South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

Subject Specialist Networks

Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) are groups of people with special expertise in a given subject area. They bring together the wider museums community and are supported, where appropriate, by parent organisations that provide specialist curatorial support for relevant collections across England and the UK.


The Federation has always believed in supporting the local subject specialist networks that we have in the South West. In 1936 at the very beginning of the Federation they created a sub-committee to support the petrological Identification of Stone Implements, which became the South West Implement Petrology Group, and remains active.

SSNs and the SWFed

The South West Fed is still exploring how best to support the many groups in the South West that are held together by an expert knowledge in a specialist area. Whatever the subject, if the group is interested in extending its knowledge and passing its learning on, the Federation wants to help. If you are part of a Subject Specialist Network based in the South West, please do get in touch with us so we can discuss how we might best help you.

National Subject Specialist Networks

Subject specialist networks support the understanding, development and care of collections across England and the UK for the benefit of audiences. These wide-ranging networks, as diverse as the collections which they represent, enhance the potential for excellence across museum practice. These mutually-supportive groups ensure collective impact and economies of scale while enabling the sharing of expertise, ideas and best practice.

Download a list of Subject Specialist Networks and contact details or see below. Details correct as of July 2012.


Society of Museum Archaeologists
David Allen – Chair
020 7831 3222

South West Implement Petrology Group
Thomas Cadbury – Hon Secretary
01392 665356

British Art

Marie Bak-Mortensen
020 7887 8888

British Aviation

British Aviation Preservation Council
Nick Forder
0161 606 0121

British Cartoons, Comic and Caricatures

British Cartoon Forum
Anita O’Brien
0207 5808155


Ceramics Network
Claire Blakey/Miranda Goodby
01782 232323

Contemporary Studio Ceramics
Helen Walsh, Assistant Curator of Decorative Art
01904 697 971

Chinese Collections

Chinese Collections Network
Dr Kevin McLoughlin
0191 3345694

Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art Society
Lucy Byatt
020 7831 1243

Decorative Arts

The Society of Decorative Art Curators
Rachel Conroy
0292 057 3383

Dress and Textiles

Dress and Textiles Specialists (DATS)
Jenny Lister
0207 942 2665


Under development with Collections Trust


Museum Ethnographers Group (MEG)
Chantal Knowles – Chair
0131 247 4064

Fine Art

Pre 1900 European Paintings SSN

Fire Heritage

Geological Collections

Geological Curators Group
Helen Forthergill
01752 304774

Historic Banners

National Banner Initiative
Dr Nick Mansfield
0161 2287212

Historic Homes and Domestic Interiors

Histories of Home SSN
Krisztina Lackoi
0207 7496009

Human Remains

Human Remains SSN
Margaret Clegg – Chair
020 7942 5000

Inland Transport

Motoring SSN
Andrea Bishop – Chair
0159 061 4614

Subject Specialist Network for Inland Transport (SSNIT)
Tim Bryan – Chair
0192 664 1188

Inland Waterways – under development by Waterways Trust
Peter Collins
0151 373 4380

Association of British Transport & Engineering Museums (ABTEM)
Tim Bryan – Chair
01926 645105

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Heritage

Proud Network
Jack Gilbert
0151 478 4499


Maritime Curators Group
Richard Holdsworth OBE
0163 482 3800

Mediaeval Pottery

Society of Museum Archaeologists (Mediaeval Pottery)
Andrew Sage

Medical Collections

UK Medical Collections Group (UKMCG)
Joanne Bartholomew
0113 205 6528


Regimental Collections – Army Museums Ogilby Trust (AMOT)
Brigadier Colin Sibun (Rtd)
0172 233 2188

Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments Collections Network
Andrew Lamb
01865 276139

Natural Sciences

NATSCA – Natural Sciences Collections Association
Paul Brown – Chair
0207 942 5000


Money and Medals SSN
Richard Kelleher
020 73238838

Performing Arts

Theatre Information Group (TIG)
Claire Hudson
020 79422000


Understanding British Portraits
Caroline Pegum – Coordinator
0207 321 6629


Posters SSN
Catherine Flood/ Gill Saunders /
020 7942 2728


Plastics SSN
Susan Lambert
01202 533011


Rural Museums Network
David Walker – Chair
01823 278805

Science, Technology and Industry

Science, Technology and Industry Network
Jack Kirby
0121 202 2279

Social History

Social History Curators Group
Michael Terwey
0127 420 3345


Sports Heritage Network
Cookie Scottorn , Coordinator and Helen Fairs, PA to the Director and
01491 415608 and 0161 870 8325

Scottish Transport

Scottish Transport and Industrial Collections
Megan Combe
0131 247 4024

Screen Heritage

Screen Heritage Network
Michael Harvey
0870 701 0200

Tibetan and Himalayan Collections

Tibetan and Himalayan Objects Network
John Clarke

020 79422000