25 Jun 2020

Keeping Interested in the Arts

Each year at Birmingham Museums we welcome over 60 people on one or two week work experience placements across a number of our museums and historic properties. Our programme helps introduce the working world to participants and to support them to develop skills and knowledge. Given the current situation we have taken the decision to cancel all work experience placements at Birmingham Museums in 2020, but we are planning to open our 2021 programme for applications in spring next year.

In the meantime however if you are interested in working in the arts we understand how daunting it can be for you to plan your future at this time. This blog contains some ideas and suggestions for you to develop your skills, gain insight into the working world and to help you to keep and keep you interested and engaged with museums and the arts.

Online Tours 

Many museums around the world have virtual tours available, becoming familiar with your favourite museum’s collection will be beneficial for future job applications and interviews or you can just use the opportunity to virtually visit museums from around the world.

You can find a good list of Virtual Tours on the MCN  website. Some particularly fascinating ones include:

Whilst their doors are closed many museums have also put exhibitions online. For instance, Among the Trees, an exhibition at the Haywood Gallery in the South Bank Centre. This virtual tour is led by Haywood Gallery Director, Ralph Rugoff.

You can access Birmingham Museums Trust virtual tours and activities on our Bringing the Museum to You webpage. Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource  also contains thousands of free images from the collection available to view and download.

Talks and Podcasts 

Why not try listening to a few talks and podcasts?

Follow People 

If you have a career in mind, follow professionals in your field on social media. There is a strong sense of community in the museum world and there are lots of professionals offering support, sharing training, ideas and information. Although Museums are currently closed many are still very active on Twitter.

  • Dan Hicks, professor at Oxford and collating the tweets from #MuseumsUnlocked, with different historical themes each day. Twitter: @ProfDanHicks
  • Mar Dixon, very active on social media and has created a lot of accounts and hashtags around museums. Twitter: @mardixon@teensinmuseums and @askacurator
  • Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces and BBC Presenter. Twitter: @Lucy_Worsley

Online Courses 

There are hundreds of courses available on the Future Learn website, most are free to join and  are varying in length. Courses are usually split into manageable weekly chunks. A History of  Royal Fashion, Dementia and the Arts, and Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime are just some  examples.

If you are interested in working in STEM read our Keeping Interested in STEM blog post.