A leader and project manager with over 15 years experience in the archives, libraries and cultural sector. I am passionate about the difference archives, libraries and heritage can make to the lives of people and communities.
Skills and Experience
- Strategic leadership and management of archives and libraries. Between 2010-2015 I was Archives+ Manager at Manchester City Council and from 2015-2016 Citywide Services Manager (Reform). This included managing archives & special collection, library stock management, reader development, children’s and young people services, the digital offer, housebound services, Macmillan information & support service and the Prison Library.
- Extensive experience of service & building transformation and bringing staff, users and partners through the process of change. I am the creator of the Archives+ partnership, an ambitious project bringing together various heritage and voluntary partners in Manchester Central Library to create a first class archives facility and enable new audiences to engage with collections in new ways. This included leading the successful £2.1 million Heritage Lottery Fund Archives+ bid.
- Extensive experience of project management and delivering real and achievable benefits to services and audiences including the Central Library Transformation Project and various digital futures projects. I possess Prince2 qualification (Foundation).
- Extensive experience in shared services work and collaborative projects in libraries and archives in London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.
- 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.”