An experienced cultural service manager and one of the most significant museum leaders in the UK, Jilly Burns is the Head of International and National Partnerships at National Museums Scotland.
With National Museums Scotland for 15 years, Burns specialises in the negotiation and delivery of programmes and partnerships between international, national and localised cultural organisations. As such her role requires her to be a diplomat, to broker deals and to negotiate and manage strategic partnerships to benefit not only the national museum but also all local and regional museums in the country.
Driven by trying to make museums work together, not just on a collections basis but also in practical and educational terms, Burn’s influence has been especially important this year, as Covid has ravaged the museum sector. She has worked to tirelessly support Scottish museums during the crisis. A dynamic advocate, she has brought experts and agencies together to deliver advice and support.
Because of her work, Scottish museums and museum professionals have been able to hear the latest news about Covid and how it will impact museums, learn how to protect their collections, and got guidance about the steps they need to take.
As one nomination detailed, her “relentless, positive attitude combined with her very deep knowledge of museums, makes her a leader now, a clear influencer across many many different types of museum and an all round awesome and brilliant woman to work with. Her commitment has touched every museum in Scotland, large or small, and helped them to face the future with increased resilience.”