We are all freelances working in our own fields, and come together to work on projects in whatever combination fits the best.
Catherine Gillies – Director. MA Hons History of Art, MLitt Museum and Gallery Studies
Catherine trained as an art historian, and diverted into journalism (press and BBC) for 17 years where she specialised in heritage and environment subjects. A fortuitous meeting with noted social history collector Hope MacDougall led to a career change into museums and a passion for community-driven heritage with its endless capacity to surprise.
She has since worked almost exclusively in the independent museums sector, and often on projects in states of transition: redevelopments and new openings, and sadly managing closure. It has all built a body of experience which is channelled into supporting community heritage projects into successful development.
Exhibitions, activity plans and the myriad ways of interpreting heritage are also part of daily life, working with the two amazing Ergadia designers. She is also lucky enough to maintain a role in collections management, deliver learning workshops, mentor an independent museum, and carry out academic research. Her latest CPD is pure fun – becoming a storyteller as part of her schools and community work.
Robin Patel – Director. MA Hons English Literature and History, MLitt Museum and Gallery Studies
Robin is passionate about engaging communities with heritage. He has delivered a range of collections management and audience development projects for several local authority and independent museums across Argyll and since 2010 has helped deliver accreditation for five museums. Alongside his core collections and curatorial skills, he specialises in community evaluation, including the delivery of focus groups and heritage workshops to inform strategic decisions. Over 2016 this has included a community-led options appraisal for the Crieff Monuments and a collections history / significance assessment for the David Livingstone collection. He also serves as museum mentor for independent museums on South Uist and Lismore. His latest CPD is exploring how museums can facilitate skills development for young people through the application of newly emerging technology.
Grant MacKenzie – Associate. MSc Heritage Management, PRINCE 2 qualified
Grant has a passion for history, heritage and tourism and has worked in the sector for over 20 years. He believes that heritage projects have the capacity to improve the lives of our communities to the benefit of all. Grant’s roles have included project management and development, visitor management as well as partnership and community engagement.
He has also worked with heritage organisations on their strategic development and has a wealth of experience of successfully delivering a range of projects. Grant recently managed the pre-opening and operational phase of one of Scotland’s highest profile and most successful new visitor attractions at the Kelpies and Helix.
Currently, he is part of the Executive Board that is delivering the £6.3 million HLF funded project for the David Livingstone Trust specifically responsible for the Activity Plan. He has a strong focus on business and operational planning/implementation and was also a Specialist Advisor for the BIG Lottery Fund.
Emma Jane Wells – Associate. MA (Hons)
Emma Jane is currently Co-Director of the Museum Collections Unit at the University of St Andrews, with responsibility for Operations and Public Engagement, including marketing, education, learning and access and digital engagement.
She completed a postgraduate degree in Arts and Heritage Management at Sheffield University before working on developing the content for a new Heritage Centre in Stanley, in the Falkland Islands.
Back in the UK she worked in a collections and curatorial role at the British Golf Museum, then as Museum Development Manager at the Scottish Museums Council (now Museums Galleries Scotland). In this role she travelled to some of the most remote areas in Scotland, providing project development and advice on fundraising and meeting the requirements of the Accreditation Scheme predominantly to independent museums and community heritage projects. This role developed into External Programmes Development Manager where she identified and facilitated Scottish museums’ participation in external programmes to improve their quality and sustainability. This included encouraging participation in tourism opportunities and government and sector-wide marketing initiatives.
Emma Jane came to St Andrews University to project manage the creation of MUSA, the Museum of the University of St Andrews, which received a large level of external funding, including an HLF grant. Emma Jane is also currently museum mentor, for Accreditation purposes, to the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum.
Sarah Crome – Associate. BA (Hons) FSA Scot
Sarah has been an Interpretive planner, exhibition and graphic designer for the last 25 years. She has worked for a range of clients in the heritage sector such as Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, The National Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Argyll and Bute Council, as well as numerous churches and cathedrals around the UK.
Throughout her professional life, she has also gained experience ranging from the design of historical trails and exhibitions to publication design, corporate identity and community events planning. She is also a published and accomplished writer and illustrator and is a member of the Scottish Book Trust. Alongside her publishing projects, Sarah also participates in Storytelling events for schools, libraries and tourism venues such as Paisley Abbey, Scone Palace and Dunfermline Abbey.
Her first major project was the design of the Interpretation and fit out of the Callanish Visitor Centre on the Isle of Lewis for ‘Urras nan Tursachan’ (The Standing Stones Trust). Amongst her other projects were outdoor Interpretive installations at Tentsmuir in Fife for Forestry Commission Scotland and the creation of an Interpretive Plan for a Robert the Bruce Trail in Dumfries and Galloway for Sulwath Connections, which resulted in a significant car trail across the whole county.
Lynn Vesco – Associate. Diploma in Art and Design
Lynn has had an extensive background in design. She started her design career with Aberdeen Council within the Leisure and Recreation Department, but moved to Angus where she worked collaboratively for ten years within a multi-disciplined team as one of a three strong design unit within the Museum Department, Cultural Services, Angus Council. She participated in all aspects of the concept, design, development and construction of displays and exhibitions, while adhering to budgets and deadlines.
Choosing to diversify and develop new skills she took up a position in the Oban Times Production Team and for five years designed layouts and advertising features for the companies’ publications before returning to museum design in 2004. Since then she has been involved with producing travelling exhibitions, interpretive design and publications for the small independent museum sector including Dunollie House, Oban and Lismore Gaelic Heritage Centre.
Being an experienced interpretive designer Lynn appreciates the importance of good communication and always endeavors to produce work that reflects the specific aspirations of her client – finding design solutions on both a practical and aesthetic level that are sympathetic to each subject matter. Ever practical and resourceful, she is committed to get the best result out of any given budget while being conscientious and able to stick to schedules and deadlines.