Getting a leg up

Simon Stephens, 07.03.2019
Simon Stephens on why the MA’s dedicated event for students is a must
The Museums Association (MA) held its first dedicated event for museums studies students last year. Don’t Stop Me Now: Launching Your Museum Career took place on 24 November 2018 at University College London. The aim of the day was to help people convert their studies into a career in museums, galleries or heritage.

The event was a great success, with more than 170 delegates attending. Students came to hear a wide range of speakers discuss a variety of issues, including what skills and experience museums look for in new employees and what characteristics you need to succeed in the cultural sector.

Delegates also heard about key MA campaigns such as Museums Change Lives, which focuses on the impact that museums can have on the communities and individuals they serve.

One of the highlights of the day was a series of roundtables, where delegates heard about the different roles available in museums such as front-of-house, digital, learning and engagement, curating and communications.

The conference was hosted by Tonya Nelson, the director, arts, technology and innovation, at Arts Council England. The keynote speaker was Miranda Lowe, the principal curator, invertebrate zoology, at the Natural History Museum, London, and one of the two MA representatives for London.

There were speakers from a range of other institutions, including Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service; the British Library, London; Sir John Soane’s Museum, London; Cynon Valley Museum; Royal Museums Greenwich; and Tate.

There were also tours of UCL’s Grant Museum of Zoology, Petrie Museum and UCL Art Museum.

We are planning to hold the event again this year. Look out for an announcement about the date and location on our event listings page.

Simon Stephens is the head of publications and events at the Museums Association