Hedley Swain started his career in archaeology working in the field, as a finds specialist, in editing and management in the North East of England and then in London. He has published widely and for many years taught archaeology on a part-time basis at various universities. He was heavily involved in the development of the UK Institute of Field Archaeologists.
In 1998 he became head of the early London department at the Museum of London leading on a number of important exhibitions and gallery refurbishments and creating the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre. He became a leading expert in the archiving, storage and research of archaeological excavation collections. He also became an expert in the care and ethics of human remains in museums. In both cases he was responsible for major reports for the UK government.
In 2007 he took up a strategic post at the Museum Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) as head of museum policy. He became part of the executive leadership team of MLA and was then responsible for transferring MLAs museum responsibilities to Arts Council England. He then took on responsibilities for all Arts Council activities across the South East of England and becoming part of Arts Council's senior management team. Although now responsible for a wide portfolio of arts activity including theatre, music, dance and visual arts he has continued to be actively involved across the museums and archaeology. He is the meetings secretary of the Royal Archaeological Society.
- Human remains
- Museum archaeology
- Arts and cultural policy
- Early London
Hedley Swain contributes to Institute graduate teaching on public archaeology, museum management and the study of artefacts.