A diverse career in the cultural heritage sector has given me a variety of experiences and transferable skills.


The past exists in the present. The organisations which help understand and manage cultural heritage need to prosper now, to survive into the future. I have successfully led several teams through periods of transition, finding innovative ways of managing cuts in public funding by seeking new sources of income, while maintaining excellence in research and project delivery. This is my key focus as chief executive of the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, and it is an important part of my non-executive directorships at the Black Country Living Museum and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.


Archaeology and history can provide a guide to how we might build a better society for the future. To this end it is necessary to find innovative ways of understanding, conserving and presenting the past. My professional life has been spent negotiating the tensions that can arise during this process. Sometimes this has been project-specific, at other times I have been addressing broader strategic issues in single or multiple organisations, with individual buildings or complex landscapes. Although mainly based in the UK, I have undertaken project work in Germany, France and Bermuda; and spent three years as the Principal Heritage Consultant in a dynamic 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 practical and theoretical debates. 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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