Category Archives: History

Student Case Study:  The Eden Project

Name of Student:  Max Parkin

Degree Subject: BA History – Cornwall

Job Title:  Research Writer Intern

Company Name:  The Eden Project

Type of Internship:  Access to Internships (A2I)Student Business Partnerships (SBPs)

Description of Company: The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future. Our visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

To research specific briefed environmental/social/sustainable topics for the Eden Project as directed by the Director of Interpretation. To write, summarise and authenticate research documents and storylines with references. And/or to write final copy across a range of media using Eden’s house style and brand guidelines.

Key accountabilities (depending on area the student wishes to gain experience in):
1. To research specific briefed topics using literature searches and by communicating with organisations and experts in the field, working to set deadlines.
2. To write master files (as laid out in the Eden guidelines) on specific briefed topics with full list of references.
3. To write compelling storylines, narrative and content briefs to enable interpretation of specific subjects across a wide range of media.
4. To write final copy for specific exhibits, events, digital and web content and publications using Eden’s house style and brand guidelines.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

The main task for the interpretation department at that time was Eden’s summer content – Earth Story. I was asked to research in detail Megafaunal extinction during the end of the last Ice Age and the potential human involvement. The end result was a detailed document which was then used to help the graphics team produce an extinction timeline which can now be seen in the Earth Story exhibit at Eden.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

I was given a topic I had 0 previous knowledge of – Megafauna. I was asked to produce a detailed research document and became an ‘expert’. My research was verified by Natural History Museum Professor, Adrian Lister and played an instrumental role in producing content which is now displayed in one of Britain’s top visitor attractions. 

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

Initially, it was difficult to get to grips with my task, my progress was slow to start – I made sure to communicate well with Sarah, my boss, and ask lots of questions when I became lost.

Skills Learnt 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Communication
  • Team Work and Collaboration
  • Problem Solving
  • Time and Work Load Management

Attributes Developed 

  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Motivation
  • Personal Awareness

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“Working with the Eden Project for my internship was highly rewarding, exciting and eye opening. I became an ‘expert’ in a topic I’d never even heard of before, I met some great people and a future career path.”

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum – Employer Case Study

Name of Organisation:  The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

Description of Organisation: The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum is home to one of the largest collections of material relating to the moving image in Britain. We are both an accredited public museum and an academic research facility and we hold a collection of over 85,000 items. Over 1,000 of our items are on display in our Galleries and are available to be viewed by the public.

Name of Employer:  Phil Wickham

Job Title: Curator

Internship Scheme used:  A2I

Employer subsidies (A2I) – Employment Services – University of Exeter

Feedback:

We recruited a Curatorial Intern who researched and produced data to support a planned funding bid and also assisted with other key duties in the museum. The main research task was to assist with funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NLHF). This work was completed to a very high standard. She also looked into an array of academic researchers who had used the museum’s collections and got in touch with them about their publications or projects. The intern was confident, organised and hardworking, this showed specifically through her preparation of a talk on pre-cinema in the museum’s gallery. She then went on to present this to visitors which was received with much enthusiasm. The internship went very well. She continued to volunteer for us after her internship and did some really valuable data analysis work on the museum’s visitors that will help us to develop. 

This is an excellent scheme. We have used A2I twice and both times been able to benefit from exceptional talents. We highly recommend taking on an intern from the University of Exeter.  

Quote from Intern:

“I honestly could not fault this experience whatsoever. I was able to combine my academic studies with real-world practical experience. Phil allowed me to use my initiative and offer my own suggestions in relation to the museum’s redevelopment project, which caused me to feel like a real part of the team. It also allowed me to demonstrate my ability to think creatively and intuitively rather than simply wait for instructions. I am eternally grateful for the encouragement that I received throughout the four weeks. This internship confirmed to me that I have chosen a career path that I am well-suited to.”

Volunteer Opportunities Officer – Wheal Martyn

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My role for the week was to create four volunteer role profiles. In order to do this I had to speak to people including: the Museum Manager, Curator, Exhibition and Engagement Officer and the Project Manager to inform these roles. I also created promotional material for the new volunteer roles and amended existing application and induction forms to make them suitable.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Over the course of my internship I had to arrange meetings with a variety of people both face to face and over the telephone so my biggest achievement was gaining the confidence to talk to these new people in order to complete my work. I think this will be an advantage in any internships or jobs I have in the future as I will have the confidence to speak to a range of people.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

Wheal Martyn have recently been awarded a funding by the Heritage Lottery for a new project called the Clay Works! Project. Due to this, there are many new opportunities for volunteers which need to be communicated to the public. The creation of volunteer role profiles and promotional material will be helpful to Wheal Martyn as these materials will enable the museum to recruit a diverse range of people to become volunteers. Creating these materials can be time consuming and the office is very busy due to the commencement of this new project so the work completed during my internship will help to lighten a small part of the workload the museum currently has.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Communication, research, networking

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, perseverance, professionalism

 

Archive Assistant – Beaford Arts

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main roles during my internship were: repackaging Roger Deakin’s photographs that were taken in the 1970s, listing those photos and labelling them, listing oral history interviews, researching those in the interviews using ancestry and find my past, cataloguing photos by James Ravilious ready for it to go up on the website, using EXCEL to list and catalogue photographs and learning archivist skills, techniques and conservation techniques.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt loads of new skills that increase my employability. I also explored a new career, one I never would have considered and completed all tasks independently and to a high standard.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to assist with the wider ‘Hidden History’ project, decreasing the workload of the archivist and helping the project to keep to its time schedule. I also helped to sort, label and list all the photographs which will make searching and researching of the photographs much easier.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Communication, leadership, IT

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, motivation, work ethic

Curation Intern – University of Exeter College of Social Sciences and International Studies

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I was responsible for cataloguing artefacts and putting them on the museum database, preparing history files for some objects and sorting out the store. It was crucial to prepare the collection for the opening of the museum in 2020. My work mostly focused on Roman, medieval and Elizabethan coins as well as some pottery pieces from Devon area. Cataloguing them required me to find information not only about history of the object but also funding, acquisition, rights field collection etc.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I managed to complete all initially planned tasks ahead of time so I had time to help further. I also gained sector specific knowledge as well as historical one, which I was not aware of before.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I helped to sort the stores and lightened the workload of the curator, who was relieved to focus on other important tasks. I also made it easier to move around the stores.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Problem solving, organisation, research

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Logical thinking, independence, professionalism

Student Researcher – University of Exeter Education Incubator

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

  • Offering administrative support to three Chinese fellows on MOOC course on contemporary Chinese culture
  • Planning and drafting a social media campaign
  • Proofreading and editing of English texts written by non-native speakers, and adapting these to an online context
  • Recruiting student and non-student volunteers for the trial version of the course

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

The independent nature of the role meant that I was able to really strengthen my skills in taking the initiative and working autonomously and independently.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

Administrative support, lightening my colleagues’ workload, and ensuring that all course content and materials were adapting and appropriate for an English-language audience.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Communication, leadership, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Initiative, perseverance, independence

Museum Assistant – Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main responsibilities included cataloguing museum exhibition objects, researching museum objects, and updating the database. The cataloguing and research generally centered on the current Ritual Magic exhibition called ‘Dew of Heaven’. The bulk of the cataloguing material included a donation of various 20th century occult materials, which required further research using the museum library and the internet, and making links to other objects in the museum’s collections. Another main task involved scanning in object labels made by the museum’s founder and matching them with their corresponding objects where possible. Some of my minor tasks also included setting the museum up in the morning – sweeping and lighting incense, as well as operating the till.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement over the course of my internship included using my research skills to uncover information about the members of the late 19th and early 20th century occultist Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Various sources revealed fascinating and enlightening information about the order’s then-secret members. This task was a part of the cataloguing project that was one of my responsibilities, which I successfully completed by the end of my internship, which I then outlined in a blog post on the museum’s website.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to finish a whole box file of labels which needed scanning and cataloguing on the online database, and I helped with research regarding the cataloguing project which lightened the workload of my colleagues and ensured that anyone seeking information about the objects would find a comprehensive description of them with links to related objects at the museum, as well as the sources that could provide further data.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Teamwork and collaboration, customer service, focus on goals and outcomes

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Initiative, independence, work ethic, professionalism

Simon, Higher Education Project Officer

Degree: BA History and Politics 2017

Job Role: A Higher Education Project Officer provides support for projects in the Exeter Education Incubator, supporting academics who are working on projects to reimagine how university education can be delivered.

Simon’s Experience: I applied for this GBP because it was an exciting chance for me to learn a variety of useful employment skills in quite a short time, whilst also earning money. The fact that the GBP is only 6 months is actually convenient for me, as I am planning on doing a Masters in September. I graduated summer 2017 in history and politics, and I would absolutely encourage any other graduate to take up a GBP, particularly those who don’t know exactly what they want to do career-wise, but still want to do something that will significantly improve their employability. Beyond doing a Masters my own long-term plans are still quite vague, but what I do know is that whatever I end up doing, the skills and experiences I have picked up here will definitely prove relevant.

Employment Services Administration Assistant – University of Exeter, Exeter

pexels-photo-60324

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Latterly my main role was to oversee and organise follow up for the Employment services team, and deal with any queries that revolved around this. Previous to this I also helped with returning signed contracts, advertising new GBP placements on external University sites, finance and help with careers fairs.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement was likely the ability to run my student workload alongside my Employment Services work. This particularly helped hone my time management skills. Furthermore, the way in which the role was situated ‘within’ the university helped me to better understand the different degrees of professionalism necessary for work within and outside of the job.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The way in which I came to be solely responsible for the follow up process meant that I had full ownership for it which meant I was usually aware of any ‘exceptions’ or predicaments that arose. In this way the follow up process was largely taken away from my employer’s remit and I hope they felt able to trust me with the process as it was ‘my baby’ to that extent. This lessened the workload of my employer and, I believe, increased the efficiency of which it was done. Furthermore, this ownership meant that I felt able to build more of a relationship between myself and the interns, and could be colloquial in my approach and relationship with them, which I think got better results when asking for feedback.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Occasionally there would be slight delay in communication between updates (such as extensions and resignations) and my emailing. However, this was solved by making a structured approach to follow up, such that I would create lists on Mondays and send out emails on Thursdays, which generally gave a ‘buffer’ for unexpected changes.

Employment Services Support Assistant – Employability Services, University of Exeter

office

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

The main purpose of my role was to ensure the delivery of professional and helpful administrative support within the Employment Services Team, in particular for the Graduate Recruitment Team. I played a key role in supporting the arrangements for the careers fairs and a wide range of employer events, in particular showcase/drop-in events, recruiter in residence and mock interviews. I assisted the team in developing relationships with local, regional and national employers, institutions, Alumni, internal Colleges and Services for the benefit of the University and its students and graduates.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Throughout the course of my internship, the team was faced with a number of issues and obstacles out of our control that potentially threatened the organisation of successful events, such as double-bookings and extreme weather conditions. One of my biggest achievements was dealing with unexpected problems calmly and smoothly, always making the employer a priority and quickly creating contingency plans. My confidence has significantly increased as a result of this and I now feel more equipped and capable of dealing with the unexpected.  My internship offered a fantastic opportunity to put my skills into practice and gain invaluable office experience.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I played a key role in the organisation and delivery of four major careers fairs and a large number of smaller employer events, such as presentations and showcases. I coordinated the arrangements of several events from start to finish, taking the original booking, making the necessary arrangements and hosting the event on the day. I feel that my work helped to ease the workload of my colleagues in what was an extremely busy autumn term and was crucial to the smooth running of employer events.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

The main problems that I encountered during the course of my internships were relating to procedural/system changes, such as alterations to evening event bookings and changes to the newsletter format. I worked closely with colleagues to ensure that transitions were smooth and asked further questions where necessary. I created a comprehensive document detailing the new procedures to guide others in future.

“Jess was brought in to cover maternity leave of a permanent member of staff.  She was an excellent team player, flexible and hard working.  She was keen to ensure she understood what was required of her and wanted to learn.  Her positivity was a delight to have in the office.  As part of her role she had to communicate regularly with employers wanting to work with the University in promoting their internships and graduate role.  Her interpersonal style and customer service were excellent and I had no hesitation in leaving her to get on with it.  We would have offered her a permanent role had she not already secured an alternative role at the University!” – Line Manager.