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Changes announced to the BCLM Board of Trustees

New Chair & Deputy Chairs of Board of Trustees

19 March 2021

Museum Board of Trustees elects new Chair and appoints two new Deputies

Black Country Living Museum is delighted to announce that Dr Paul Belford has been elected its new Chair, with Jonathan Badyal and Vikki Jessop appointed as Deputies.

Dr Belford, a Trustee since 2014 and latterly Deputy Chair, takes on the role of Chair following the retirement of Lowell Williams in December 2020.  Dr Belford (50) is only the sixth Chair in the Museum’s 43 year history. Paul takes on the Chair during a period of significant and exciting change for the Museum with the start of major capital works for Forging Ahead, and as the organisation continues to adapt to a post-pandemic world. As a CEO in the heritage sector with particular expertise in planning, education, and community engagement, Paul’s knowledge and experience will prove invaluable as the Museum seeks to re-engage existing visitors and reach new audiences in the run up to the opening of the new development in early 2022 and 2023.

Paul’s appointment as Chair is accompanied by two new Deputies. Serving Trustees Jonathan Badyal and Vikki Jessop each become Deputy Chair to support the Chair and the Board. Having grown up in Wolverhampton, Jonathan (32) is now Head of Communications at Universal Music UK, where he is a vocal champion of British music and culture. Jonathan previously spent five years working for Government’s ministers responsible for the arts, creative industries and tech where he advised them on policy and communications.

Vikki Jessop (28) grew up in Dudley and Stourbridge and is currently the Art Handling Manager at Christie's, where she oversees their team of technicians responsible for the movement and installation of artworks. Vikki will work alongside Jonathan to support Paul and the work of BCLM’s Board of Trustees. With a decade of experience gained from organisations including the British Museum, V&A Museum, and Whitechapel Gallery, Vikki is passionate about encouraging women to pursue technical-based careers in museums, and has lectured extensively about this subject at universities across the UK.

Commenting on his new role of Chair of the Board of Trustees, Paul Belford said:

“I’m delighted to be able to support the work of the Museum as Chair of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees are an energetic and dynamic group that provide encouragement and a valuable diversity of thinking to the leadership of the Museum. I’m particularly pleased that the appointment of Vikki and Jonathan as Deputy Chairs means we’ll be in an even stronger position to provide support to the Museum team. The new Deputy Chair roles will be regularly rotated across the Museum’s Trustees to give people an opportunity to contribute in different ways to the governance of the Museum as it grows and develops over the next few years.”

Speaking about his appointment as Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jonathan Badyal said:

“The Black Country Living Museum was the first cultural organisation I visited as a kid and some of my earliest memories are sitting on the grass bank of Old Birmingham Road eating fish and chips with my family. So it really is an honour, some 20 years later, to be appointed Deputy Chair and to work alongside Vikki and Paul in supporting the Museum at this crucial time.

 “Working for Government arts ministers gave me first-hand experience of the integral part museums play in their local communities, not just in terms of job creation and the sense of belonging they provide, but also the role they can play in health and wellbeing and also in helping us to better understand the world around us.  I can’t wait for the reopening and getting stuck in to help the team grow and engage new audiences in the Black Country and beyond.”

 Remarking on her new role as Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees, Vikki Jessop said:

 “I am delighted to be appointed as Deputy Chair, as without the influence of the Museum I would not have pursued a career in the arts and heritage sector. Having grown up on a nearby council estate and benefited from the Museum at a young age, it is therefore a privilege to be supporting it now. Since joining the Board in 2020, I have witnessed an admirable demonstration of creativity and resilience from the Museum team in the face of the challenges presented by Covid-19.

“I'm excited to be more involved with the Museum's future projects, including getting stuck into Forging Ahead and the opportunities it gives the Museum to develop its audience relationships.  I'm looking forward to working alongside Jonathan in this role and strengthening my relationships with Andrew, Paul and across the Museum's incredible team.”

Andrew Lovett, Chief Executive of Black Country Living Museum said:

“I warmly welcome the election of Paul as Chair and the appointment of Vikki and Jonathan as Deputies.  It will be a real honour to work alongside them and the Board in a collective effort to fulfil the potential of the Museum for so many visitors who have come to value it as an important part of their lives.  I am also delighted to have this opportunity to thank Lowell Williams for his exemplary leadership of the Museum and support, including during the most testing of times in 2020.  Thank you, Lowell.”

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