On a very cold Thursday, myself and a colleague from The Infirmary travelled up to Manchester to the Museum of Science and Industry where they were hosting a conference run by the Museums Association. It was called Moving On Up and was about getting on in your career and moving past your first trainee job. It also helped to network with people in your position and also with the museum professionals and facilitators.
We caught the train at Worcester at 6am and was soon winging our way up north. Sarah and I settled down and started reading tweets about the day and decided to join in. I was excited about this conference as I was going to meet the girls from The Ministry of Curiosity. I have been reading their interesting blogs about London museums for a few months now and was really keen to hear their key note address. As soon as we got there, I had met the girls over a morning coffee! Our lovely Museums Development Officer from Worcestershire Gemma Dhami was also there and she dragged us off to do some badge making.
The key note speeches started with Richard Wilson who spoke about the Anti-Hero being the new leader, and how we need to be flexible but also willing to fight. It was a very rousing speech and set us all up for the rest of the day. At various times through out the day, after certain key notes, we were encouraged to discuss the topics on our table and there were also tasks for us to do in groups and individually. The key notes addressed such topics like learning how to create your own pitch, the radical workforce and career mapping. After lunch we had the opportunity to talk to the facilitators with a speed mentoring session, which was indeed quick. No sooner had I managed to tell Liz Hide from the University Museums Cambridge where I had come from and where I wanted to go in my career, it was time to move on. I managed to collar her after the conference and discuss my pathway further. There were also workshops on how to write your CV and tips on interview techniques.
So what did I get out of the day? I met some great people who are in the same position as me. We are all trying to get further on in a sector that is floundering, but the day left me feeling hopeful and totally inspired. The final speech of the day came from David Anderson, the Museums Association president and director of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. He replied to an earlier panel debate where it was questioned whether organisations discriminate against those without Masters degrees. As a person without a Masters, I was keen to hear what he had to say. He stated that he would go back and look at the recruitment process of his own organisation and make sure that those with real talent are not blocked by such obstacles.
To sum up, I think David should have the last word about the day “I can honestly say this has been one of the most uplifting days I’ve had at an event in the museum sector in many years.”