Career pathways

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Sandy Nairne: Well I hope there are lots of ways we can attract young people to think about working in museums and galleries whether it’s on the curatorial or the interpretive or the learning side or frankly if it’s on the technical – I mean, there’s any amount of work in framing and preparation, all the background skills and professional work that has to go into it. I mean for us it’s about attracting talent. It’s about how can we get the most talented people to think about the museums and galleries sector as what we think it is, which is a great place to work, so we hope they will follow on.
Neil Wressel: There’s all sorts of jobs in museums that suit all sorts of people. A curator if you want to write a lot of text if you want to think that you’re delivering a new story then that’s a fantastic way to go. If you actually want to get your hands on the objects and look after the objects and understand them then conservation is fantastic. If you what to deal with the audience then education. There’s all sorts of ways forward and getting that experience in a museum as a volunteer just gives you an idea of what might suit your character.
Mark Tosdevin: I think the most important thing is, try to get some experience, test it out. If you can get some experience working in a museum that will stand you in good stead.
Ian Gardner: Be motivated, get encouragement from wherever you can from whoever you can, get work experience, put yourself out of your comfort zone to get out there and meet people, you know. Work hard is my top tip.
Jude Simmons: If you’re really serious about moving into this field you need to use your spare time to visit museums and galleries and really build up a knowledge of what’s out there and places that are available.
Sheila Fellowes: Keep going and looking at things. You’ll find something you like. There are plenty of galleries. You could go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for example. I mean most of that is outdoors. You don’t even have to be indoors to look at things. Every town’s got something to look at.
Karl Lydon: If people wanted to get into this area of work I think the best thing is to find out where there are galleries that need help, for example, and just make yourself available.
Jude Simmons: Open your mind to culture in general, art, music, literature, exhibitions, the art world.
David McNeff: Clearly for this sort of institution you need to have an interest in art or history. You need to have a commitment to public service, this kind of old fashioned notion that you’re not going to paid shed loads in this sort of job but it’s actually very valuable for society as a whole, for the UK as a whole, for the world as a whole – it’s about education.
Joanna Russel: You don’t necessarily just have to follow in one path. I’ve come in from a drama background into a more arty field where I can make those links through drama and art and history – to look upon the wider field rather than on just one place.
Shamailla Rashid: I would say the key thing is to have passion and enthusiasm for which ever area you decide to go into. And sometimes it’s not about having the qualification as such, but if you can get involved in taking up work experience, even doing an internship etcetera to get the experience, that will hopefully help you in your way.
Karl Lydon: The main thing is experience. That’s what we look for when we want new members in the team, someone who’s had experience, possibly a bit different from ours so they can bring that to the team, and so as a whole we can grow.
Tarnya Cooper: If you’re passionate about something and you believe in yourself you should definitely go for it because it is a very very rewarding career. It’s an opportunity for you to share you knowledge about something with other people. So, perseverance is the key thing.
Paul Moorhouse: The biggest bit of advice I would give is don’t be in a hurry. A lot of young budding curators I see, they want to get on to the next level, to become more senior, want to take on responsibility for all of that, and sometimes I look and think, you can slow down – what you’re doing now is interesting and you can learn a great deal.
Louisa Briggs: If you have a real passion to be involved then just go for it. Just go along to your local museum and see if there are ways, if they have a youth forum that you can get involved in, or if you can volunteer with them. But if it’s something that you really want to do then just go for it.
Tim Craven: I mean, don’t be put off. I had some careers advice and they said ‘Don’t go into the arts for goodness sake’ and luckily I ignored that. If you’re good and you’re singular minded and you know where you want to get to you can make it. You can make it.
Laura Langridge: My big top tip is to do as much as you can for nothing. Get you name known, get your face known, and then you’ll get jobs that way. Because the more experience you’ve got the better, whether that’s been paid or not.
Sarah Tinsley: I think if young people what to get involved in exhibitions and museum and gallery work they could start by trying to look at their school or college to see if they have any spaces there that they could make suggestions about. They could also look to their local museum, gallery or library or any kind of gallery space and not be afraid to think about what they would like to see in that space.
Jo Cunningham: Visit loads of museums and see what other people are doing. Work in museums, be a volunteer. Offer your services because it’s a great way to getting involved. Take risks, have ideas, present ideas, be creative, because we really appreciate new blood coming into the profession.
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There are many different careers involved in museums and galleries and at least as many different routes to working in these roles. Hear about how employees from the partner museums and galleries have come to work in their positions, what their roles involve and about the skills that they need. You will also see that many of the skills involved are transferable skills that would be useful in other creative industries. Where could your talent take you?