A diverse career across the cultural heritage sector has given me a wide range of experiences and transferable skills.


Cultural heritage may be about the past, but the organisations which understand and manage it have to exist in the present. I have successfully led several teams through periods of transition, dealing with reductions in public funding and seeking new sources of income, whilst at the same time managing to maintain excellence in research, innovation and project delivery. This is the focus of my current work as the executive Director of the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, and a key aspect of my roles as a non-executive director of the Black Country Living Museum and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.


Archaeological and historical research are of little value unless the lessons learned can be applied in building a better society for the future. I have spent most of my professional life dealing with a range of conflicting interests and issues. These include: management and governance of cultural heritage organisations, implementation of historic environment legislation and guidance, managing building and landscape conservation projects, partnership in multi-disciplinary and multi-agency projects; as well as fundraising and public engagement. My current role as CEO of a regional archaeology service in the UK is informed by previous roles, including Principal Heritage Consultant in a dynamic international for-profit consultancy with a portfolio of cultural heritage projects across Europe, Africa and East Asia.


Archaeology and cultural heritage can deliver meaningful change to individuals and communities. I have created and managed a wide range of public heritage projects over the last twenty years  – from conventional ‘outreach’ through museums, heritage open days and public archaeology, to more radical ‘bottom-up’ schemes involving community-led research and long-term conservation of monuments and landscapes. I have worked with museums, local government, state heritage agencies and private developers on these projects, and have obtained funding from the National Lottery, national and local government, charitable trusts, financial institutions and individual benefactors.


Archaeology requires engagement with a wide range of theoretical and academic debates, as well as a thorough grounding in practical realities. I enjoy sharing knowledge and experience with others, which is a continuous and reflexive process - every day should (and usually does) involve the acquisition of new knowledge or skills, or the understanding of different perspectives. I have a consistent record of engagement and collaboration with academic colleagues around the world. I am an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Birmingham, and have delivered postgraduate teaching and training at the Universities of York, Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, and Sheffield and Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage. I also contribute to CPD modules for the School of Architecture at Birmingham City University, and deliver Industrial Archaeology courses for the Black Country Living Museum.

Paul Belford

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