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Library and visitor attraction profiles

Jan Wilkinson

University Librarian and Director of the John Rylands Library, Jan Wilkinson

Jan Wilkinson joined The University of Manchester as University Librarian and Director of the John Rylands Library in 2008. She has more than 20 years' experience of senior management within the HE sector, in nine different posts and eight different organisations.

Before joining the University she was a member of the senior leadership team of the British Library in a new role of Head of Higher Education. Previous experience includes the University of Leeds, as University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, the London School of Economics (LSE), as Deputy Librarian, and a range of roles within the former polytechnic and college sectors.

Jan has led major strategic development and modernisation programmes to ensure that libraries remain relevant, innovative and accessible in the 21st century. While at LSE she led a major philanthropic capital campaign for a very large new building designed by Sir Norman Foster.

Jan is involved in the leadership a number of national and international library developments, either as a board member or in a consultancy capacity. She is also course director for a number of international leadership development programmes within the sector.

Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 3700

Dr Nick Merriman

Director of the Manchester Museum, Dr Nick Merriman

Nick Merriman was appointed as Director of the Manchester Museum in March 2006. Since then he has focused its mission on promoting understanding between cultures and working towards a sustainable world, and has overseen the refurbishment of most of the Museum’s permanent galleries. This, together with a major programme of public engagement, has led to a doubling of the Museum’s visitor numbers to 450,000 a year.

Prior to moving to Manchester, Nick Merriman was Director of Museums and Collections, and Reader in Museum Studies, at University College London, for eight years. During this time, he developed new courses in museum and heritage studies, and created a new university-wide museum service. From 2004 to 2006 he was a part time Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme, undertaking a bespoke scheme of training and development in cultural leadership.

Nick began his career at the Museum of London in 1986, as Curator of Prehistory and subsequently Head of the Department of Early London History and Collections. While there he led a pioneering project called ‘The Peopling of London’ which told the story of the capital’s cultural diversity from ancient times to the present. He studied archaeology at Cambridge University, and his PhD, on widening participation in museums, was published as ‘Beyond The Glass Case’. He has published widely on museum studies topics, was Chair of the International Council of Museums (UK) from 2001 to 2004, President of the Council for British Archaeology from 2005 to 2008, Chair of the University Museums Group from 2009 to 2013, Convenor of the Museums Association’s Ethics Committee from 2008 to 2014 and is currently Chair of the Collections Trust.

Dr Maria Balshaw

Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery, Dr Maria Balshaw

Maria Balshaw has been Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery since June 2006. She has coordinated a challenging programme of historic, modern and contemporary exhibitions that capitalise on the Whitworth’s university location as well as its strong international profile. She has led a successful campaign to expand the gallery and reconnect it to the surrounding park as well as modernise and revitalise the whole gallery. This development is being supported by an £8 million award from the Heritage Lottery Fund and major awards from other trusts and foundation, including the Clore Duffield Foundation.

In 2011 she took on the role of Director of Manchester City Galleries alongside her duties at the Whitworth. This dual directorship represents a unique partnership between The University of Manchester and Manchester City Council, bringing the two institutions and Manchester’s historic and modern art collections into complementary alliance for the first time in their history. Retaining their separate governance arrangements and their distinctive personalities, the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery will evolve complementary programmes and joint exhibition projects that build on the strength of the city collections and a spirit of Manchester radicalism.

Alongside her role as Galleries Director, Maria has recently taken on the role of Strategic Lead for Culture for Manchester City Council. In this role she will represent the City externally in discussions about culture and its importance for Manchester.

Maria secured a Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Award in 2010, a £260,000 grant in recognition of her exceptional cultural entrepreneurship. The Whitworth Art Gallery also won the 2011 Lever Prize for best cultural organisation in north-west England. 

Early career experience included working as Director of Development and External Relations at Arts Council: West Midlands and as Director of Creative Partnerships: Birmingham. In 2004 Maria was selected as one of the inaugural Fellows for the Clore Cultural Leadership programme. Before moving into the cultural sector Maria worked as Research Fellow in Urban Culture at the University of Birmingham and as lecturer in Cultural Studies at University College Northampton. She published a number of books and essays on African-American urban culture, gender and visuality. 

Dr Teresa Anderson MBE

Director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Dr Teresa Anderson MBE

Dr Teresa Anderson became Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in 2006. Teresa studied Physics here at The University of Manchester. Following her Doctorate in Electrical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh she then wanted to ‘do something useful’ with it and went on to work for Practical Action on renewable energy systems for developing countries – places such as the Himalayas in Nepal, Sri Lanka and the South American rainforest. Her interest in how society uses science eventually led her back to the UK and into a role at NESTA where she gained experience in the Science Policy sector.

In 2006 Teresa was responsible for creating the new Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, which opened in April 2011. She has also led the process to inscribe Jodrell Bank on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. As part of this, Jodrell Bank was placed on the UK shortlist for World Heritage Site status in 2011.

In 2012 Teresa became Chair of the Board of the UK’s Association of Science and Discovery Centres. The following year she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s  Birthday Honours for Services to Astrophysics.