the partners found it very useful in helping us to shape our future plans. Your work in facilitating our discussions was excellent and your patience admirable!"
Iain Standen, CEO, Bletchley Park Trust
"Sheila worked through a morass of data and case studies to pull out a thorough, clear and readable report. Now and the Future: A review of formal learning in museums truly captured the state of play in the sector.”
Bill Griffiths, Head of Programmes, Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums
"Sheila was my first thought when considering someone objective but knowledgeable and sympathetic to evaluate our three-year programme. Her approach was methodical and thorough, resulting in a compelling and comprehensive report with a set of well-observed recommendations. She was extremely easy to work with and genuinely interested in helping us get to where we want to go next."