In five words, describe your place in the sector.
New kid on the block
What first drew you to the sector i.e. Do you have a particular memory of a moment that got you hooked?
I’ve loved ‘old things’ for as long as I can remember. When I was tiny I wanted to be a palaeontologist. My parents would buy me those blocks that you could excavate with a toothbrush and find mini dinosaur bones. A memorable birthday present from my dad was a piece of fossilized dinosaur poo (I kid you not)…
I studied History of Art, Anthropology, and Archaeology at the University of East Anglia (UEA). My course was based in the beautiful Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts. I was in my absolute element, constantly surrounded by fascinating objects – from 5000 year old Japanese Jōmon pots to Māori carvings and Francis Bacon paintings. I think it was during my time here I really got ‘hooked’ on the idea of working in the museum sector and continuing to learn about the fascinating stories behind objects.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
Just getting here in the first place!
In the UK I did some volunteering in museums, it was a great experience, but through all my trying I couldn’t get a paid job in the sector.
When moving to New Zealand people asked me where I was hoping to work and I would reply ‘well my dream job would be to work as a Digital Editor at Te Papa’. I never in a millions years thought it would actually happen.
Has anything or anyone in particular provided you with support?
I’m still so new and I’m only just beginning to find my feet in a team that has undergone a lot of change in the last year.
We now have a new Head of Digital Content. This is great, and I’m now beginning to understand the direction we need to be going in. I’m learning so much from my new boss – all positive things to come I reckon! (Kiwi slang I’m trying to adopt).
What do you think people at your own level bring to the sector?
This probably sounds cliché, but a fresh perspective.
Digital is evolving at such a fast pace and ‘newbies’ are great because they’re brave enough to think outside the box and try crazy new things.
We want our website users to be excited by our content and keep returning to see what’s new. I think people at ‘my level’ want to continually change the way we work and test things so we can grow in our careers. If your idea didn’t work that’s fine, it’s a much more effective learning process to keep testing, and you’ll still achieve better results in the long term than doing things the same because ‘that’s how it’s always been done.’
What is a positive change you would like to see in the sector?
More positivity about embracing change and trying new things.
More money would also be great. From a digital point of view there are so many incredible things that are now possible with tech but obviously this comes at a price.
An example of something I would love to be part of is a 360 interactive exhibition. The Royal Academy of Arts has produced an amazingly immersive one for the current Ai WeiWei exhibition – imagine if Te Papa could produce something like this to share with the world?
What is your karaoke song?
Standing in the Way of Control by The Gossip. I’ve been known to scream this in my kitchen numerous times but never in public. Maybe it’s time to ‘take it up a level’.