About our Authors

Current authors:

Ali Wells, Keeper of Collections (Social History and Natural History)Curators are a dangerous bunch!

I care for the collections held by the Herbert, collect new objects, curate exhibitions, deal with public enquiries, assist other teams to do what they do best


games and gaming; crafting (crochet, knitting, cards, beading…); oral history; ancient history, particularly Egypt and Iraq; chocolate, cakes, biscuits, cheese and all kinds of tasty yums.

Something you should know about me:

I love learning! Luckily my job means that there’s always something new to find out about. It might be researching objects, or a Coventry story, or just talking to a visitor who worked in a particular industry. I also enjoy passing my knowledge on. Never talk to me about The Mummy film (5 canopic jars?!).

Chris Kirby, Head of Collections and Programmes


Museums, archaeology, ancient Egypt, Japanese animation

Something you should know about me: My ancestor invented a machine that made stockings for Queen Elizabeth.


Erin, Herbert 2.0 Project Assistant

I’m working to increase access to collections online and through digital media.


Gardening, photography, natural history, symmetry, certain shades of the color blue.

Something you should know about me:

I’d like to visit every National Park in the US. And I have vague dreams of baking cakes for a living (too bad I’m not really great at baking!).

Fraser, Front of House Staff





Jack Shuttleworth, Community Events and Exhibitions Officer (Social Inclusion & Diversity Team)

JackI work on events and exhibitions aimed at people who don’t usually visit museums. I have the privilege of leading on our annual summer exhibition for young children and their families, where I have drawn on the immense knowledge and commitment of colleagues and my career in the Theatre in Education movement. I also organise talks, one-off events and commemorations such as International Women’s Week, Holocaust Memorial Day, International Day for Disabled People etc.


Pie, pi, puns, puds, paints, pedantry, pretension, public/pervasive gaming, social justice, freestyle kiting, arduino, ritual traditions, applying drama theory to everything, community music, cheese, trees and knees (my two serious qualifications are as a botanist and a chiropractor).

Something you should know about me:

I have been known to wander off the subject, even if it is cheese, and sometimes this can be useful.

Jamie Perry, Head of Marketing and CommunicationsJamie


I’m an avid comic book reader, I collect records and have over 6,000 LP’s and I enjoy playing with my children’s toys – current favourites include marble run and a wooden racetrack for cars – roll on scaletrix!

Something you should know about me:

I’m passionate about introducing arts and culture into the lives of people who think that it’s not for them, I believe strongly that a cultural experience starts from infant age and lasts a lifetime, I have a bald patch like Zinedine Zidane – if I let my hair grow I look like Friar Tuck, I still love Tom and Jerry and I’m a Second Tenor with Birmingham Opera Company.

Jane Pudsey, Senior Conservator

JaneMy duties include management of the team, budget and purchasing, oversight of the museum environment, emergency planning, and collections care for paper and archive collections.


Singing, playing violin, practising Christian

Something you should know about me:

Despite being generally animal-friendly, and, up until owning a garden, especially cat-friendly, I’ve been forced into an ongoing water pistol campaign to terrorize the local felines into leaving my grass in a fit state to be walked on in bare feet and the hedge safe for nesting birds. Typically, my best success so far has been with a deeply appealing creature which I’m belatedly informed uses a litter tray…and who now looks like she’s heading straight for it – fast – every time she sees me. The local tom-thug still has to be glared into submission before he’ll go. Maybe I’m taking the wrong tack…

 Lisa, Outreach Learning Officer 


A lot of my work involves going out to primary and secondary schools to run learning sessions using our handling objects and archives and to run assemblies about all sorts of different things relating to the Herbert. I do go out and work with adults too during presentations at teacher’s staff meetings and through the reminiscence sessions I do in care homes and day centres. All in all I do a lot of travelling around the city, which is great because I get to meet a lot of different people and it really does mean that no two days are the same!


Reading, shopping (a little too much), watching any films that include Johnny Depp, and my biggest obsession…knitting!

Something you should know about me:

My evil big sister (love her really) told me I was a natural red head because I’d been left out in the rain as a baby and had gone rusty….. I believed her until I was about 6 years old!!!

Rayanne, Senior History Centre Assistant

I’m one of a team of 9 colleagues working at the History Centre which holds the Coventry’s archives and the former Local Studies Library of the Central Library.

We hold a wealth of information about the history of Coventry and Warwickshire and for provide free computer access and other resources for family history research.

My day usually involves working on our Reading Room enquiry desk, answering enquiries, advising visitors how to use our resources and equipment, producing documents for researchers and those routine, less interesting admin tasks that contribute to the smooth running of the History Centre.


Reading, cooking (not always successfully), walking, natural history, travel, F1 and rugby union – I’m still devastated by Coventry’s end of season relegation – let’s hope next season will be better!

Something you should know about me:

I’m never happier than when I’m in the Lake District (even when it rains) and hope to climb all the Wainrights before my knees wear out.

Previous authors:

Anne-Marie Sandos, Social Inclusion Officer

Anne-MarieIt is a bit of a mouthful but basically it means that I do lots of interesting projects with people who don’t necessarily wake up in the morning and think “I know I’ll go to a museum today.” My job includes making films and museum displays about community histories particularly those termed “hard to reach”, doing creative projects, organising the odd event and group of volunteers.


At work – interested in hidden and minority histories, helping people to experience the loveliness that is a museum and the amazing way museums can help people to see the world differently (even if it is just a little bit).

At home – cycling, reading, creative writing, drama – although I am putting things on hold so that I can focus on getting my Level 3 British Sign Language certificate.

Something you should know about me:

I don’t remember ever visiting a museum until I was the age of 21. It was great and I thought, ‘where have they been all my life?’ so I made it my mission to visit as many as possible. Eventually a friend suggested that I should work in one which turned out to be great advice. My grandfather worked in a sugar factory in Mauritius that has recently been turned into a museum. I am planning on going to visit soon.

NB: Anne-Marie has now left the Herbert.

 Harriet, Herbert 2.0 Project Assistant

HarrietThe evil twin of Erin, we job share to make up 1/3 of the 2.0 project team. We are looking into new forms of digital access, promoting the gallery and its collections via social media and high-tech in-gallery solutions.


Shopping for bargains, belly dancing (I go to classes!) baking and making my house look like it has been lifted direct from the ‘Laura Ashley’ catalogue.

Something you should know about me:

I am petrified of spiders, really really petrified!

NB: Harriet has now left the Herbert to begin training as a nurse. Best of luck, Harriet! 

Eric W Hodgkins, Front of House Staff

I’m part of the team on the front line – the face that the public first see on entering the museum. Hence the good manners and ready smile. We go out of our way to assist the public in any way we can, short of money lending! We have been known from time to time to help out “back of house” with the odd bit of painting, setting up / taking down exhibitions, moving furniture, cleaning, making the tea and general housekeeping. That’s when we are not coping with free runners, skateboarders and mountain bikes. Hence we are all able to cope with any incidents that come our way. All situations are dealt in a professional manner at all times.


I have my own collection of arms and armour and can create “Living History” events from 1346 to 1680.  I also run the odd craft workshops in other areas and have ventured into the “Home Front” together with associated weaponry. Theatre has also played a major part in my life, entering on the boards at the tender age of seven, and I’ve never truly escaped from its lure. The Prime Mover in my life are my family, since now I have a number of grandchildren and have set up the Hodgkins Dynasty.

Something you should know about me:

Age is a state of mind, some days I feel like a 17 year old but then a dodgy hip reminds me that was a very long time ago.

NB: Eric has retired from his post at the Herbert.

Robin Johnson, Senior Learning Officer

My job is to manage all the learning activity that goes on at the Herbert and also to oversee the educational activity at the Lunt Roman Fort and the Priory Visitor Centre.


My interests are pretty boring really! I like most sports, I love progressive rock / AOR music, I like watching war films, I like walking and cycling whenever I can. I’m a recent convert to the joys of world-wide travel, including Prague, Sydney and Tromso (Norway) as some of my favourite destinations. I used to be a keen gardener, but recently find it hard to find the time for this.

Something you should know about me:

Most people probably didn’t know that I ran a half marathon once – yes, I used to be fit! I also “Ran the World” in 1986 through the streets of London……and yes, I did used to have hair!

NB: Robin has now left the Herbert and taken up a post with Arc Schools. We wish him all the best!

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