Our Team


The Involve Heritage team are young, vibrant and deeply passionate about what we do. We have a real commitment to the community and ensure all our work directly benefits local people.

Between us, we have over forty years experience of working within the community, and have a proven track record in undertaking successful projects in Community Engagement & Involvement, archaeology, local history, arts & media and community education & training.




Matt Beresford


Matt is an experienced archaeologist who specialises in working with the community. He has extensive knowledge and a proven track record within both field archaeology and community archaeology, and also teaches archaeology and local history within Adult Education and Family Learning. He runs MBArchaeology, who specialise in Community Archaeology, Education & Research, and currently undertake locally-based archaeology projects with community groups throughout Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, and an Affiliate Member of both the Council for British Archaeology and the Institute for Learning. He undertook both his degrees – BA(hons) and MA –  at the University of Nottingham, and is currently carrying out Doctoral Research through the University of Hertfordshire.

Matt is passionate about involving people of all ages and backgrounds in their local heritage, and helping them to gain the necessary skills to become active in local projects. He has led successful projects in Community Involvement & Engagement on behalf of Lincoln University, WEA East Midlands and Bright Ideas Nottingham, and has led adult education courses and family learning activities for Derbyshire County Council, Creswell Crags, Workers Educational Association and Bolsover District Council.

He also led the highly successful HLF-funded community archaeology project Burgage Earthworks at Southwell, Nottinghamshire, and the award-winning Limestone Journeys Community Archaeology project (Best Volunteer Project in District of Bolsover 2011 & 2013). He is currently Project Director for the HLF-funded Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Medieval Graffiti Survey and Kelham Revealed! projects.

His main interests include successfully engaging local communities, and the provision of education, training and support, both with a direct link to local heritage and archaeology. He has worked as a Committee member for the Southwell Community Archaeology Group and the Limestone Community Archaeology Group, and has written several books, journal and magazine articles, and his work has featured in National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, Der Speigel, The Independent, BBC History Magazine and British Archaeology.





Helen Bates


Helen is a local historian and researcher with extensive experience in working with local communities and organisations. She has a proven track record of running successful community-based projects in the local region.

She undertook a BA (hons) in Drama & Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway, before completing the MA in Local & Regional History at the Univeristy of Nottingham. She is currently undertaking Doctoral Research through the University of Leicester.

She has worked on several successful projects within the East Midlands, including the Hyson Green Flats project, which was short-listed for the National Lottery Awards in 2012, Take Part, a regional project for Community Engagement and Active Citizenship, and the Derbyshire Lives through the World Wars project.

More recently, she was Content Researcher on the Lincoln Castle Revealed project where she researched the history of the Castle Prison and the stories of people connected to the site. She currently works on the HLF-funded Slave Trade Legacies project, which reached the final of the National Lottery Awards in 2016.

Helen’s main passion is finding new ways to widen community participation in the Heritage Sector and promoting the theme that history is for everyone. Her research interests include the First and Second World Wars, and landscape change and enclosure, all with an emphasis on the local region.





David Astbury


David worked as a professional musician for over ten years before embarking on an undergraduate degree in History and Archaeology at Newcastle University, for which he gained first-class honours. He then undertook further professional development through the CBA’s Community Archaeology Bursary scheme, working alongside Tyne & Wear Archaeology, before completing his Masters Degree. He is about to embark on Doctoral Research on the Medieval Village Settlements of Northumbria, again through the University of Newcastle.

He has worked on a number of community archaeology projects including the award-winning Solving a Derbyshire Mystery project at the Iron-Age Hillfort of Fin Cop in Derbyshire, and the Limestone Journeys Community Archaeology project.

He also has a sound knowledge and experience in surveying techniques, such as geophysics (magnetometry & resistivity), topographic surveying and Geographic Information Software (GIS), and is currently exploring ways to integrate this into community-based field research.

David is an open-minded archaeologist who sees the value of respecting the material culture and heritage of all phases of the past. His main interests lie in the development of medieval settlements and how case studies of these can help us learn more about modern village layouts. He has recently been working with the local community to explore Elmton in Derbyshire, and compare this to his research at West Backworth in Northumbria.

He is an active committee member of the Northumberland Archaeological Group, based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and believes that opening up archaeology and history to the community brings huge benefits to all concerned; after all, it’s everyone’s past.




Holly O’Meara



Holly is a socially engaged artist from Birmingham who has worked on several community heritage projects within the Midlands, predominately as a filmmaker but also a photographer and printmaker. She undertook a BA (hons) in Contemporary Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University.

She conducted her own oral history project within the village of Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast, getting to know the residents and recording their stories. She also worked alongside Helen on the Hyson Green Flats project and found that residents there had felt similar emotions to the people of Happisburgh in the crumbling of their communities, as their homes were put at risk.

Over the last couple of years she has been working with Friction Arts, in Digbeth, on their ongoing community project Echoes and also running a free Art Club for 8-16 year olds from around Birmingham.

Holly’s passion is working with others, whether it is communities, other artists, historians or children, and working together to create an artistic representation of their stories.

Most recently, she has been working with local poet Bob Cooper to create a film to compliment his poems about living in Birmingham, which will be exhibited this summer.




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