Each week I spend 10 minutes with someone from the cultural-sector-meets-digital and ask them about their career, opinions, and what’s on their radar.
This week I spoke with my colleague Georgina Brooke.
Georgina Brooke, Content Strategist at One Further
If you want a job in museums, don’t feel like you just have to go through museums themselves.
☕ Tea or coffee?
Breakfast tea with milk, no sugar. My usual 11am drink!
💼 About your career and where you are now: accidental or intentional?
It started off as accidental: I studied classics at Oxford. When I graduated I knew I didn’t want to spend more time in academia, but I didn’t really know what I did want to do. I applied to tons of things, and ended up as a project manager in a multinational digital agency for my first job.
I was lucky to be asked to move to the Singapore office, and I then moved out of project management into content strategy. Then I came back to London to work with the Government Digital Service on getting their content in order for the new (at that point) gov.uk site.
I moved back to Oxford in 2014, but I didn’t want to work in agencies anymore. I ended up working at the University of Oxford as a Digital Content Editor.
In 2016 I got my first job in museums at the Ashmolean in Oxford, which entailed redesigning the website from scratch and creating all the content from the ground up. I was then asked to do the same website and content project for the other 4 Oxford University museums, but these were always temporary until I obtained a permanent role at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
In 2020, my partner got a job in Newcastle, so I moved to the North of England and obtained a temporary role at the National Museums of Scotland.
So my career was not entirely planned, and I have been taking things as they come. The last move was definitely accidental! I’ve detailed it in my LinkedIn article Planning a career in the digital sector.
📚 Describe your current job
I’ve only been at One Further since January but it’s great! I’ve been working on strategies for different kinds of content, how to monetise content, how to plan for a digital strategy that outlasts COVID and closure, and plenty of other interesting things.
It has so far been very interesting. We’ve won the 2 pitches that I participated in, and are getting repeat business from the clients I’m working with, which is encouraging and exciting.
🤩 What are you working on right now that you’re particularly enjoying?
I’m just putting the finishing touches on a report going to Castle Howard that’s looking at their content: getting their website user journeys in order, then thematic storytelling on social, which will, in turn, put them in the best position for monetising content and selling products online.
📣 What’s happening in the industry that’s on your radar?
At the moment, everyone is talking about the usefulness of digital because of the COVID crisis. It’s particularly interesting to see how the performing arts have treated content and haven’t given it for free.
At the start of COVID, performing arts were much less sheepish about asking for money for online content, whereas museums and most other cultural institutions, by and large, give all online content they produce away for free. I think that’s resulted in certain types of online events/content being normalised as free (like online talks and tours), but audiences are still happy to pay for performances because performing arts monetised that type of content from the beginning.
📖 Anything you’d recommend to read/watch/listen to?
I’ve just read The Future of the Museum – 28 dialogues, which contains conversations with culture-facing directors all around the world. I’ve written a book review about it on my LinkedIn profile.
Also lately, I have been listening to Dr Sophie Frost’s podcast People. Change. Museums.
💡 What advice would you give someone who would like to do what you do?
If you want a job in museums, don’t feel like you just have to go through museums themselves: starting at the bottom at a graduate entry role in a museum is so hard and competitive!
It’s very difficult to distinguish yourself amongst 650 other candidates (true story!), and when there are so many good candidates, interviewers end up having to make the final decision on really marginal and quite arbitrary criteria, because everyone’s ticked all the boxes but you only have one job…
So don’t be afraid of working in the private sector, because personally I’ve learnt a lot of skills there, and I wouldn’t have had for instance my role at the Ashmolean without my prior agency experience, which gave me great training in digital best practice and management skills.