Dr Marian Gwyn — Black History Strategy

I am originally from North Wales but have lived and worked across the UK; I now live back in North Wales. My academic background is as a historian, and I am particularly interested in the modern period, especially the history of colonialism and how it impacts our world today. I work professionally as a heritage consultant, a career which grew from nearly twenty years of working for the National Trust, Britain’s largest conservation charity. There, I was responsible for bringing new audiences to National Trust sites across North Wales. I achieved this by reinterpreting their stories and finding pioneering ways of encouraging people to learn about them.

This experience has led me to be passionate about engaging people with history – all aspects of it, the good and the bad. Now, as a skilled heritage consultant, I specialise in developing innovative ways of sharing the past with diverse communities.  Through my work, I challenge how people view the past, and I encourage everyone to question what they see – no matter what their cultural heritage is. Integrity and honesty are crucial in all I do.

My doctorate, gained at Bangor University, explores the challenges faced by heritage organisations in acknowledging how their assets and artefacts are connected to colonial atrocity. I publish in peer-reviewed journals, speak at conferences across the UK and abroad, and teach courses on history and heritage. As an educator, I teach on general history, Welsh history, the Atlantic slave trade, and diversity in Wales, and have taught at Bangor University, Plas Tan y Bwlch Study Centre, and at other sites across the country. I am a historian on the Colonial Countryside project, a child-led initiative run jointly by the National Trust and Leicester University, which challenges traditional narratives at heritage sites.

I work with heritage organisations, large and small, across the UK, to help them build, fund, develop and deliver heritage projects. My expertise includes strategic planning, fundraising, stakeholder analysis, community consultation, staff training, volunteer management and community consultation. I am currently writing a book on the slave plantations of the Pennant family in Jamaica.

I am delighted that my work with Race Council Cymru enables me to bring both my academic and heritage backgrounds together.