Sir Ian Blatchford, Director
Sir Ian Blatchford was appointed Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group from 1 November 2010 and combined this with the role of Director of the Science Museum from December 2010. The national museum group oversees the Science Museum in London, the National Railway Museum in York, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester and Locomotion in Shildon.
Previously Sir Ian was Deputy Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London from December 2004, having joined the museum in April 2002 as Director of Finance and Resources. He started his career in the City, working at the Bank of England and the merchant bankers Barclays de Zoete Wedd, before joining the Arts Council, where he was Deputy Finance Director. He then joined the marketing and design agency Cricket Communications as Financial Controller before becoming Director of Finance at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1996.
Sir Ian read law at Mansfield College, Oxford and holds an MA in Renaissance studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Sir Ian is currently Chairman of the National Museum Director’s Council and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Previously he was Chairman of the Governors of De Montfort University from 2011 to 2018. He was awarded the Pushkin Medal in 2015. Sir Ian was awarded a Knighthood in the 2019 New Year’s Honours for services to Cultural Education.
The Group Executive is accountable to the Director and forms the senior management team for the Science Museum Group. This team is responsible for resource allocation, leading strategic management, developing the cultural content and programmes and sustaining Group values.
The members of the Group Executive are:
Jonathan Newby is Managing Director of the Science Museum Group and has group-wide responsibility for the strategic management of operations and resources across all sites, including: Corporate Services (Finance, ICT, Legal, Procurement), Communications, Commercial, Digital, Learning, and People and Culture.
Jonathan also has responsibility for delivery of One Collection, the project that brings together all collections management activity across the Group and includes the strategic delivery of a new facility at the National Collections Centre. More widely, he also leads on the broader development of the National Collections Centre site at Wroughton.
Prior to joining the Group, originally as Director of the Enterprises division in 2009, Jonathan had amassed over 20 years’ experience in the media and publishing sector.
Dr Julia Knights is Deputy Director of the Science Museum with oversight of Collections, Visitor Experience & Curatorial teams.
Julia joined the Museum from the Senior Civil Service as Deputy Director Energy and Climate Science at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Prior to this, Julia spent 12 years as a Diplomat in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office heading up the science teams in East China, Russia, Brazil, Argentina & Chile.
During this time, Julia managed large science programmes including a £150 Million fund for UK-Brazil research in climate, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and tropical medicine. Julia also designed & led science diplomacy campaigns including the UK-Brazil Year of Science 2018-2019; UK-Brazil climate lecture series at Rio 2016 Olympics and the UK-Russia Year of Space 2011.
Julia holds a BSc Hons in soil science, an MSc in crop protection & a PhD in biogeochemistry. Julia is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology & a Policy Fellow of the Cambridge University Centre for Science & Policy.
John Stack is Digital Director for the Science Museum Group. He joined the Group in 2015 and is responsible for setting and delivering its digital strategy.
Prior to joining the Science Museum Group he was Head of Digital at Tate for ten years and before that editor of the contemporary artists’ monograph series at Phaidon Press.
Karen Livingstone joined the Science Museum Group in 2011 as its first Director of Masterplan and Estate, responsible for creating, developing and delivering an ambitious Masterplan for each of the museums in the Group, creating new galleries and public spaces at each of them, and carrying out a radical review of the Group’s property holdings across the very diverse and geographically spread estate.
Karen began her career as a curator, first at Aberdeen Art Gallery and then the Victoria and Albert Museum. She became Head of Projects at the V&A, where she built up a track record of directing and delivering multiple award-winning capital projects. She has been an Honorary Research Fellow of the V&A, and a Trustee of the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham.
Karen maintains an active interest in curatorial collections and research, scholarship and publishing. Her most recent book is: C. F. A. Voysey: Arts and Crafts Designer (V&A, 2016).
Linda Kilroy joined the Science Museum Group from English Heritage, where she spent ten years heading functions within the Estates Department and held the position of Estates Director from January 2013. As Estates Director she led a team comprising construction, engineering, historic buildings and landscape professionals, specialising in the repair, enhancement and conservation of buildings, gardens and landscapes with responsibility for assessing the condition of the English Heritage National Collection of Historic Properties.
Linda has over 20 years’ experience in operational and property management and joined English Heritage following a successful career in a number of senior public-sector positions in the National Health Service and Police Service.
Linda originally qualified as an electrical engineer in the power industry and was the first female engineering apprentice to be employed by the Central Electricity Generating Board, fulfilling a childhood aspiration. She went on to complete qualifications in management and human resources during her early career. She is a Fellow and Chartered Member of the Chartered Management Institute.
Helen Jones is Director of Global Engagement and Strategy. The team works with colleagues throughout the Group to sustain and coordinate key relationships in the UK and overseas, and ensure that we get the best from them. This includes, for example, relationships with national and local government, other museums and professional organisations.
Helen’s background is in archaeology, in which she trained and practised as a conservator for several years, latterly at the Museum of London. She moved into education, running the Victoria and Albert Museum’s contribution to a postgraduate programme for training and research in conservation in collaboration with the Royal College of Art and Imperial College. She went on to become Head of Planning at the V&A before moving to the Science Museum in 2008.
Deborah has built her career in cultural sector fundraising over the last 20 years at organisations such as the Royal Opera House and National Gallery, where she led the Development team for five years.
Her most recent role before joining the Science Museum Group was as a consultant for the Museum of London and British Council.
Susan Raikes joined in 2018 as Director of Learning for the Science Museum Group and has overall responsibility for learning direction, strategy and planning.
Prior to joining the Group, Susan spent 10 years at the British Museum, with responsibility for all education programming and national work. Susan previously worked in museum education roles for Tyne & Wear Museums and the Sussex Archaeological Society.
Susan was the 2012/2013 Arts Council England Museums Fellow on the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme and is also a curator and author. Susan is a Trustee for the Collections Trust and for the Postal Museum.
Roger Highfield was appointed Science Director of the Science Museum Group in 2019 after serving eight years as Director of External Affairs, when he was responsible for advocacy, press and marketing. Previously he was Editor of New Scientist magazine between 2008 and 2011 and the Science Editor of the Daily Telegraph between 1988 and 2008. Roger has published articles widely, including in Wired, Science, Observer, Sunday Times, Spectator and Economist. He has written eight books, including two bestsellers, and edited two by the genomics pioneer Craig Venter.
For his doctorate at the University of Oxford, Roger became the first person to bounce a neutron off a soap bubble, while working at the Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, Unilever and Southampton. Recently he was made a visiting professor of public engagement at the Dunn School, University of Oxford, and at the Department of Chemistry, UCL.
A member of the UKRI-Medical Research Council and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Roger won the Royal Society’s Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar prize in 2012 and over the decades has garnered many awards for journalism, notably a British Press Award.
Sally Macdonald started her career as curator of decorative arts at Manchester Art Gallery. She moved to London and worked as Deputy Director at the Geffrye Museum before going on to set up a new multi-award-winning museum and heritage service in Croydon.
More recently she worked in a variety of roles at University College London, ending up as Director of Public and Cultural Engagement. In September 2014 she became Director of the Science and Industry Museum.
She has served on several museum boards, including those of the Museums Association and the Jewish Museum. She was until recently co-chair of the Women Leaders in Museums Network, and was co-founder of Cultural Heritage without Borders. She currently sits on Arts Council England’s North Council and is a member of the Royal Society’s Public Engagement Committee.
Jo Quinton-Tulloch became the Director of what was then the National Media Museum in 2013. Her 20 years in museums began as an Explainer in the Learning team at the Science Museum. She has gone on to deliver world-class galleries and exhibitions, including being part of the team that designed and established the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Jo’s focus in Bradford has been to forge new sustainable partnerships across the city and region which reposition the Museum as a centre of excellence in STEM learning. As part of this focus, Jo led a major relaunch of the renamed and rebranded National Science and Media Museum in spring 2017.
Jo has an honours degree in biological sciences from the University of East Anglia and an MSc in science communication from Imperial College. She is a Fellow of the RSA and a Board Member for Bradford UNESCO City of Film.
Judith McNicol became the Director of the National Railway Museum in 2017, with a remit to deliver the first phases of the museum’s redevelopment, including Locomotion in County Durham. Judith joined the Science Museum Group in 2005 and has undertaken a variety of senior roles.
Judith started her career working in engineering, including starting a machine tool company in her 20s, and moving on to work with a venture capitalist in the engineering sector, where she led a diverse range of companies.
Sarita joined the Science Museum Group as Director of People and Culture in September 2018, with group-wide responsibility for leading and delivering people and cultural change strategy to support the Group’s strategic ambitions. Her remit includes leadership of the People and Culture, Corporate Information and Health and Safety teams across the group.
Sarita’s HR experience has spanned a range of sectors, including higher education, culture, charity and commercial. Prior to joining the Science Museum, Sarita worked as Director of HR and Organisational Development at St George’s, University of London, with a primary focus on supporting the organisation to enable its cultural transformation. Sarita developed her career in the cultural sector at Southbank Centre, where she was instrumental in seeing the organisation through its major transformation programme. Sarita is a Trustee for Arts Ed and a Governor for a primary school in London.
Peter Dickinson is Director of Communications for the Science Museum Group. He has responsibility for press and marketing, social media, customer relationship management and visitor insight and led the rebranding of the Group’s five museums with a shared visual identity.
Prior to joining the Science Museum Group in 2013, Peter was Head of Communications at Sport England, where he worked on the Olympic and Paralympic legacy and the development of the This Girl Can campaign to promote women’s participation in sport.
Before that, he amassed over a decade’s experience in the media, principally at Sky News and the BBC. He sits on the Board of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group as Chair of its Communications Group, which promotes London’s home of arts and science through Discover South Kensington.