strategic support

Learning Unlimited helps organisations plan strategically with audiences in mind. Good policies need to be underwritten by clear vision. To work, they need well-structured strategies and achievable action plans that are built on a realistic view of the resources and capacities available.

With a proven track-record of advisory work, facilitation, business planning and policy creation we can work with your organisation to create funding bids, plan for organisational sustainability, develop audiences or connect with your communities.

strategic support projects

HLF - Associate Monitor and Mentor for Activity Planning

Jo is an HLF Associate Monitor and Mentor for learning, participation and audiences. Her projects have included: Ballet Rambert, Battersea Art Centre, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Great Dixter, Hastings Pier, Imperial War Museum, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, The National Theatre, Quarr Abbey, Stowe House, Upminster Chapel and The V&A Museum.

Jo is also an Expert Advisor for audiences and learning.

2009 - present

Making a Mark partnership - Learning Advisor

Jo is the Learning Advisor for Making a Mark: a regional-national partnership between Tees Valley museums and the National Portrait Gallery. Part of the DFE/ACE funded Museums and Schools programme, Making a Mark seeks to deepen relationships between museums and their local schools. Jo’s role is to advise on best practice development of the programme, facilitate a strategic approach to promotion and advocacy, and identify opportunities for strategic collaboration.

2012 to present

St George’s Hall, Bradford – Activity Plan

Jo supported St George’s Hall in their successful bid for HLF funding to restore and refurbish the building. Jo helped in developing ideas for the Activity Plan, coordinating the consultation and writing the Plan. She also input to the interpretation planning.


Volks Electric Railway – Activity Plan

Jo worked with Nicky Boyd to research and write the VER Activity Plan which was part of VER’s successful bid for second round funding from the HLF. The work included developing strategic outcomes and a route map for transformational change as well as audience mapping, conducting visitor and non-visitor consultation and creating programme ideas for schools, families and local adults.

2014 - 2015

Crawley Museum – Activity Plan

Jo provided support for the team at Crawley Museum in their successful bid for HLF funding for the new Museum. Jo helped in ideas development for, and writing of, the Activity Plan and then provided further planning support in the early Delivery Stage of the project.

2013, 2015

English Heritage – Activity Plan for Swiss Cottage, Osborne House

Jo worked with Nicky Boyd to write the Swiss Cottage Activity Plan described as “exemplary” by HLF in granting the second round funding. The work included conducting visitor and non-visitor consultation, developing strategic outcomes and creating ideas for interpretation and programmes for both school and family audiences.


Canterbury Museums Service – Strategic vision

Jo worked with Cultural Services to help establish a Strategic Heritage Partnership with key local stakeholders and to ensure their input into the Museums Service vision. She then ran creative workshops with the Museums team to develop a vision and set of outcomes to support their strategic review work.

"Jo has worked with us on developing our large HLF capital project, from application to development stages, and has become a trusted and knowledgeable critical friend on a variety of topics for the service over the last decade."

Cultural Policy Advisor
Canterbury City Council


English Heritage – Activity Plan for Kenwood House

Jo worked with Nicky Boyd to produce Kenwood House's Activity Plan as a key part of the successful second round bid to HLF. The work included conducting visitor and non-visitor consultation, developing a strategic model for community engagement and a set of strategic outcomes as well as writing the Activity Plan in accordance with HLF guidance.


South West Museums Hub - Learning Advisor

Jo provided strategic support in Business Planning and cross-Hub working for the Hub Learning Team. The role entailed horizon scanning to inform planning, facilitating meetings, coordinating joint projects and supporting the evaluation of collaborative work.

2004 - 2011

National Gallery – Under 5s strategy

Jo helped the Gallery establish a vision, strategic objectives, top level outcomes and guiding principles for the Under 5s programme. In addition to a clear sense of direction for the programme the project created a shared team language for planning and evaluation and highlighted the potential for new approaches.

“It has been an absolute joy working with you!”

Family Officer


Islington Heritage Services – Audience Development Plan

Jo worked closely with the Heritage Services manager and team to produce an ADP that enabled the service to take a strategic approach to its highly successful community engagement work, tying it securely into the Borough’s Cultural Services Strategy.

“I have to say that it's been a very positive and uplifting experience working with you. You have managed to take our chaotic planning and given it a clear, concise framework from which to move forward. You work in a collaborative and supportive way, and understand the wider context within which we have to work.”

Heritage Services Manager


Oxford Museums – Traineeship Plan for Museum Learning

Oxford Museums Partnership –Traineeship Plan for Museum Learning
Working with a partnership of museums in Oxford who had successfully bid for HLF funding to initiate the UK’s first traineeship programme for museums educators, Jo wrote the Training Plan and “curriculum” for the trainees. The comprehensive plan needed to cover recruitment, coordination, monitoring and supervision, placement structures, National Occupational Standards and assessment.

“Jo brought with her a wealth of experience and a knowledge of the sector that far exceeded our expectations. As a result the plan we have is more informed, more realistic and much more inspirational than if we had produced it internally. The experience was also really enjoyable".



Renaissance South East - SLIME Forward Plan

Following from evaluating the Science Links in Museum Education regional network, Jo was asked to support the creation of a strategic plan. Building on recommendations in the evaluation report, the forward plan provides a route map for the long term sustainability of this well-regarded professional network.


National Portrait Gallery - Family Strategy

Supporting the NPG team to develop their Family Strategy as an intensive piece of audience development. The project included developing a framework for learning at the Gallery, assessing current provision for families, developing a planning framework and developing the principles for self-led family learning experiences.


Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum - Forward Plan

Working closely with the management team Jo created a Forward Plan that provided a route for the sustainable development of the learning service. This included an assessment of the current service (including benchmarking against ILFA), an options paper on service models, a service pricing structure and a Learning Policy. The focus of this project was to provide recommended ways to maximise partnership delivery, particularly within the Local Authority context.

"I'm delighted with the results of all your hard work. It really has mapped out the direction of travel for learning at Russell-Cotes and is exactly what we need at this stage. A HUGE 'thank you' for all that you have done for us."

Heritage Manager


West Berkshire Museum – Audience Development Plan

Working with Nicky Boyd, Jo created an Audience Development Plan focused on targeting sustainable audiences and embedding the re-development of the Museum into Local Authority priorities and plans. Stakeholder and community consultation with potential partners provided promising avenues for collaborative working. The structure of the narrative and action planning sections provided easy read across to activity planning.


Kent Museum of Freemasonry – Interpretation Strategy

As part of an HLF funding bid for re-development, this small volunteer run museum needed support to consider their interpretation. The final strategy included:

• a clear and concise mapping of the Museum’s exhibition content, offering an audience friendly way of displaying the collections
• good practice guidance on the development and use of gallery text
• practical ideas for hands on activities
• a strategy for live interpretation
• recommendations for the development of programmes highlighting opportunities for the involvement of a wider pool of volunteers

"Congratulations on creating such a useful document which I have nothing to add to or alter. I think you have provided a really useful document which will certainly guide the production of the new displays and give some ideas for the essential training of the volunteer staff."

Museums & Heritage Development Manager


NESTA – Creating communication friendly museums

Jo was the mentor for this project led by The Potteries Museum in Stoke. Working closely with the Project Leader, she helped to structure project and consultant briefs, facilitated creative sessions with staff, offered best practice guidance and helped structure the final project publication.