My name is Gabbie and I’m about to start my final year as an English Literature undergrad at the University of Birmingham (how time flies!) This summer I’ve come in once a week as a PR and Marketing Assistant for Birmingham Museums Trust, and my time has been an invaluable learning experience that I’m sad to see end.
Before I started, I had some panicked ideas about life after graduation. The only things I was sure of was that I love writing and that I love the arts. PR wasn’t a sector I’d considered, but when I saw this placement with the Trust at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, I was intrigued.
I’d always seen the arts & heritage sector as an almost impossible barrier to break – what I’d mostly seen and heard, in person and online, was that it’s competitive and somewhat elitist, that I needed specialist knowledge, and that I wouldn’t get far without industry links anyway. All of this quietened my ambition to try and get into the industry. But my internship has banished a lot of these stereotypes, and while I realise it’s still competitive, I have grown in the confidence that I have the ability to make it.
What PR actually entails
Before if you’d asked me about PR I’d have said it had something to do with celebrities. While that’s still true, I’ve learned it is so much more, and that every organisation, no matter how large or small, depends on its reputation for success. From writing press releases and newsletters, to documenting media coverage and producing content for various social medias, I’ve gotten a taste for many aspects of PR and it’s made me want to seek further experience to find out if I’d enjoy the role as much in other sectors.
The little things matter
From the smallest restructuring of a press release, to that spelling mistake I let slip, or a key piece of information I could have included with some extra research, the little details are what make you succeed (and are also the difference between having your draft sent back to you for the fourth time!) I’ve developed a more analytical eye and understand the importance of reflection.
I can capture different voices
Whether it’s to appeal to time-strapped and eagle-eyed journalists, the merrymakers of a Cider & Ale festival, or the chattier tone of this blog post (hi!), I’ve really refined my writing ability.
I’ve gotten more confident
My first few days I took a good five minutes to work up the courage to ask Zoe a question because of my fear of seeming stupid. At this point, I don’t hesitate to ask questions if it means getting the job done right, and I have even found myself making suggestions for bigger and future projects the team is working on.
The things I’ve learned on this internship are skills I will take with me into further PR experience and other opportunities I find in the arts & heritage sector (fingers crossed!)