Our Board of Directors

Stephen Bird MBE

Stephen has more than 40 years’ experience of managing museums, heritage, and tourism services in Bath. Until September 2021, he was Head of Heritage Services at B&NES Council. In 2017, he established the Roman Baths Foundation and served as its first company secretary. Stephen was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath in 2022. Stephen is a Fellow of the Museums Association and a past President of the South Western Museums Federation. He sits on the Avebury Museum Advisory Board, the editorial committee of the biennial journal ‘Bath History’, and is a trustee of Glastonbury Abbey. He is a Cotswold Voluntary Warden and a member of the Long-Distance Walkers Association.

Mary Burton

Mary Burton joined the BRLSI board as an elected Director in October 2022. Prior to retirement, Mary had worked widely in the legal profession, both for private firms and for central government. Work for the latter included the Northern Ireland Office, the Ministry of Justice, the office of the Official Solicitor, and the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Mary has been involved in the voluntary sector for many years. Former trustee appointments include:

Helping Hands (London)
Black Swan Arts (Frome)
Westonbirt School (Garden Restoration project)
Bath Film
Mary also served as a Justice of the Peace on the adult and family panels for South West London and for the area Advisory Committee.

Mary joined the BRLSI as a front desk volunteer in 2017 and also serves on the finance and staff subcommittees.

Julie Cole

Julie’s career began with a US investment bank in which she had multiple roles, ranging from an IT Project Manager, Internal Auditor, Equity/Equity Derivative Global Credit Risk Manager, and global cross-organisation projects.
After a period of voluntary work, she started providing business planning and governance support to heritage organisations to better understand their legal responsibilities and improve their governance.
Clients included BRLSI and the Heritage Lottery Fund development and grant teams.
During the COVID pandemic, she managed a business planning/finance review support line for museums and heritage organisations applying to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.
She was appointed as a BRLSI Director in October 2021, with a focus on staffing and BRLSI’s policies.

Michael Edgar Drew Davis M.B.E.

Michael Edgar Drew Davis M.B.E. was born 23 June 1938 in Bath
Educated at Oxford University M.A. and Cranfield Business School M.B.A. Michael had a 35-year business career in the private commercial sector. Following retirement Michael has over 25 years working in the voluntary sector, including Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Restoration Chair, Bath & Bristol Branch
River Avon Corridor Group Vision Vice-Chair, B&NES RACG
Somerset County Cricket Club Bath Festival Chair, Bath & Wilts Area.
At the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution Michael has served as Director and Vice Chair to the BRLSI Board, Previous roles have included Chair, Finance Committee and Convenor, and the “Adelard returns To Bath” Programme.

Ian Gadd

Ian Gadd is a Professor of English Literature at Bath Spa University, where he’s worked since 2002. He teaches literature of the 16th-, 17th-, and 18th centuries, and has a particular research interest in the history of printing, publishing, and reading. Since 2015, he has been Academic Director of the Global Academy of Liberal Arts (GALA), an international network of 17 universities in 13 countries founded by Bath Spa University; he is also currently Head of Development for European Projects overseeing the University’s EU-funded projects. Ian was appointed to BRLSI’s Board in 2019 and is co-convenor of the Literature and Humanities group. He was elected Chair of the Board in October 2021

Chris Garcia

Chris’s senior leadership roles ranged from KPMG Consultancy Partner and running his own family-owned business providing knowledge management services to Govt departments and blue-chip companies, to Chief Executive of one of the country’s largest Local Enterprise Partnerships. He is a Scottish Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Companion of the CIPD and has an honorary doctorate in Business (from the University of Plymouth). In recent years he has undertaken Assurance roles for DCMS and the Cabinet Office, and currently he is Vice Chair for two other UK Charities and is the lay member of Fairtrade International’s finance and audit committee. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany.

David Hall

David is an active supporter of Bath cultural and environmental charities, is a former trustee of Bath Preservation Trust and a current trustee of Bath Natural History Society. Now retired, his career was in newspaper and magazine publishing, as journalist, editor and as a consultant in skills and management development, before offering communications management for companies and charities. David established a local amenity group to safeguard a neglected open space in London and chaired a charity running a thriving community centre.

Simon Hayhoe

Simon Hayhoe is a Reader in Education, University of Bath. He is also on the steering committee of the university’s Healthy Later Living Network, a Centre Associate in the Centre for the Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics, and an Associate of the Scottish Sensory Centre, University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and the Higher Education Academy, and gained his PhD in the education of blind and visually impaired students at the University of Birmingham. Hayhoe’s current writing focuses on sensory impairment and learning, accessible technologies, and social research methodology

Joe Houlihan

Joe Houlihan is a journalist and television producer who has worked in the media in the UK, USA and Canada. During that time he has been responsible for numerous successful television series and documentaries. He is currently founder and CEO of Moonjelly Media, a television formats company. After graduating with a BA in Russian from Manchester University he later completed an MA in Politics at Hull University. Russian culture and literature remain keen interests, along with world politics, history, poetry and sport. Joe has recently taken up playing the fiddle, to the considerable distress of his neighbours.

Dr Farooq Mughal

Farooq is an Associate Professor at the School of Management, University of Bath, where he also serves as a course Director as well as a member on the Race Equality Taskforce and the Climate Action Advisory Group. As a scholar, his research has been published in world leading journals within the field of OB and HRM. He also serves on the editorial boards of prestigious journals in addition to his roles as external examiner in the UK higher education sector. Farooq has also consulted for leading organisations and corporations, including the Barclays plc, United States Agency for International Development, Asia Foundation, ActionAid, Commission on Science and Technology for the Sustainable Development in South and the Pakistani Government.

Bharat Pankhania

Bharat Pankhania is a medical professional, a public health expert with specialism in Communicable Disease Control, who has been actively involved in the management and control of several outbreaks, including but not limited to Ebola, SARS, and COVID-19. He is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Exeter University, Medical School and is a visiting Professor at MARJON University. He is the elected councillor for the Combe Down ward in Bath, and in June 2023 he was elected Deputy Mayor of Bath.

Rob Randall

Rob Randall is a knowledgeable naturalist and a database expert who has committed much of the last three decades to cataloguing and documenting the BRLSI collection in a searchable electronic format. Currently a BRLSI director, serving the BRLSI for his second term after 9 year trusteeship in the past, Rob was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bath in 2013 in recognition of his committed work.

Dr Joe Willson

Dr Joe Willson retired from a career in Engineering in 2018. Joe ioined BRLSI in 2019 and became a Director of the Trustee Company and Chair of the Finance sub-Committee in 2020. He was recently involved in organising the “Engineered in Bath” exhibition showcasing six local engineering companies.