Catherine emigrated with her family from the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts to the UK in November 1958, when she was aged seven years old.
Catherine began her new life in the UK in Nottingham, where she was educated and obtained her teaching qualification from City and Guilds at a Nottingham College.
Realising her passion for working with people, Catherine began her career as a lecturer teaching English, Book-keeping and Accounting at various higher education colleges across Nottingham between 1978-1986. After this, Catherine worked for the National Council for Voluntary Services, where she was tasked with developing training programmes for young people, Directors of training policy and CEOs. She has also held roles at the Scout Association, where she was responsible for promoting scouting as a form of leisure, but also as a learning opportunity to young people and adults from different ethnic communities. Catherine has held positions at the British Red Cross, where she was responsible for assessing and streamlining the regional infrastructure of the national organisation.
Inspired by her experiences thus far, Catherine wrote two books – the first which describes how to access funding for voluntary youth work, written in 1987 and the second, Equal Opportunities: Considerations for Trainers in the Youth Service, both books were published by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services in 1990.
Yearning to go back to teaching, Catherine began working at various secondary schools across Nottingham as an English teacher in 1997. Her teaching career, which lasted a decade, inspired Catherine to start her first business, a home tuition service which she began in 2007 and ran until 2011 when she decided to retire.
Throughout her time in the UK, Catherine had noticed that the contribution of Caribbean people to the UK was not recorded, celebrated, nor commemorated in the museums she had visited. As a young girl who had never previously seen or experienced snow (which changed within the first few months of living in the UK!), Catherine had always enjoyed talking with others who had also emigrated from the Caribbean to the UK, sharing stories and experiences. It was these conversations that made Catherine realise these precious snippets of oral history needed to be preserved and shared with all communities in Nottingham and the wider UK.
Encouraged by the success of her home tuition business, and wanting to change the under-representation of Caribbean heritage in the UK, Catherine decided to go back into education, but this time as a student herself at Nottingham Trent University. She completed an MA in Museum Management in 2014 and set up the SKN Heritage Museum with her daughter Lynda-Louise Burrell in February 2015. SKN Heritage Museum, which re-branded to Museumand (National Caribbean Heritage Museum) in 2016, is the first museum in the UK to celebrate Caribbean heritage, culture and social history. As a museum ‘without walls’, Museumand aims to connect with communities across the UK through pop-up exhibitions, art, music, performance and food.
Although Museumand is a relatively new entity, Catherine & Lynda have already organised six successful pop-up exhibitions across Nottingham, London and Liverpool.