Meet the team
We The Curious is all about people, find out a bit more about the passionate professionals who make up our Leadership team...
Head of Operations
A bit about me...
With a background in independent retail, I joined what was At-Bristol in 2000 as one of the Visitor Services team. 18 years and 2 children later I’m still part of an exciting adventure and looking forward to the next steps in building a culture of curiosity.
Best Thing about working in We The Curious
I love that We The Curious is a charity, and everything we do is around positive change. We have big ambitions, and a passionate team of people to drive us forwards.
Image credit: Ailsa Fineron
Head of Programming
A bit about me...
Before joining We The Curious in 2017 I was a Creative Producer for ten years, working with independent artists and arts organisations across disciplines including live art, contemporary dance, festivals and theatre. I developed commissions that have toured nationally and internationally and worked as a Producer at The Place, Battersea Arts Centre and LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre). For most of my life I’ve felt like science ‘isn’t for me’ and while I may have come round to some of its joys, I still try to think carefully about those who may feel excluded from the work that we do and how I can change that.
Best thing about working in We The Curious?
Being part of an organisation that is going through such an exciting period of change. It feels like a momentous time of reinvention, and I’m so glad I get to be part of that.
Image credit: Lisa Whiting
Head of Development
A bit about me...
Image: Lisa Whiting
Head of Audience
Chief Executive Officer
I joined We The Curious in 2000, when we were still At-Bristol. I continue to be so inspired by the mission and love engaging the curiosity of our visitors and partners. My role is to lead the charity in line with our manifesto pledges, goals and values. I feel incredibly privileged to be part of We The Curious, having been on this journey every step of the way, and am very excited to see what the future holds.
I love being part of something where I feel like we’re making a real difference to the world. I believe that science has never been more important than it is now and am grateful that my job allows me to be a part of that.
Chris Sims has been a Trustee since 2014, and was between Chair between April 2016 and September 2021. He is keen that We The Curious has a dynamic and challenging ethos, one that inspires all stakeholders – visitors, staff, and Trustees - and the wider audience.
A qualified Chartered Accountant, Chris worked for 20 years in the Bristol area, firstly as Finance Director of Bakers Dolphin Travel, and subsequently of Brandon Hire PLC. He was a governor of John Cabot Academy for many years and served as Finance Director of Bristol Cathedral Choir School, and of City Academy, Bristol.
Semi-retired, Chris co-owns a café and bed & breakfast business, and is an active shareholder and employee of Edge Equipment Hire Ltd.
David May is a Professor and Head of the Computer Science department at the University of Bristol. He worked for 16 years in the microelectronics industry and is well known for his work on innovative microprocessors including the Inmos transputer.
He is the author of over 100 papers and patents and has given numerous conference presentations. In 1990, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his contributions to computer architecture and parallel computing. His current research interests are in microprocessor architecture system design and verification; mobile, wearable and pervasive computing.
David is also on the Technical Advisory Board of several recent microelectronics design companies.
David Sproxton is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman. Together with co-founder Peter Lord, he has overseen the development of the company from a two-man partnership to one of the pre-eminent animation houses in the industry. Their first professional creation was the character ‘Morph’.
David Sproxton spent 3 years on the Board of the UK Film Council and is on the board of Encounters Festival (Bristol’s celebration of Short film).
David’s most recent film credits are as Executive Producer on Aardman’s recent hit films Nick Park’s animated comedy adventure ‘Early Man’ and ‘A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon’.
Henry has enjoyed a varied career in construction, property and engineering. Initially as a surveyor and working for consultants and contractors in UK and abroad. Latterly, as board director for Hydrock, a national engineering consultancy.
Henry chose to leave full time corporate life at the end of 2019. He now holds a portfolio of roles including; non-exec director of Bristol Together, a social enterprise whose purpose is reintegrating ex-offenders into society through stable employment in property development. He is a parent governor at his children’s school in South Bristol. He retains a part time non-exec involvement with Hydrock, primarily focused on Smart Energy and sustainability.
He is a keen advocate of social science, particularly organisational psychology, and the role it plays in defining culture and community. Henry is also a passionate champion of social value, particularly achieving impact through combining private sector with third sector organisations to leverage shared values.
Professor Kathreena Kurian is Professor of Neuropathology / Honorary Consultant Neuropathologist at the University of Bristol Medical School & North Bristol Trust. She is passionate about improving diverse participation in science with We the Curious. Her research aims are to identify modifiable risk factors, personalise diagnosis and find new drug targets for brain tumours.
She was born and brought up in London, she undertook medical training in Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School, London where she also achieved a BSc in Experimental Pathology. She undertook higher pathology and neuropathology clinical (FRCPath Neuro) and research training including an MD (Medical Faculty Research Fellowship) in Edinburgh and Cambridge.
She has lived and worked in London, Edinburgh and Cambridge. She now lives in Bristol with her husband and two daughters and they love visiting We the Curious.
She sits on the National Cancer Research Institute, Brain Tumour Group, Cancer Research UK panels, Editorial Board Journal of Pathology, BRAIN UK and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists.
My name is Lara, I am 2nd year Chemistry LGBT+ postgraduate student in Bristol who is passionate about improving the lives of BAME people around the city. Since being chosen as the student representative on the BristolBME100 Power List in 2018, I have continued my work in improving the BAME diversity and inclusion within my university. This includes organising the Being BME in STEM conference, the first of its kind, which heavily focused on the leaky pipeline and retention of BAME staff/students within higher education. Numerous diversity initiatives have subsequently stemmed carrying on the message for change. Following on from this, I recognised change must start from the top down as well as bottom up, therefore I co-organised and conducted a well-received Decolonising Science Workshop for chemistry and physics university educators.
Currently, I work with Kiki, We The Curious, the British Antarctic Survey and various other organisations to bring about positive change for people of colour from all walks of life and to build a better future for minority groups within Bristol and beyond.
Nick Jones has been a Trustee since 2009 and has been Chair since September 2021. He has been involved in education for over forty years, eventually as a headteacher in the West Country and London. He was described recently as a ‘radical educationalist’ having led a number of innovative projects including founding one of the innovative City Technology Colleges. He was also Head teacher of the first state funded academy in the England to be sponsored by an overseas organisation.
More recently as an educational consultant he has worked with teachers, headteachers and governments in the UK and overseas. He has been involved in the education systems in Sweden, Finland, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, to name but a few.
He was Senior Education Advisor for a national science and technology school’s programme and is Chair of Trustees for the The Bath and Mendip Partnership Trust. He is also heavily involved in supporting young people on the autistic spectrum, especially with projects that allow autistic young people to live independently in the community. At ‘We The Curious’ he also contributes to the work of the Programme Strategy Committee.
Ross Fairley is a lawyer with the Bristol law firm Burges Salmon who heads up the Renewable Energy Team. He specialises in environmental and clean energy projects. He has previously been a Council Member of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and sat on the Governments Innovation and Growth Team for the Environmental Goods and Services Sector.
Ross has worked on some of the most innovative clean energy projects in the UK including the largest tidal stream project, offshore wind projects and a Cornish geothermal project as well as a number of ground-breaking community energy schemes. He is passionate about energy and renewables.
Ross is married with 3 daughters and lives in Blagdon, North Somerset. He is a keen amateur artist.
Simon Cooper is Global Communications Lead for the United Nations Development Programme Green Commodities Programme, which works with commodity producing nations to combat deforestation.
Simon has led strategy work at international sustainability organizations such as the Alliance for Water Stewardship, Better Cotton Initiative, ISEAL Alliance, Textile Exchange, Pesticide Action Network UK, Cotton Made in Africa and the Social and Labour Convergence Project.
Simon previously spent 25 years as a broadcaster before becoming Communications Director at Classic FM. With a first degree in Geography from Cambridge University, he graduated in 2005 with an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice at the University of Bath.
Su McNab is a Chartered Accountant with extensive leadership experience in the charities and public sectors, including education and the NHS. She is currently Director of Corporate Services at UK homelessness charity Crisis, where she is responsible for finance, data and technology, estates and governance. She has previously held leadership roles at the national sustainable transport charity Sustrans, at NHS Wiltshire CCG and at Cabot Learning Federation, a Bristol-based academy group.
Su has worked with a number of Charity boards, in executive roles, as a trustee, and in various pro bono and advisory roles. She is a non-executive director at the University of Bath, and is a volunteer with Woodcraft Folk. She is passionate about learning for all ages, and seeks to a positive impact on how and where we live and learn through volunteering and her work.
Su has two inquisitive and imaginative daughters who are huge fans of We The Curious, and are very proud of her being a trustee.
Tom Betts is Group Data Director at European retail conglomerate Kingfisher Plc. He is responsible for how all parts of the group use data science and artificial intelligence to support quality, growth and efficiency.
Tom has previously worked in a range of roles and sectors. He helped lead the digital transformation of the Financial Times where he held the role of Chief Data Officer and board member. He has also worked as VP Analytics for Pearson Plc where he built global data analytics capabilities to support education and learning outcomes. Earlier in his career he worked on data mining projects while consulting for clients in telecoms, financial services and government. Tom holds 2 degrees in artificial intelligence.
Tom is the Product Strategy Director for Jaguar Land Rover. Prior to that Tom lead strategy at Dyson for 6 years. An experienced senior executive with a track record of developing corporate and product strategy and making it a reality. He has created new businesses, launched new products and driven change and growth across different industries including automotive, consumer technology, sports, financial services, hospitality, retail and gaming.
Tom has a real passion for innovation, technology and sustainability.
Fabian Breckels is the Labour and Co-operative Party Councillor for St George Troopers Hill. He has represented this ward since 2016 and represented the old ward of St George East from 2007 to 2016. He is committed to his ward and has considerable experience in planning committees and was quoted in the media when he supported We The Curious’ application for the Arc, against officer advice, ensuring it received the planning permission it deserved.
Originally from Essex, Fabian graduated in 1989 from Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University) with a BA (Hons.) in the History of Modern Art, Design and Film. Fabian moved to Bristol in 1990 and has remained here ever since. A Civil Servant by trade, he has a long term partner, is on the PCC and is a Deanery Synod representative for his church, and is a life member of the Cinema Theatre Association.
Fabian joins the We The Curious board in 2021 and is looking forward to helping to develop new ideas for exhibitions, especially regarding how we move to a sustainable future.