Culturapedia | Director Sue’s thoughts on looking for work in the arts

After reading my post on job application tips Sue of Culturapedia tweeted the link below. It’s especially interesting on the culture of job centres and job applications >

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Some tips on job applications.

I have done a lot of recruiting in museums. I always encounter poor applications. Having just read through masses of job applications, I feel the need to provide some tips.

It is really frustrating to read applications from:
• applicants who appear to have no idea what the job actually is,
• applicants who appear to have no idea who we are,
• and worst of all,
• good applicants who send in really poor applications (often with some experience, lots of enthusiasm, and a clear desire for a museum career, they concentrate on their enthusiasm and forget their experience).

“I am interested in any vacancies” – we advertised a specific vacancy, apply for that.

“I would love to work for your company” – which company would that be? Generic applications do not get interviews.

“To whom it may concern” – one minute on Google and you could find my name or that of your prospective line manager. Do it.

Jobs in the museum sector are much sought after. Why do you want THIS job?

Show evidence that you have researched our museum. “I want to work for (name us!) because…”. Show you’re aware of our main activities and our latest news. If you really love what we do – say why clearly and simply – don’t get too frothy!

We provided a job description and person specification – please read them.

When assessing applications we have a copy of the person spec in a matrix. We score against each point. Something like:
• no experience = 0
• some experience = 1
• plenty of experience = 2.
Then we add it all up. Highest scores get interviews.

When you apply for a job. Do this →
• Copy the person spec headlines into the main body of the application form.
• Answer each point with details of your relevant experience.

If I have 50+ applications I will truly thank you for doing this. You have a much higher change of getting an interview because your experience is presented clearly against the person spec.

Don’t get me wrong. I will read badly presented applications (some people won’t). But the lack of clarity will not help either of us.

Only send your CV if asked. We don’t want more to read. Please tailor it to the job.

If you have no relevant experience at all you won’t get an interview. Sorry.

I’m guessing your careers advisor, school, college, university told you all this. They were right. Listen to them.

Oh. We can tell when “the job centre made me do it”. This is a waste of time, yours and ours. Shame. But we know it’s not your fault.

Finally, spell check.

Good luck.

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I was reminded of this blog I did a while back because someone pinned my potato riddler label… a tale of museums and tiny people. Also potato riddling.

“Born and bought up in Whitby. I live in Worcestershire and work in a museum in Birmingham. I recently went back up home to see my parents and to visit the places of my childhood. I met old friends, new friends, mysterious characters and at least one invisible little man…

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…ever AMEN.


Just moved my blog to WordPress. Rather pleased with my header. My picture of a sign in Warwickshire art gallery Compton Verney’s Georgian Chapel.

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The end of the Rea Aqueduct

I live in Worcestershire near the Leominster – Stourport Canal. An unfinished canal that none-the-less has left several marks in the landscape.

OS maps detail a public footpath crossing the River Rea via a footbridge. Knowing nothing of the local history and arriving at the ‘footbridge’ about 11 years ago I was confronted by more greenery than you normally get on footbridges. It all looked a bit odd, but there was a path, so I crossed. The next time I walked the same way I decided to scramble down the bank to see what I was crossing.

I was confronted by this:

File:Leominster Stourport Canal Aqueduct 2008.jpg

Rea Aqueduct (2008)

Hmm. Looks crumbly. Anyway it prompted me to take a photo (which I uploaded to the Wikipedia Entry for Leominster – Stourport Canal) and to do a bit more research. The Lost Labours exhibition showcases the canal’s history and remaining features.

Last weekend when walking I saw a sign, then a few more:

So I walked past the signs and down the old tow path.

And I scrambled down the side…oh:

Rea Aqueduct (2013)

Well it survived until February 2013. Not bad.The aqueduct was built in 1792-3. There is an account on Canal Routes which mentions that the aqueduct was described as ‘unstable’ in 1795.

Article about the aqueduct’s collapse by Waterways World.

Rea Aqueduct (2013)

The other side’s better but I don’t think I’ll be walking across it again.

On my walk back I was reminded of other changes.

These poles were once part of a hop field.

But the speedwell still grows.

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Carpet Mill to Museum of Carpet

I am Curatorial Advisor for the Carpet Museum, Kidderminster. Next year their new museum, The Museum of Carpet, will open to the public. Yesterday I had a tour of the new site.
Stour Vale Mill, the former Woodward Grosvenor carpet mill, will house the new museum and archives centre. The building is stripped ready for the contractors to start their work.
A few traces of previous inhabitants remain but the new museum is evident in the spray painted labels.
The main part of the building is two stories, 19ft by 300ft. Unusual dimensions. But maybe not for a carpet mill. Carpets also being long and narrow. A second space, formed from a roofed in yard provides a large triangular gallery, which will house the working looms.
Below, the Mill from the outside, alongside a copy of the plans.
And finally, an indication where the most important part of any museum will be!
More on the hard work and success of the Carpet Museum Trust at the links below.
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