Directors

Ellen McAdam – Director of Birmingham Museums Trust

Ellen McAdam has been Director of Birmingham Museums Trust since October 2013. After reading archaeology at Edinburgh and Oxford she undertook post-doctoral research in museums in the Near East, UK, USA and Europe, and was Research Fellow of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq. She worked for a number of heritage organisations including Oxford Archaeology and the Museum of London before joining Glasgow Museums as Collections Services Manager, becoming Head of Museums and Collections. She contributed to HLF-funded capital projects including Kelvingrove, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre Phase 2 and Kelvin Hall. Since arriving in Birmingham she has been leading on a masterplanning exercise for the redevelopment of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

She has lectured and published widely on Near Eastern and British archaeology and is an Honorary Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Glasgow and a Research Associate at the University of Birmingham. She is currently working on a corpus of Mesopotamian prehistoric figurines and a catalogue of Birmingham portraits.

Toby Watley - Director of Collections

Toby leads on Birmingham Museums’ exhibitions, curatorial, collections management and acquisitions, conservation and research programmes. Since 2001 he has worked in a variety of roles from Curator of Fine Art to Head of Programming, and has led numerous capital projects including the £9m award winning Birmingham history galleries at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. 

Throughout his career Toby has led a vast range of community projects, engaging diverse communities with art, history and world cultures. These have included oral and video history projects, contemporary collecting, artist-led participatory projects and social cohesion programmes, giving communities a voice within museums. Toby has also worked with universities on partnership projects including collaborative research, collaborative PhDs, knowledge exchange programmes, digital innovation and public engagement.

Rachel Cockett - Director of Development

Rachel leads the Development team. Fundraising generates 10% of BMT's £12M p/a income. Her role is to increase income through fundraising activities, supporting programme delivery and development, and stakeholder management. Rachel and her team lead on securing revenue and capital income from public grants, trusts & foundations, individuals, and sponsorship. Rachel began working for Birmingham Museums in 2000, progressing through collections management roles, to managing multi-million pound funded programmes. She has also worked at Ikon Gallery, MLA West Midlands and Birmingham City University.

Rachel is a Fellow of the Museums Association, a member of the Museums Accreditation Committee, and an Associate Member of the Institute of Fundraising.

Alexandra Nicholson-Evans - Commercial Director 

Alex leads the commercial team in developing sustainable income streams across Birmingham Museums. This area of work includes running our cafes and shops, our venue hire business and special events across the Trust. Alex’s role includes leadership of the Heritage sites; Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Soho House, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill and Weoley Castle. 

Alex joined Birmingham Museums Trust in 2014 and worked in a number of roles across the organisation before moving into the senior management team. She brings with her a wealth of experience from different sectors (including Higher Education and Healthcare) and a passion for entrepreneurial thinking. Alex has run several businesses and has a particular interest in engaging a broader audience with museums, through commercial concepts. 

Janine Eason - Director of Engagement

Janine leads the marketing, digital, learning and community engagement teams to grow, diversify and engage Birmingham Museums’ visitors with the collection and inspire learning and enjoyment across nine venues. She also leads the Museum and Art Gallery; including visitor services, and plays a key role in shaping the museum’s redevelopment plans to attract Birmingham’s young and diverse population.

Prior to joining Birmingham Museums Trust, Janine was Director of Exhibitions at Thinktank Trust where she developed the museum’s masterplan and led £7m of capital projects including the digital planetarium and new galleries. She led a multi-disciplinary team to create the award-winning Science Garden as part of the city’s Eastside City Park project. Janine had a leading role in the creation of Thinktank, working as part of the original team that initiated the concept and secured £50m funding.

Janine previously worked at the Natural History Museum and as an A Level and GSCE tutor. She is a Fellow of the Noyce Leadership Institute.