top of page


A little about me

I'm Ali Brand-Barker, a consultant in the heritage industry. My experience is in community engagement and evaluation across a variety of heritage, but particularly in landscapes. I take an approach rooted in research, but designed for the needs of stakeholders.

About me

I love bringing the joy of heritage to people. I feel it is everyone's right to be able to access the wonderful stories of the past that make us who we are and I hugely enjoy being able to do that as my job.

Since entering the heritage world over a decade ago, I have spent time with a huge range of organisations, from national organisations looking after nature and historic buildings, to small volunteer-led charities and societies. I use the latest research and white papers to develop my thinking, but place people at the centre of my work, building relationships with and between people involved in projects.

I can work remotely, or visit sites across south Leicestershire and north Northamptonshire. I work part-time at the National Forest Company and enjoy getting out and about in beautiful landscapes with my family and friends.

Past projects

Artcodes Along the Nene

This project aimed to engage new audiences with the heritage stories and past inhabitants of a small town close to the River Nene using new digital techniques. I built a small working group of local stakeholders, along with the University of Nottingham's School of Computer Science who researched the impact of 'artcodes' technology, and I led the process of co-designing a trail experience. It is now owned by the local tourism partnership and our evaluation tells us it has been well-used and visitors are learning about their local area's history.


Extracts of a Changing Landscape

The aim of Extracts was to improve the mental wellbeing of people in the Nene Valley, using the work of local nineteenth-century poet John Clare and the natural environment to inspire creativity through singing, creative writing and art. I brought together a small group of creative practitioners, including BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Jon Boden, to co-design the project and its evaluation. The project used artcodes technology to create a contemplative trail currently on tour across the Nene Valley. Participants' responses from a series of workshops illustrated the need for stillness, reflection and new nature experiences for many.


900 Voices of the Nene

Working closely with One to One Development Trust, I devised and developed a story-gathering project, which sought to collect 900 contributions of people from across the Nene Valley, including photos, videos, prose, poetry, artwork and music. One to One Development Trust then built an online, mapped archive and a digital re-creation of a section of the Nene, in which the contributions can be explored. Read more and discover the archive here.


Skills and expertise


Planning and delivering heritage and landscape projects, including arts, engagement and volunteering

Monitoring and reporting

Reporting against outcomes to funders, project team and wider stakeholders



Facilitation of focus groups and stakeholder dialogue, including co-design and shared decision-making


Planning and delivering heritage evaluation activities


Community engagement

Engaging communities in heritage through interpretation, participation and volunteering


Building cross-sector partnerships for exploring heritage in new ways


2022 - present

National Forest Company, Charnwood Forest Geopark (Landscape Partnership Scheme)

Community Engagement Officer

I  bring people together to help look after the 'unexpected upland' of Charnwood Forest, through volunteering, engaging with events and a citizen science project.

2019 - present

Museum of Leathercraft

I volunteer at Northampton's leather museum, promoting opportunities to share the collection's wonderful stories with the public.

2016 - 2022

Nene Rivers Trust (Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme)

Interpretation & Community Engagement Officer
Joining the team near the beginning of the development phase, I researched and wrote an audience development plan as part of our Stage 2 bid to the Heritage Fund. In our delivery phase I built working groups and guided them to achieve a set of projects that brought people together to engage with heritage in new ways. I worked closely with our evaluation partners to assess the impact of the projects I led, as well as contributing to the final scheme evaluation report.


2015 - 2016

The Workhouse (National Trust)

Visitor Experience Manager

Here I led the team with oversight for events, activities, learning and interpretation, sharing the incredible stories of the workhouse building and the people who spent time there.


2013 - 2015

Hanbury Hall (National Trust)

Events and Marketing Officer

I used audience insights to develop marketing strategies that were delivered through digital, print, press and social media to ensure that we achieved daily visitor targets and event attendance.

2012 - 2013

The Vyne (National Trust)

Visitor Experience Officer

Through a National Lottery Heritage Fund supported traineeship, I began my career in heritage at The Vyne, where I built a portfolio of community engagement projects and promotional skills.



2018 - 2020

University of Leicester | Heritage and Interpretation MA

Kindly supported by the Nene Rivers Trust through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, I achieved a distinction-level Heritage and Interpretation MA, which explored definitions and meanings of heritage, caring for it and engaging communities with their heritage and that of others. My dissertation examined the role landscape partnership schemes play in developing collaborative heritage practices, comparing three active schemes.

2009 - 2010

University of York | Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education

I trained to teach Mathematics at secondary level and found my love of sharing skills and knowledge with others, which has stayed with me ever since.

2005 - 2009

University of York | Mathematics with a Year in Europe

My first love was the beautiful subject that is Maths (although I appreciate not everyone will agree with me on that!) and so I spent four years exploring it in detail, with a specific focus on gyroscopic motion and the 'magic' of tippe-tops.


Please get in touch to discuss your project and how I can help. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for getting in touch

bottom of page