AHI People

Here are the folk who are working as AHI Committee members and advisors. If you meet them at events or conferences, do have a chat and let them know what you think about AHI and its work. After all, they’re here to represent you…

AHI welcomes anyone who would like to get involved with running the Association. Please get in touch if you would like to stand for election to the committee or help out in any way.

Our Trustees

Jim Mitchell

Chair

jim.mitchell@ahi.org.uk

I’ve been an AHI member since 2007 and find it to be an invaluable way of meeting fellow interpreters and new friends while continuing to learn about this fascinating profession. I became a trustee in 2013 and then Chair in 2018. I am committed to help grow AHI and help other interpreters develop and gain from its support and professional network.

I discovered interpretation while working as a ranger in the late 90s. I realised it was the perfect way to combine my interests in wildlife, heritage and communication. Since 2006 I’ve been with the New Forest National Park Authority, developing interpretation and outreach programmes and partnerships.

Interpretation is a hugely exciting area to work in, with such a variety of topics, locations and interesting people. Plus it’s always changing to keep us on our toes.

 

Lyn Redknap

Administrator

admin@ahi.org.uk

 

Lyn, who  started her career as a laboratory technician,  brings over 25 years of administrative experience with a wide range of public-sector organisations to her role as Administrator with the AHI.  Lyn is our only paid member of staff  and looks forward to meeting members, new and old, at AHI Events.

Suzanna Jones

Secretary

suzanna.jones@ahi.org.uk

 

Revealing the hidden stories of big landscapes is Suzanna role as Interpretation Officer for the Brecon Beacons National Park since 2004.   As a Dehongli Cymru/Interpret Wales steering group member Suzanna has worked with colleagues across Wales to promote best practice and raise the profile of the profession during this time.

She delivered the Walking with Romans App (with Living Data) - winner of the 2015 Discover Heritage Award for excellence in interpretation of cultural and natural heritage in the “landscapes, forests, nature reserves, parks and gardens category”.

She became a National Association of Interpretation (NAI) Certified Interpretative Planner in 2009 and has a MA in Heritage Management from the Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham.

Rob Shelley

Treasurer

rob.shelley@ahi.org.uk

 

Rob Shelley is an accountant by training who has in the past worked for HJ Heinz and then Unilever where jobs ranged from Head Office to two years on a Brooke Bond tea & coffee plantation in Malawi & finally a spell in the Walls ice cream factory in Gloucester. Tiring of the corporate world he joined the family business Shelley Signs.

For over 25 years the company has specialised in the design & production of interpretation panels, particularly for outdoor sites. A fascinating journey as production techniques have evolved from traditional screen print to high tech digital. Robert is delighted to put something back into the interpretation field by being Treasurer of AHI.

Bill Bevan

Trustee

bill.bevan@ahi.org.uk

 

I worked as a tour guide at Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in Grasmere during the 1980s. I developed my interest in heritage interpretation as an archaeologist because of my belief that we all have a right to learn about our past. For me, interpretation helps us to understand something about the differing ways people at different times perceived and inhabited their worlds.

I set up inHeritage in 2005 and was the Interpretation Project Officer for the Peak District National Park Authority between 2006 and 2010. A lot of my current interpretation work is with helping community groups realise their ambitions while ensuring interpretive best practice.

I am also a writer and photographer, and have also been a terrible footballer, live movie sound-tracker and DJ - playing as far a field as Australia, Greece, Portugal, Zambia, Zanzibar as well as the UK.

I joined the AHI in 2006 and took a role on the committee to help the Association progress professionally and to support its members. I aim to re-instigate the awards scheme and develop the website resources section for members.

Ruth Coulthard

Trustee

ruth.coulthard@ahi.org.uk

 

I first discovered just how powerful successful interpretation can be during a childhood visit to the Caen Memorial in France - a museum focused on war but dedicated to peace. It wasn't a comfortable experience, but an inspiring one. I moved swiftly on to a love of medieval abbeys and cathedrals (obviously the museum's pacifist behavioural objectives did the trick!) and then to travel. When I finally settled down there was no option but to study tourism and heritage interpretation.

I’ve been fortunate to work in some incredible locations including some of the UK’s Cathedrals, on the Jurassic Coast working in sustainable tourism and interpretation before moving to the Brecon Beacons National Park. Here, I look after education, information and interpretation for the Park (or fun and enjoyment as I prefer to call it). It’s a job all about inspiring people to love and explore the landscape and its cultural heritage which is perfect.

The AHI has supported me throughout my career, and I've gained much from the various events and networking opportunities, something which led me to volunteer for the role of conference director.

Philip Ryland

Trustee

philip.ryland@ahi.org.uk

 

My experience in the field of interpretation is based upon my current academic teaching and research activities within the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University as well as my personal interests and pursuits. I have been a member of AHI since 2005 and the NAI since 2000.

I teach wildlife & nature-based tourism at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As a Deputy Dean within the School, I also have responsibility for strategically leading the educational provision within the School. I therefore bring a knowledge of current issues in relation to the academic sector at FE & HE levels for the benefit of the AHI Committee.

In terms of research, my PhD focused on the on-site visitor experience at two locations on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site in Dorset and previous research has focused upon a study of 'earth education' as well as interpretation in public & private gardens which is a particular interest of mine.

Kate Lindley

Trustee

kate.lindley@ahi.org.uk

 

My background is in community development linked to community heritage and rural tourism. When I first became involved in heritage interpretation more than 10 years ago I soon realised what an important role it plays in getting people engaged with their local community and connecting them with their past.

Since then I’ve worked with community groups across Pembrokeshire helping them research and interpret their local history through various means. I find the sheer enthusiasm and willingness of people to participate in heritage activities incredibly inspiring! I have also been very fortunate to work on several transnational cooperation projects which focussed on exploring the use of cultural heritage in tourism within the community context, and sharing best practice at the European level.

Joining the AHI committee is a real privilege and for me an opportunity to help a fantastic organisation to develop further and increase its membership.

Sheena Irving

Trustee

sheena.irving@ahi.org.uk

 

I always wanted to ‘do’ history at school, but having a yearning to work in hospitality and travel, I was steered by the careers department into science and then into the world of hotel management. It’s a very tough life but did allow me to carry on being a Cub leader, which is where I met my partner Douglas Bolton, in 1981 if anyone is counting! He worked with his father in a long standing family business called Audio Visual Consultants….I didn’t know what it meant, apart from quickly realising that they had been at the forefront of audio visual development, particularly in museums & visitor centres, since the beginning of the genre.

My interest in all things historical soon had an outlet and now, with over 30 years’ experience of producing for heritage and museum applications, I have worked all over the world, creating a large body of audio visual material covering a wide range of subjects, even science. And I love the challenges!

My goal since beginning in this industry has been to raise the profile of audio visual production in heritage applications and keep it up to date with client and visitor expectations of the medium whilst acknowledging the emergence and use of other digital technologies.

Kev Theaker

Trustee

kev.theaker@ahi.org.uk

 

My interest in interpretation developed through working as a countryside ranger and looking at the different ways that visitors engaged with sites that I managed. In the course of this work I led guided walks, school groups, managed visitor centres, worked with artists and most importantly became a storyteller.

For a different career phase I became a lecturer in interpretation and countryside management teaching to MSc and undergraduate courses. Or in other words I continued to work as a communicator of ideas, a storyteller and someone who encouraged people to question and think for themselves.

I now work with Written in Film, a specialist short form documentary maker which focuses on community and heritage activities. Telling stories and constructing narratives which allow people to tell their own stories.

AHI has provided a constant source of support and information throughout my different working phases, so as a trustee I want to see AHI continue to develop and support the diverse community of interpreters.

Trustee Nominations

The Executive Committee now consists of a maximum of nine elected trustees and three co-opted trustees. Four of the nine elected trustees are elected to the posts of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. There are a further five Ordinary Trustees. Each year, one-third of the elected trustees must retire (i.e. three). Trustees are elected for a three-year term, and one third of them must retire at each AGM.

All Nominees (i.e. those putting themselves forward for election as an AHI Trustee) must be either an individual AHI member (Student, Associate, Full, Fellow, or Honorary) or the nominated representative of a corporate AHI member. All those proposing a member for election as a trustee must themselves be either an individual member or the nominated representative of a corporate member.

Awards Judging Panel

AHI Awards Judging Process

The five-member judging panel review all entries, then meet to discuss and shortlist the entries. The panel is chaired by an AHI Trustee and has a representative from each of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The panel aims to shortlisted 3 entrants and commend up to another 3 per category. The final number of shortlisted and commended sites in each category depends on the quality of entrants and how many meet the criteria to be shortlisted. It is possible that there may be more or less than 3 shortlisted entrants in a category. 

Each entrant who is not shortlisted is provided with a short feedback paragraph explaining what the judges like about the project and why it was not shortlisted. Site judges anonymously visit shortlisted entrants in a mentor-mentee pair and assess each site according to a standard judging form. Sites judges complete the form in their pairs, scoring the entrant according to different interpretive criteria and writing a summary. This is led by the mentor. They recommend whether the site should win the award or not.

The judging panel meets to review site judges’ reports and select the winning entrants; they can request additional information from the site judges and/or entrant at this stage, if necessary, to inform their decision. The panel chooses a winner in each category as well as the overall recipients of the AHI Awards for Excellence in Interpretation and the Lifetime Achievement Award. The panel can provide a special mention to deserving runners-up. Each shortlisted entrant receives feedback based on the site judges’ report. This summarises the judges' comments and highlights how the project achieved interpretive excellence along with any opportunities for improvement.