Episode 1 – Bill Griffiths

Iain Wheeldon & Bill Griffiths at the Discovery Museum


Notes on Episode 1 of the Cultural Peeps Podcast: Bill Griffiths

This Episode was recorded in the Discovery Museum in Newcastle in December 2018.

My guest today is Bill Griffiths and he is currently the Head of Programmes at Tyne and Wear Archives Museums,  and also the Head of Culture Bridge North East.

At the start of the interview I asked Bill how he defines himself and surprisingly, his answer was ‘as an Archaeologist’. So despite the management roles he now holds (and that have been a feature of his career development since the mid-1990s), in his heart he is still the same person and professional he was when he started his career. This is something that is fascinating to hear!  

Bill describes his initial discovery of Archaeology (and meeting the people that he worked with on early excavations) as ‘finding his tribe’. This is something that emerges regularly throughout this podcast series – where professionals describe finding their ‘home’ somewhere in and amongst an immensely wide-ranging and complex interconnected job field.

In his early career, Bill worked on a number of Archaeological digs both as a volunteer and in a commercial capacity before settling at what would go on to become a fantastically important site for him, and that’s a part of Hadrian’s Wall at Wallsend called Segedunum (situated North of the River Tyne).

The View of Segedunum Roman Fort’s ‘Footprint’ from the Observation Tower

Segedunum was originally a Roman Fort at the Eastern end of the Wall and following the introduction of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the 1990s, Bill became part of a team that put together the initial application to create a visitors centre there.

You’ll hear in the interview that Bill was torn between his love of Archaeology  and his involvement in this new (and rapidly growing) project. The site went on to eventually include a reconstructed Roman Military Bathhouse, a Museum and a large Observation/Viewing Tower that overlooks the Fort’s original footprint.

A reconstructed segment of Hadrian’s Wall at Segedunum, Wallsend

This shift and slightly sideways step goes onto defines the next part of Bill’s career and he describes this process as effectively ‘giving up the Romans’ as he transitions away from his core love of Archaeology and into more project and managerial work within what became Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums.

The Viewing/Observation Tower at Segedunum, Wallsend

Another big theme of this podcast series emerges here – and that’s around networking. Bill is very much a people person, and he talks about the importance of working in partnership with both colleagues within his own organisation and across interconnected sectors, so for him, that regularly includes the Arts Council, Local Authorities, the region’s Universities, and other Cultural Venues.

For further information about Bill Griffiths, please visit:

Bill Griffiths on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Bg64Bill?lang=en-gb

Bill Griffith (Culture Bridge):
https://culturebridgenortheast.org.uk/bill-griffiths

Bill Griffiths on Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/bill-griffiths-071ba422?originalSubdomain=uk

Bill Griffiths (Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums):
https://www.twmuseums.org.uk/governance/senior-management-team

Links to Podcast content:

Segedunum Roman Fort:
https://segedunumromanfort.org.uk/

Chesters Roman Fort & Museum – Hadrian’s Wall:
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/chesters-roman-fort-and-museum-hadrians-wall/

Tyne & Wear Archives and Museum:
https://www.twmuseums.org.uk/

Culture Bridge North East:
https://culturebridgenortheast.org.uk/about

The Yorkshire Archaeology & Historical Society:
https://www.yas.org.uk/

Asterix the Gaul:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_the_Gaul
https://www.asterix.com/en/the-collection/albums/asterix-the-gaul/

Hadrian’s Cavalry:
https://hadrianswallcountry.co.uk/hadrians-cavalry-2017

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