I decided to study at the University of Sunderland because it was modern in both its facilities and outlook. The lecturers were all professionals, active in their field, and I had a lot of respect for their approach to art and heritage.
The MA Curating course at Sunderland is incredible because it gives you the chance to develop and practice your own curating skills and style at various venues. All of my lecturers were motivational, helping me to seek out other opportunities to exhibit and curate, which I also did for my final project. It also has a diverse range of experiences and opportunities to view best practice at some of the best museums and galleries in the area. To have the opportunity to see the various roles within a museum or art gallery and talk to professionals from each area was very useful. It helped me to concentrate on the kind of research and experiences I needed, to get where I am today.
The University of Sunderland has a modern and positive environment. The student life and support from lecturers was exemplary and I still keep in touch years later. You should go see the facilities, talk to the staff and also discuss what extra opportunities are available either through the University in general or the course you are looking to undertake.
My first job after graduation was as a collections volunteer. I was working at a lovely local museum called Kirkleatham Museum in North Yorkshire, next to my home village. The museum needed support in this area, as the collections officer was fairly new to the post. As a team, we all worked incredibly well together to organise inventories, care for the collection and prepare it for exhibitions. Then, through the Tyne and Wear Museum and Archives' core skills course, I was able to gain more specific skills, which I use in my role today as a Collections Access Assistant at Preston Park Museum and Grounds.
The highlight of my career so far is being the curatorial lead for Preston Park Museum and Grounds' summer exhibition, Spence – The Art of War. I was identified, due to my love of military history, to make an application for Art Fund's Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grant. Currently, and in the future, I hope to develop my specialist knowledge of Arms and Armour, specifically firearms. This could hopefully see Preston Park develop the Spence collection further as it is acknowledged, by certain professionals, as one of the best private collections of Arms and Armour in the country.
The University of Sunderland and the people there give you a passion to excel and really give you the best opportunity to become who you want to be."
Published 10 January 2018