Written by Cal Brindley
Last month I attended the Museums and Galleries Industry panel at Goldsmiths. Amongst the speakers were:
Tim Corum, Director, Curatorial and Public Engagement, Horniman
Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, Royal Collection Trust
Katherine Moulds, Assistant Collections and Loans Registrar at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Students attending heard each of the speakers discuss their current roles and the path they took to get there; they were then able to chat with them informally over refreshments afterwards.
Some of the key themes that kept coming up over and over again were:
- Be flexible: being able to move around different organisations as well as to different parts of the country will enable you to try out a variety of roles to find out what area suits you
- Have an understanding of the role and organisation: do your research!
- Importance of varied work experience: never underestimate the value of temping jobs which enable you to develop a wide variety of skills
- Network: keeping in contact with people is a great way to stay up-to-date with the business and the industry as a whole. If they can't offer you anything at the moment, is there anyone else they could recommend you speak to?
Skills and traits that are especially valuable are:
- organisational skills
- a desire for public service/community focus
- multi-tasking; and
- having a “can do” attitude - you may be asked to step in to another role - don’t worry about your lack of experience, if you show enthusiasm, you never know where this will lead.
Our speakers said it can be hard to get into the public sector without an MA although it’s certainly not impossible.
There were a couple of interesting points that cropped up in the Q&A afterwards:
Does a focus on contemporary and Modern art make a difference to employment opportunities in the sector?
A: While it is important to have a good grounding in more traditional areas, it is not necessarily a disadvantage. There is a deep interest in practice, as well as theory, and contemporary knowledge is valued. It is beneficial to have specialist knowledge, however it is also important to be willing to get to know more about a range of fields.
How should you approach getting a job at the end of your internship?
A: Be direct, it is important to let the place that you have been working know that you are interested in staying. Maintain contact and stay on good terms with your employers. Even if they don’t have a job available at that point they may later. If you are on good terms with the employer you could also ask for a recommendation, which could help you find another role.
Search for roles in this sector here: http://bit.ly/1Id1Lyd
Museums Associations website http://www.museumsassociation.org/home
Search CareersTagged for further careers resources for the heritage sector
Careers in the creative sectors carry their own set of challenges. As many a struggling creative will tell you, there can be a trade-off between pursuing what you are passionate about, and securing a reliable income stream that will grow incrementally. This post is a brief case study of somebody who definitely prioritized ‘passion’ over ‘security’, and how they have made it work for them (so far!).
Topics: creative industries
Violeta Todorova graduated from King's with a degree in Film Studies in Summer 2014. Eight months on, she talks to us about her graduate role of Digital Executive at advertising agency and 'Human Experience' company Starcom MediaVest Group.
Topics: creative industries
Love books? So do we. But it takes more than a well-used Kindle, a penchant for correcting misplaced apostrophes and an eye for spotting the next Minituarist / Goldfinch / [insert must-read book here] to succeed in publishing. And it's not all about editorial - publishing is a multi-million pound juggernaut of an industry that brings together people from all business areas. From rights and licensing to operations and publicity, there are dozens of roles that make use of a variety of skillsets and expertise.
Topics: creative industries
We've a bit of an exotic, international flavour to our jobs this week. Whether you're interested in changing the world, studying the world or just working in a beautiful part of the world there's something for you amongst our 3,027 vacancies on JobOnline.
Here are our picks for this week:
- Personal Assistant to the Charge D'Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Haiti,
- Production Specialist – Blueberry, Driscoll's,
- Project Assistant, Isles of Scilly, RSPB,
- Internship: Creative Producer, Disney Channels, Disney,
- Graduate Internship - Learning and Participation (Music), Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance,
- Design Engineer - Postgraduate Placement, RNLI,
- Postdoctoral Researcher in Rock Physics, National Oceanography Centre,
- Graduate /Trainee Lecturer Scheme, Newham College,
- Operations Graduate Programme, Warburtons Ltd,
- Education Co-ordinator, River & Rowing Museum,
- Digital Internship – Vogue, Condé Nast,
- Researcher on Children's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, Human Rights Watch,
Thousands more jobs can be found on JobOnline.
Paul Kilbey, Editorial Assistant at the Royal Opera House, shares his experiences in Arts publishing.
How did you get into your role?
I've wanted to work in publishing for a long time. I studied music at university but was always more interested in writing about it than performing or composing, so I gravitated towards jobs where I used language. After a while teaching English as a Foreign Language abroad, I moved to London and was lucky to be able to do a couple of internships, building up my professional experience. There were then a few years working in and around classical music for startups, and I got my current job in the Royal Opera House's Publishing and Interpretation team a couple of months ago. I am also a freelance writer specializing in classical music; I write for a few magazines.
Over the last few years I have written a lot of articles for a number of predominantly online publications. This has been really important for developing my writing skills, although it hasn't always been the same as a conventional grounding in journalism or publishing - it has all been fairly off the cuff, and online is totally different from print, both in terms of how it works and also the standard expected. All the writing made me well qualified for my current role - I'm an Editorial Assistant - but I still have plenty to learn.
What do you do day to day?
It's very varied, and the workload changes depending on what projects are coming up. There is always work to do preparing for future productions, although of course it gets busier in the immediate run-up to a show. I have work to do in a number of areas including writing, proofreading, liaising with advertising clients and also working with publishing software.
What are the best things about working in your role?
My colleagues are very nice, and it's an exciting place to work, with the rehearsals and performances happening all around us backstage. And after a few years with very small companies, I am still hugely enjoying the perks of working for a major employer - cafeteria, IT support, payroll department, etc. Most of all, the job is an ideal mixture of my interests - classical music and publishing. I'm lucky to be able to work in both at the same time.
What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?
Firstly, it's worth remembering that any sort of office experience is good. Employers want to know that you can be trusted to correspond with people in a professional manner. I had done very little office work on graduation, and this probably set me back a bit.
As for writing online - there can be huge benefits to doing this, but only if you're serious and sensible about it, and aware of its limitations. Blogging can lead to all sorts of interesting things, and so can writing for the many websites out there that will take your content, publish it, and not pay you. But, unsurprisingly, doing this can also be very unrewarding, both financially and professionally. You shouldn't confuse success in these media with professional experience in journalism or publishing per se. My advice is that if you're considering writing for a blog or another website, it's crucial to remember the value of what you're doing. This means two things: firstly, that you know what you stand to gain from your writing, even if you're not being paid (are you gaining useful experience? Exposure? Nothing at all?); and secondly, that you only write things that you're confident are good enough to merit publication.
Contributed by Careers in the Creative Industries
Topics: creative industries
Blogging can be a great way to establish yourself in your field, whatever your creative pursuit. It can help you to develop your brand and can gain you an audience for your product/s.
Last Thursday, I attended ‘Blogging for Creatives’, a workshop organised by Southwark Arts Forum and led by blogger and published author, Emily Benet. Blogs have been crucial to Benet’s success as a professional writer. Her first blog was published in book form in 2009 as Shop Girl Diaries. Benet is now the author of three books. The Temp (her third book) is due out this year.
Below are some gems I gleaned from the event on how to write a successful blog:
Choose a niche subject, something that you are an ‘expert’ on and that will be of interest to other people (besides your Mum). This does not need to be something complicated or fancy. A cooking blog with a large readership, Joy the Baker, was started out of Joy’s obsession with cookies and cakes. Benet started her first blog because she was working full-time in her mother’s chandelier shop and therefore was an ‘expert’ on what it was like to talk to people who come into an unusual shop. As a writer, Benet used her niche subject to both entertain a readership and showcase her writing skills.
Be passionate about your subject. Take some time before embarking on the project to think about whether you really are interested enough in your subject to maintain your blog. Building a readership takes time and commitment, so make sure you are in it for the long haul!
Take blogging seriously. Blog regularly (at least once a week) and make sure that the quality of your blog posts is consistent. Do not write blog posts apologising for not having blogged for a while or for not having anything to blog about. You should blog well or not at all. While writing her first blog, Benet approached each blog post as though they were going to be published – and, while the internet is a form of publishing in itself, her posts were eventually collected in book form, so her hard work paid off.
Engage with your readers. One of the main benefits of having a blog is that you can interact with your audience. Make sure that you have an About page stating who you are, what your blog is about and how you can be contacted. Enable your Comments box and respond to your readers’ comments. Add social media widgets/gadgets to your blog posts (even if you are not a part of them), so that your readers can share your posts. Use social media channels yourself to continue to build your brand, engage with readers and other people in your field. Benet advises joining two social media channels and using them regularly and consistently. Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular social media channels (and remember to set up a separate Facebook page for professional use), but if your work is more visual, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr can be used to great effect.
Engage with your community. Be part of an online community of creative people in your field. Interact with other bloggers by commenting on their blog posts and adding their blog to your blog roll – they may well return the favour. Similarly, follow bloggers and successful people in your field on Twitter and engage with them through tweets. Their readers/followers may spot you on their blog roll or Twitter feed and be interested enough to check out your blog and/or follow you on Twitter.
A word of warning about social media: Do not exclusively use them to sell your product/s. People will soon get bored of those ‘Check out my blog/book/painting/exhibition’ messages. Intersperse these messages with more interesting information, such as comments about the work of other people in your field.
And finally, here are five top tips for writing a good blog post:
- A good title – to capture your readers’ interest.
- Clarity – Make sure that your blog post is easy to read both in terms of content (well-structured, well-edited) and lay-out (no complicated fonts and always remember to leave lots of space around your text).
- Consistency – Keep the quality of your blog posts consistent. And blog consistently!
- Concision – It’s a good idea to keep your blog post between 300 – 500 words, even less if you are including visual material.
- Visually appealing – It’s always great if you can include good quality images in your blog posts. If they are not your own images, always remember to credit the source.
So what are you waiting for? Get blogging!
Topics: creative industries