Working in the Arts Forum
By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 1 March 2018
Victoria Hogg – Co-Founder, Duck Duck Goose Improv
James Baskerville – Junior Specialist, Christie’s
Jo Knox – Learning Assistant, Royal Academy of Arts
Jenny Cooper – Freelance Arts Facilitator
Daniel Slater – Head of International Collection Exhibitions, Tate
Dr Marquard Smith – Programme Leader, MA Museums & Galleries in Education, Department of Culture, Communication & Media, UCL Institute of Education
Bryan Cooney – Director of: Exhibitor/Marketing/Brand/Sponsorship/Guests, MCM London Comic Con
The Working in the Arts Forum was held on the 14th November as part of the Museums and Cultural Heritage week. Seven speakers from various different roles in the Arts came to give students an overview of how they started out in their field of work, how their work has progressed and general helpful tips of how to get in to the industry.
The panellists discussed that it is advantageous to always make the most of all opportunities that you find come your way. The first job that you may find may be a volunteering role (an example) at a small local gallery once a week. Be flexible and open to the possibility of working a part time or internship job with a job that you find less interesting to pay the bills. This opportunity may lead in time to a full time position in an industry or employer that you are keen to work for. The panel also discussed that volunteering may prove problematic for students who financially are unable to volunteer full time to gain experience. Part time volunteering was suggested. It was also discussed that the first role found may not necessarily be a role that is a first choice, however it may get students in to the industry, gaining experience and meeting people who may in the future higher for roles that maybe of interest.
All of the panellists agreed that networking was a great way to expand opportunities, be it online or networking face to face. Opportunities may present themselves at the time or through a connection that students have made by building relationships. Using tools such as social media. Twitter was discussed as good way of keeping up to date with events within companies.
It was discussed that it is easy to become deflated, especially at the beginning as students may receive no responses to opportunities that they have applied for. Keeping up persistence and knowing that they may not be successful immediately in the beginning. Discussions were also given to knowing how crucial it is to know the sector. There is no excuse for not knowing this in 2017. The internet is a huge resource.
The panel discussed the need to be proactive. If students are not sure about how to apply, finding out by contacting the place of interest. When applying think about using any transferable skills that may have been accumulated already, such as any work or volunteering, even if you think it is not relevant to the job that you are applying for. Skills will have been built throughout university such as, leading on projects, teamwork and communication skills.
The panellists then discussed that some people are lucky, they know what they want to do. Many people are not sure. Learning is the key, learn what you like. If you are not sure what you like, try a variety of different options. Some of the panellists discussed that they did not know what they wanted to do after leaving university. It was discussed and advised that it is really advisable to think about what you are good at, what are your best skills? One panellist discussed that he had no plan when he left university and that he spent his first year of work doing everything for experience, working in galleries, internship, working manual labour.
Closing thoughts were be strategic, try to plan, pursue what you love. Finding out what you love and figuring out how to get money from it. Every job you do is a pathway, everything will help, be adaptable to situations. Thinking outside the box, thinking and talking about art and creative ideas even when you are not at work.