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Alumna lands dream job following MA at Hope

Studying an MA in Art History and Curating at Liverpool Hope helped alumna Nicola Scott land her dream job.

Redundancy in 2011 offered me the opportunity for a career change to pursue my life-long interests in the arts. I started a new job at National Museums Liverpool as a Visitor Services Manager and enrolled on the Art History and Curating course soon after that. The course combined academic theory with practical learning about museum curatorship. The work placement was particularly valuable in developing essential skills and knowledge in this field. It enabled me to make a successful application for the role of Assistant Curator Decorative Art with the Art Galleries of National Museums Liverpool, something I would not have achieved without doing the course.

After a long break from academic study, I enjoyed all aspects of the course. I valued the intellectual stimulation of the classroom debates and producing assignments. All my tutors were supportive, inspiring and challenging. They enabled me to see that I would succeed on the course. My favourite memory is of researching, writing and completing my dissertation. I would go so far as saying it is the best thing I have ever done. Since graduating, I have continued to develop the research interests that I began with my dissertation. I have given talks on the subject and I hope to publish my findings later this year.

This is my dream job and I enjoy all aspects of it. It is very varied and I enjoy both working with the decorative art collections and working with my colleagues, artists, academic researchers and members of the public. I particularly enjoy my role in researching and creating displays of decorative art at the Walker Art Gallery. Recently I have worked on a partnership project with the second year BA Design Students at Liverpool Hope to create a display of their work entitled History in the Making, which was inspired by our collections.

My role involves interpreting our permanent collections for the public by developing ideas for exhibitions, selecting objects for display, and writing accessible gallery text and giving talks. The exhibitions are sometimes online and sometimes in the galleries. I might be working as a sole curator on a small project or contributing as part of a team. In order to select pieces from our collections, I have developed my knowledge of these through documenting the collections and undertaking object focused research. I also really enjoy answering enquiries from members of the public and researchers about the decorative art collections.

My advice for current students would be to find a field that interests you and not be afraid to dream of your ideal job. Then make it happen. In museums and art galleries, it is important to gain experience in the field through voluntary or part-time work in a museum setting to get to know the ropes. Gaining transferable skills such as teamwork, building partnerships or project management is just as important as sector-specific skills. Acquiring these will make you more employable in many careers.

Published on 20/03/2018