Thinking about working in museums, cultural heritage or the arts?
By UCL Careers, on 3 November 2016
So you think you might be interested in working in museums, cultural heritage or the arts but aren’t quite sure where to start? You’re probably not alone. Whilst there are broadly four types of museums and galleries in the UK – national, regional and local, university and independent – these represent a vast array of collections, artefacts, objects, specimens and homes. From well-known and established collections to the history of anaesthesia it could seem a daunting task to know where to start.
In addition, unlike other sectors, there is no clear pathway for starting out your career, such as through a graduate scheme for example. Volunteering remains an important way to develop your interests and skills, though opportunities for paid work do exist. The good news is the sector requires people with diverse skills to thrive including education, programme, science, history, business, marketing, finance, and digital to name a few. And while funding cuts have meant that museums have to rethink the ways in which they operate, this also means that there can be lots of opportunity for those with creative ideas and an interest in innovating.
However, the sector remains competitive. Jobs in museums, galleries and libraries made up just 5% of jobs in the creative industries in the UK last year, a 6% increase since 2011 (Creative Industries: Focus on Employment June 2016). So being proactive, gaining valuable experience and making contacts is crucial.
London is an exceptional city in which to launch your career in this industry. With over 278 of the 2,500 museums in the UK located in London alone (Museums Association; Londonist) this city hosts a diversity of cultural places to work right on your doorstep. To help you explore the many options and opportunities for work in this sector, UCL Careers has organised a programme of panel events for Museums & Cultural Heritage Week beginning Monday 14 November: Museums Forum, Cultural Heritage Forum and Working in the Arts. A Museums & Heritage Volunteering Fair will also take place during the week.
Each panel event will feature expert speakers who will provide insight on the sector by sharing their own career journeys, their perspectives on what is currently driving the sector and what keeps them excited about this field. They will also offer valuable advice for those looking to get a foot in the door.
Kicking off the series is the Museums Forum featuring speakers from the Grant Museum, the Museum of London and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). Panellists for this event include:
Jack Ashby, Manager of the Grant Museum and former head of Learning and Access for all UCL Museums and Collections for a period over 2009 and 2010. Jack has interests in scientific communications and evolutionary biology.
Jackie Kiely, Curator in the Department of Archaeology Collections at the Museum of London. Jackie has published widely on Roman artefacts.
Danielle Thom, Assistant Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Danielle specialises in 18th century art and co-curated the exhibition A World of Fragile Parts a special project exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale running until 27 November.
The panel will also feature a current student who held a summer internship at the British Museum.
Register to attend this and the other events online via your ‘My UCL Careers’ account.
UCL Careers Museums & Cultural Heritage Week is part of the #UCLInspireMe series.
Other events in this series:
- Museums & Heritage Volunteering Fair, 15 November @ 17:00
- Cultural Heritage Forum, Tuesday 15 November @ 18:30
- Working in the Arts, Wednesday 16 November @ 17:30
Source: Walt Disney – Donald Duck – Modern Inventions (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSohVE6Zmjc)