I was the creator of the Archives+ partnership, an ambitious project bringing together various heritage and voluntary partners into Manchester Central Library to create a first-class archives facility and engage new audiences. Since November 2016 I have been an independent consultant specialising in archives, libraries, heritage and evaluation. I have a Diploma in Social Research and Evaluation (University of Huddersfield) and am a member of the Evaluation Society.
- Strategist – while appreciating the need for detail and the understandable focus of staff on daily operational issues, I can encourage people to engage with the wider strategic opportunities for new ways of working.
- Facilitator – I can enable stakeholders to deal with the complexity of the issues; in my experience this can sometimes overwhelm people and inhibit clarity of purpose.
- Critical friend – I understand the sector but know that change is needed if they are to be relevant in the future. I understand the tendency to be protective of how things have been in the past and are able to challenge this while holding on to the fundamental values of the services.
- Creative thinker – I will bring ideas from other places but always focus on solutions and address the specific pressures and constraints.
“I first worked with Kevin Bolton in 2012 when I was commissioned to support Greater Manchester Archives to clarify their future direction. It was clear to me that Kevin has an exceptional range of talents as a professional archivist and as a leader.
I was fortunate to secure Kevin as an Associate Consultant to work with me on two major projects to identify strategic opportunities for London Local Authority Archives (2013/14) and Archives West Midlands (2014/15). Kevin and I worked together from the proposal stage through to completion. In both cases the consortium of services and The National Archives (who part-funded the work) were delighted with the outcomes.
Kevin is able to question assumptions in a non-threatening way and to open people up to new ways of thinking. Although bringing substantial previous experience to projects, Kevin does not approach the work with pre-set ideas. He understands the importance of seeing it from the clients’ point of view and meeting their specific requirements.
Kevin is highly respected for his professional values and knowledge of archives. He works to very high personal standards and has an enviable capacity to deliver large pieces of work to demanding timescales. As the lead for Archives+ in Manchester City he has created an exemplary visitor experience that has justifiably gained international recognition for its creative interpretation and imaginative programming. His leadership of the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership has raised the profile of archives with key stakeholders in the region, and provided staff development opportunities through training and collaborative projects.
His outward quiet demeanour is matched by inner strength and independent spirit. He is highly resourceful and has an excellent professional network. If he doesn’t know the answer, he knows where to find it. Kevin is both honest and generous, key qualities in an independent consultant. He does not shy away from difficulties but gives his energy and time to find a way through things.”