Fresh faces as we head Towards 2029

We are delighted to announce that, as part of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sponsored ‘Towards 2029’ project that the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) has today welcomed two new members to its team based in the Great North Museum Hancock. Starting work on April 9th, both James Common, NHSN’s new Communications Officer, and Sarah Seeley, the societies recently appointed Administrative Assistant, will contribute vital expertise to ensure the success of the project over the coming 17 months.

An NHSN stalwart, Sarah has volunteered for the society for the past two years, assisting our archivist with cataloguing and storing our collections after researching John Hancock’s bird room for her Museums Studies Masters dissertation, conducted while studying at Newcastle University. She has since volunteered in the NHSN office, helping with various administrative tasks, and stewarding our very popular Friday evening talks programme over the winter. A long-term volunteer in the culture and heritage sector, Sarah will play a lead role in the day-to-day running of NHSN and provide vital input as we progress towards 2029.

On the subject, Sarah writes:

“I am very excited to be part of the ‘Towards 2029’ project. Through my time spent volunteering with NHSN in the archive I have learnt so much about the history of the society and its fantastic work engaging people with natural history, and I am really looking forward to contributing to that legacy. The society has a gem of a collection and I am really looking forward to sharing it with more people over the course of the project”.

Another Newcastle University graduate, James is a local naturalist with a background in both practical conservation and communications. Well-known for his work as a blogger and writer for organisations such as Northumberland Wildlife Trust and New Nature Magazine, his commendations include finalist positions at the Living North Awards 2016 and, more recently, at the UK Blog Awards 2018. It is hoped that James’ knowledge in the field will allow him to preserve the high standard of NHSN’s existing communications materials, while simultaneously developing new and engaging approaches across all channels as the ‘Towards 2029’ project advances.

James writes:

“I am honoured to have been offered a role with NHSN as part of their ‘Towards 2029’ Sustainable Heritage Project and terribly grateful to both the society and HLF for the opportunity. I grew up watching wildlife in Northumberland, studied here for my Master’s degree and now, with a job in both the sector and county I love, it feels like things have come full-circle. I sincerely hope that, through my appointment, I am able to give something back and promote both NHSN and the wider study of natural history in our region. I look forward to working with and learning from NHSN’ suite of amazing, talent volunteers.”

Celebrating their appointment Director Clare Freeman writes:

“It is wonderful to see such a diverse range of young talent joining the ranks of NHSN. With contrasting yet complimentary backgrounds in both heritage and natural history, Sarah and James will surely prove invaluable as we head ‘Towards 2029’. I look forward to working with them, as well as our existing volunteers, to make the project a success.”