Charlotte Dew

Charlotte Dew, 15.09.2014
Freelance curator and consultant
After eight years moving through short-term project contracts, learning a lot, but lacking security, I got my first permanent job in 2008.

Five years and many exhibitions later, leaving to work freelance was a difficult decision. I was motivated by the desire to pursue my own ideas and research, to establish a flexible working week, to work on a wide variety of projects concurrently and to take some risks.

The key to finding a variety of clients has in part been dependent on having maintained good relationships with organisations I have worked with in the past – I contacted them all when I started to build my freelance portfolio. For example, a past maternity cover at the Museum of English Rural Life has led to a contract developing their handling collection.

I have always specialised in partnership and touring exhibition work, and this has given me a large network, links to professional bodies and the relevant experience to work with a range of organisations, much of the time offsite.

As a freelancer self-motivation is essential, and the need to self-start in order to earn has given me the confidence to just go and ask, or make a proposal. This approach has resulted a few people saying no and many more yeses, and the development with partners of projects that I am passionate about.

I have learnt that it is often necessary to put in some time for free to get something started, so staggering projects to ensure income is essential. It is also important to get a contract or letter of agreement in place to protect your ideas. To realise projects you have to be prepared to complete funding applications.

I don’t regret abandoning security for one moment; working freelance is exciting and rewarding.

Charlotte Dew is a freelance curator and consultant based in London