Malini Chakrabarty joined BEFS in 2024, bringing a wealth of diverse experience gained from previous roles with organisations such as the NHS, Glasgow Life, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), alongside her thriving career as a freelance designer.

Her comprehensive background spans public engagement, arts, human rights, media, and heritage. Malini’s educational journey exemplifies her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact, holding a postgraduate degree in Filmmaking and Media Arts from the University of Glasgow, specialising in Evidence in Public Policy from the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, and a postgraduate degree in Media Research from the University of Stirling.

In her role as a Changemaker for OSCH, a project by Glasgow Life Museums, Malini demonstrated her passion for anti-racism and inclusivity in heritage sectors. Currently serving as a Trustee for the Glasgow Media Access Center, she advocates for media accessibility and inclusivity in the arts.

Malini’s professional motivation lies in the transformative power of effective communication. As an advocate for communicating information through creativity and innovation, she believes in enhancing the information experience for all. Her commitment extends to improving web and digital experiences, with a focus on the blend of accessibility and aesthetics.

Beyond her professional commitments, Malini finds joy in exploring art galleries, museums, and the breathtaking natural landscapes of Scotland. Her enthusiasm for stargazing and astrophotography reflects a deep passion for the wonders of this planet and humanity. Rooted in a profound connection to Scotland’s built environment and rich heritage, Malini proudly considers this vibrant place her chosen home.

Email: malinic@befs.org.uk

 

 

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Jonna Meredith joined BEFS in 2023, having previously conducted research in academia and the private sector.

Jonna has a postgraduate research degree in sociolinguistics from The University of Edinburgh. Her research foci include micro and macro approaches to policy, national movements, and political theory.

Previously Jonna has worked with national and regional policy, social access, and sustainability in both the natural and built environment. She has experience in social media management, as well as synthesising and translating governmental policy for accessibility. She brings an interest and experience in Ethics, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EEDI) work to BEFS.

Jonna is interested in how policy can support increased participation in the heritage sector by minoritised communities, particularly those minoritised on the basis of geography, race and ethnicity, disability, and socio-economic status. She is motivated by questions of what heritage entails, who gets to define the term, and whose heritage is considered worth nurturing.

Email: jmeredith@befs.org.uk

 

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Ilona joined BEFS in 2021 as Company Secretary and Business Administrator.

Ilona has extensive experience of operations and business administration, having spent 17 years in London working in politics, media and finance. Since moving to Scotland in 2014 she has gained further experience, predominantly in the public and charitable sectors, including the University of the Highlands and Islands and the National Trust for Scotland. Ilona joined BEFS in 2021, and is also Company Secretary.

Ilona is also an Executive Assistant at a North Berwick-based business, focussing on gold and mineral exploration in Scotland, and teaches French in her spare time.

Email: imcallister@befs.org.uk

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Hazel Johnson joined BEFS in 2021, having previously worked at Historic Environment Scotland.

Hazel has extensive experience working in both the arts and in heritage. A longstanding interest in placemaking and traditional construction methods led her to a postgraduate degree in Architectural Conservation at the University of Edinburgh.

Previously Hazel has held various roles at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), across multiple directorates, and has worked collaboratively with stakeholders and the wider heritage and built environment sectors. Notable projects include the delivery of the Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS), and project managing the Our Place in Time, Built Heritage Investment, and Climate Groups.

Hazel’s main professional drivers lie in understanding what makes good places and thriving communities, specifically understanding and advocating for the role of heritage and culture, and how good policy can support and underpin this.

As a director and organiser of the Edinburgh arts festival Hidden Door, these professional interests are combined with her passion for the arts and community led initiatives.

Email: hjohnson@befs.org.uk

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Ailsa became BEFS Director in 2021, having joined BEFS as Policy & Strategy Manager in 2017. She previously managed the Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage project and worked for Museums Galleries Scotland.

Coming from a cultural-heritage project management background, running sector skills projects with a nationwide remit, Ailsa has wide-ranging experience with partnership working and stakeholder collaboration across the sector.
She has been responsible for complex work areas within BEFS such as responding to the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, Prioritisation work – informing the Sustainable Investment Toolkit on behalf of the OPiT Built Heritage Investment Group, and aiding understanding of sector responses to crisis through CHERF.

Taking an inclusive and collaborative approach, with a passion for increasing sector sustainability, Ailsa distils complexity across policy landscapes, and focuses sector responses strategically; continually working in partnership to make sure the sector is well represented, well understood, and evidencing delivery across national strategies and performance frameworks.

Ailsa has an M.Litt from St Andrews University in Art History where she focused on architectural history both classical and vernacular.

Ailsa is a Fellow of the RSA, and Chair of the Advisory Group for the Travelling Gallery.

Email: amacfarlane@befs.org.uk

 

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