James McQuaid

Learning and interpretation has been a strong theme in my life – as a teacher, television programme maker and heritage professional. Today I work as both a National Trust and freelance consultant in Learning and Visitor Experience, developing organisational-wide and local strategy for audience engagement. A theme of my time with the NT is innovation. I led on digital and mobile interpretation, was part of a team that took the NT to Glastonbury Festival, designed a new concept of visit to redefine the role the country house (Croome) and led the development of the public programme for a ground-breaking regeneration project in Birmingham (Roundhouse).

Freelance, I have worked with a wide variety of clients, including monasteries, churches, libraries, animal sanctuaries, country parks and houses, gardens, historic boats and hotels. My role in most of these projects is in support of funding applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund; in planning, delivery and evaluation. I am also a consultant to the HLF, develop and deliver training and have begun to work abroad.

How the Fellowship impacted me

It has made me a more reflective and confident practitioner, especially when dealing with uncertainty. It has reconfirmed my values and why I do what I do, in the way that I do it.

How I am using my skills for change

I am using them to enable my sector to be braver in exploring new models of engagement that embrace inclusivity and sustainability.