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I AM LOOKING FORWARD IN WORKING IN uk AND STARTING RESEARCH IN PARALLEL IN IRONBRIDGE..DO YOU THINK THERE ARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOMEONE IN THE START OF THE RESEARCH?
I’m not familiar with the current job market around Ironbridge/Telford and Birmingham but you will be able to find out with a small amount of research online. If you are looking for specific employment opportunities connected to your course, I’d advise you to speak to the course administrator/Birmingham Uni website in the first place to see how to find out about relevant job opportunities. Depending on your skills and experience, it may be helpful to look for a volunteer opportunity at first.
Hi Alicia, How many people typically are in the program full time?
I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to this. Please contact the course administrator for information.
What is the best thing about the job you are doing now?
Variety – there is an immense amount of variety in my job. I’ve delivered projects from 100-10,000 sq m about the way that conflict and aviation have affected individuals and our world today. I’ve improved our visitor orientation and enhanced the look and feel of our learning spaces. I am currently leading a strategic project to redefine our public-offer role and remit.
People – museums are fantastic places for the variety of people you meet, work and connect with. I am fortunate to work with some really committed and talented people with immense knowledge and passion for IWM, for Duxford and for museums. The people whose stories we tell at IWM are both ordinary and extra-ordinary, but they rarely fail to inspire.
Place – the buildings and landscape that remain from Duxford’s period as an RAF and USAAF airfield, the buzz of the working airfield and its position in the big open countryside of Cambridgeshire create an infectious sense of place. You can’t help but feel privileged to be part of it.
How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
I started with part-time curatorial and visitor service roles at the River and Rowing Museum where I undertook my work placement, and these supported me whilst I completed my dissertation. I was fortunate to be offered a position as assistant curator and later curator responsible for the collections and displays associated with the River Thames. Working with a range of colleagues, contractors, volunteers and stakeholders, I researched, wrote, designed and built exhibitions, often on a tight budget. I also managed the volunteer team and led access improvements – both of which were areas that I had investigated during my course.
All of this established a sound understanding for the importance of being able to communicate, manage multiple processes and people and turn my hand to anything in a creative, educational and resourceful way.
I wanted something bigger to get my teeth into and applied to be Exhibitions Manager at Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford. In this role I was responsible for a team of people who researched, developed and maintained the displays. I managed exhibition projects with budgets from a few hundred to a few million pounds and delivered projects from 100-10,000 sq m about the way conflict and aviation have affected individuals and our world today. I also improved our visitor orientation and enhanced the look and feel of our learning spaces. IWM enabled me to work 21 hours a week allowing me to pursue my career whilst achieving the home life that suits my family.
Since April 2014 I’ve been in a new role developing a revised role and remit for IWM Duxford and a master plan which will establish a plan to transform IWM Duxford over the next 20 years.
Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?
I wanted the best course and at the time there were two that stood out. I was interested in places as much as objects and I had ambition to work at a strategic level in museums.
The Ironbridge course offered the opportunity to understand heritage sites as well as museums at an organisational level. The course location in the middle of, and taking inspiration from, a world heritage site was compelling. I was a keen rower and the presence of a rowing club confirmed my decision.
The staff at the Institute were really helpful in helping me to find accommodation and I rented a room in a house in Coalbrookdale with others on the course. If I started again, I would try and make more use of the vast, varied and highly regarded facilities on the Birmingham campus although the fact that I didn’t shows that Ironbridge and surrounding area had everything that I needed.
What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?
Passion! I studied Archaeology and History as an undergraduate. One of my classes was a general overview of museums and heritage and there I realised where my passion lay.
I found a copy of the Museums Journal at the campus careers office and a quick read of it established that the industry was highly competitive and that even entry-level jobs asked for a museum qualification.
I felt that a postgraduate course would help to clarify which aspect of the industry would best suit my interests and abilities, as well as providing me with a grounding in the subject and the necessary qualification.