Conference Speaker Biographies


Paul Kirkman (Director National Railway Museum)

Paul Kirkman was appointed permanent Director of the National Railway Museum in July 2013, following a period of secondment as Acting Director from his position of Head of Arts and Creative Industries at the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
Paul joined the Department for Culture Media and Sport in September 2005 as Head of Museums & Libraries. He was a Clore Fellow in 2009 and led the DCMS’s work on the 2010 Spending Review
Previously, Paul studied Philosophy at Edinburgh University before joining HM Treasury. In between three spells at the Treasury he was Private Secretary to the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, studied for an MA in Art History at Goldsmiths College and was Head of Policy & Planning at the Natural History Museum.


Richard Evans (Director Beamish Museum)

Richard has been the Director of Beamish since 2008. He leads a team of more than 350 staff, supported by 400+ volunteers as well as more than 2,000 Friends and business partners. Over the past six years visitor numbers have nearly doubled to 650,000, turnover from operations has increased to £9m and the Museum has created more than 150 jobs and apprenticeships
Richard sits on the Executive Board and Council of the Association of Independent Museums and is also a member of the National Museums Directors Council. He leads a Major Partner Museum consortium with The Bowes Museum supported by Arts Council England as well as a Creative People and Places consortium programme in East Durham.
Born in rural Kent, Richard studied at Glasgow for an MA in English and Philosophy before working overseas for 2 years in East Africa.


Andy Guy (Standing Conference on Early Railways)

Soon after completing his degree at the University of Durham Andy moved to a village near Darlington and was later its parish chair. An antiques dealer in the area for many years, he joined Beamish Museum as a researcher, where his work included the study of the early railway, and the occasional firing of the Locomotion replica. He is currently a consultant and author.


Dr Michael Bailey MBE, DPhil, MA (President of the Stephenson Locomotive Society)

Dr. Michael Bailey is the President of the Stephenson Locomotive Society and a Past President of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology. He is an historian of early railways and locomotives, and has written books and papers on the subject. He is also a museum consultant assisting on early locomotive archaeology.


Anthony Coulls (Senior Curator National Railway Museum)

Anthony is the Senior Curator Rail Transport & Technology at the National Railway Museum and has worked at the NRM in various roles since 2004. Prior to that he was the Curator of Energy at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester and a former Assistant Keeper of Working Life for Leicestershire County Council Museums where he was involved in setting up Charnwood Museum in Loughborough and completing the Colliery Railway project at Snibston Discovery Museum. His work in museums since 1997 on a national, regional and local level – as staff and as an unpaid volunteer has allowed him an insight into both sides of the sector. He is both a Museum Mentor and Mentor for Associateship of Museums Association qualification.


Henry Owen-John, BA, MCIfA, FSA Head of International Advice, Historic England.

Henry Owen-John is an archaeologist by profession; he started volunteering on excavations in school holidays, before gaining an honours degree in ancient history and archaeology from Birmingham University in 1976. He worked for the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust from 1977 to 1991, directing rescue excavations, and helping to develop the Trust’s archaeological planning advisory service to local planning authorities in south-east Wales.
Henry then moved to English Heritage, initially as Inspector of Ancient Monuments for northeast England, before taking up management positions from 1998; from 2004 to 2014 he headed the planning and conservation team for north-west England, which advises local planning authorities on proposed changes to significant historic assets and places and offers grant aid towards heritage at risk . In June last year he took up post as Head of International Advice. Following the division of English Heritage into the English Heritage charity, which operates the National Collection of properties open to the public, and Historic England, which is the government’s advisor on all aspects of the historic environment, he is now Head of International Advice at Historic England. This role focuses mainly on advising government and others on how best to meet obligations that flow from international heritage conventions, particularly those adopted by UNESCO.
Henry is a member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Since 2006 he has served as a commissioner on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, of which he is currently the vice chairman.


Richard Morris (Trustee Heritage Lottery Fund)

Richard Morris is an emeritus professor at the University of Huddersfield, a trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund and member of the HLF’s North East Committee. Richard has been director of the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds (2003-2010) and of the Council for British Archaeology (1990-1999), having earlier worked as a university teacher and archaeological excavator. In parallel he has served as Chair of the Ancient Monuments Advisory Committee for England, as a Commissioner of English Heritage, and as a trustee of the National Coal Mining Museum for England. His interests in landscape, settlement, and cultural history are reflected in books, essays and articles. His latest book, Time’s Anvil: England, archaeology and the imagination was long listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and shortlisted for the 2015 Archaeological Book of the Year. Today he is working on a new biography of the aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis, and a social history of interwar England from the air.