‘Thinking Outside of the Bubble’ Part One.

A young girl blowing a large bubble gum bubble, 1946 (2)

These past few weeks have been a bit quieter on the blog, mainly due to work deadlines and holidays. I’ve also been busy securing work in London and England for the next year. You could say, I’ve been a very busy bee!

Whilst working hard, I’ve been thinking of topics for blog posts. I’m excited to share with you some thoughts I’ve had for a blog post for some time. I’ve talked about ‘Building Your Museum’ career before in four parts (1, 2, 3 & 4). Whilst writing these blog posts other ideas popped into my head. These ideas are what I shall share in this  post.

friendletter

‘Vintage Man writing his ideas down on paper.’

You may wonder at the blog post’s title, ‘Thinking Outside of the Bubble.‘ I’ve chosen this title as what I’m going to write about will hopefully burst the ‘bubble/glass ceiling’ of your museum career thus far. As in, do you find yourself having too much experience for lower paid jobs? Would you like to work in a curatorial department of a museum instead of Visitor services? If this sounds like you, then read on! If not, read on anyway, you may pick up some things that you might not have thought about.

Social Media:

I hark on about the use of social media quite a lot on this blog. But I can’t stress enough how important social media for museum professionals can be. It is a brilliant networking tool to progress your career. It can lead to different opportunities for work and freelancing.

Social media comprises LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.. But for the purpose of this post I shall talk about Twitter.  You can use Twitter to keep up with current museum trends and practice. You can use it to collaborate or initiate projects with international museum professionals and also keep abreast of museum world news.

In this ever changing museum job market keeping on top of current museum practice and trends is key.  You need to know what is happening, what is current and what is not current. You could be asked at interview what current museum practice you are aware of. This is were you sink or swim. This is were you can show your knowledge of museum practice. This knowledge coming from your use of Twitter.

puzzled‘Vintage man looking puzzled.’

So you may be ‘puzzled’ as how to find this information on Twitter. It is relatively simple to find information on Twitter. Below are a few bullet points on how to find ‘knowledge’ on museum trends and practice:

  • Search on Twitter for your favourite museums and follow them. Then look at who follows these museums. There will be many museum professionals following these museums. Follow these people and check regularly for updates on museum practice and museum trends. Remember to interact & network with these people!
  • If there is a museum conference happening look for a #hashtag to follow along virtually. Keep an eye on what speakers and presenters are saying. Join in by airing your own views using the conference’s #hashtag.
  • Sign up for newsletters from professional bodies e.g. Museums Association, Irish Museums Association, Association of Independent Museums etc. These newsletters all share current museum practice and trends!

So you see, using social media for career advancement is as simple as making a cup of tea! Once you start to use Twitter regularly your followers and knowledge will grow. Keep a note on anything particular you find interesting or important museum practice. You never know when you could be asked to share it!

Museum & Professional Organizations:

Now on to museum and professional organizations. You may be thinking that there are hundreds of professional organizations for museum professionals. You would be right that there is  a lot.  There are organizations for nearly every aspect of museum work. From front of house to museum directors, you can be guaranteed there is some form of a network out there!

Below, I shall list briefly some of the organizations I think would be worth while your time joining. This list is not exhaustive, so you may come accross an organization worth joining that I have not listed.

  • Museums Association  Largest association that represents museums & museum professionals in the U.K. Events held nationwide. Monthly journal & monthly online journal.  Regularly updated news section on website. Yearly subscription service and yearly conference. Next conference is in Cardiff.  I have wrote about the conference here & here.
  • Irish Museums Association Represents Irish Museums & Irish Museum professionals both side of the border.  Forums and Events held all year round. Newsletter & Case studies magazines regularly. Yearly subscription service and yearly conference (Belfast in 2015!). I have wrote about the IMA conference here.
  • GEM or Group for Education in Museums  A large association that represents educational professionals in museums in the U.K. & Europe. GEM is also concerned about volunteering in museums and access to education for all ages & abilities. It is a yearly subscription service, again with a yearly conference. This year in Cambridge. I haven’t attended the yearly conference. However, I have worked for them at the 2013 Museums & Heritage Show. You can read about that here.

This list is only an sample of the many organizations out there. I could include a list of every organization that I think you should be a member of. But then you would need to win the lottery to afford that!

The associations I have mentioned are worth while joining and by joining them you can enhance your career prospects. I have overheard several museum directors saying that if they were interviewing candidates they would expect them to be at least  members of the MA or GEM. So you see, joining these associations can make or break your success at getting a job!

In my next post, I will be talking about blogs and museum websites that you should be aware of. I shall also be talking about how you can become aware of current museum trends (not using social media) and how working abroad can boost your job chances.

 

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