Category Archives: Pathways to Arts, Culture and Heritage (PACH)

Heritage Innovation Website Content Developer – University of Exeter Culture Team

 

“My internship experience with the Culture Team taught me some invaluable collaborative, management, and creative skills, and I would, therefore, strongly encourage students to participate in the Pathways internship scheme”

Name: Kate Debling

Degree Programme: BA English

Year of Study: 2nd Year

Pathway Programme Completed: Pathways to Arts, Culture, and Heritage

Internship Role/Job Title: Heritage Innovation Website Content Developer

Internship Employer: University of Exeter Culture Team

During the summer, I undertook an internship with the University of Exeter Culture Team as part of the Pathways internship programme. As a digital content creator for the Exeter Heritage website, I created news and blog content pertaining to heritage-based academic research and projects led in the South West.

The University of Exeter Culture Team seeks to protect heritage through continuous academic research and projects, led by both the University of Exeter and Heritage Exeter’s partners. Throughout my internship experience, there was a strong focus on building connections between the university and external heritage bodies, as well as the collaboration between university campuses. The projects and research that I covered were broad, operating on a campus-based level, through collaboration with the Penryn campus, a national level, with heritage bodies such as South West Heritage Trust, and also an international level, with the European Commission.

The variety of content that I was creating emphasised the extent of the Culture Team’s Heritage network and, as an English undergraduate, experimenting with both news articles and blog posts meant that I had the freedom to find creative ways to convey the work. The experience not only enlightened me to new written mediums, a break away from the academic essay but also exposed me to current research endeavours pertaining to my own undergraduate degree.

Being able to work effectively from home, creating my own timetable, and collaborating with my internship supervisors digitally, were all new skills that I gained as part of my internship with the Culture Team. In order to create quality content, and cover as many new projects as possible, it was integral to be able to gather information, follow up stories and write efficiently. Through this, I was able to improve upon my time management skills. Having a flexible work approach, as well as open communication channels between myself and my supervisors, meant that collaboration was smooth, and we were able to meet targets.

My internship experience with the Culture Team taught me some invaluable collaborative, management, and creative skills, and I would, therefore, strongly encourage students to participate in the Pathways internship scheme.

Marketing Development Assistant – Powderham Live!

 

“At a time when the Arts, Culture, and Heritage sector is facing unprecedented challenges, it felt amazing to work on a project that I know will bring so much joy to so many people, and that will help keep the magic of the arts alive!”

Name: Holly Van Ryssen

Degree Programme: English

Year of Study (at the time of completing internship): 2nd Year

Pathway Programme Completed: Pathways to Arts, Culture, and Heritage

Internship Role/Job Title: Marketing Development Assistant

Internship Employer: Powderham Live!

When I tell people that I study English at the University of Exeter, I’m always met with the following response: “Ah, so you want to be a teacher then?”. Certainly, I’d be lying if I said that teaching wasn’t a profession that I’ve considered. However, I’ve always believed that the beauty of an English degree is that it enables you to study a subject you love while at the same time leaving your options open to explore several different career paths. Perfect for someone who can’t make decisions!

Going into my second year, nearly halfway through my time at university, I suddenly became acutely aware that I had no idea what I wanted to do at the end of my studies. I was keen to start exploring the options I had available to me and, was hoping to be able to use the summer before my final year to gain some invaluable work experience. When I heard about Professional Pathways, a careers scheme run by the University of Exeter providing sector-specific training and week-long paid internships, I knew that I had to apply.

Then, of course, Covid-19 hit. We were all sent home, the Pathways assessment centre was cancelled, and it seemed as though the prospect of a paid summer internship was firmly off the cards…

When I received an email from the Pathways team informing all applicants that they were working on securing some remote internships, I was shocked! While I felt terrified at the prospect of applying for and completing an internship entirely online, I knew that it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down and that would provide me with invaluable experience moving forward into the future. Numerous cover letters, and a couple of video interviews later, I’d secured an internship as a Marketing Assistant at Powderham Live!. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

During my internship at Powderham Live!, I worked on many different projects, all of which aimed to find new ways to promote not only the event itself but also the young musicians and their huge network of supporters. In particular, I enjoyed creating a set of brand guidelines that will now be used to inform all content published by Powderham Live!, both in print and online. Not only this, but I enjoyed working on a new social media strategy; in recent weeks, it has been really rewarding to see many of the campaigns I planned featured on the Powderham Live! social media pages.

Having had little experience in marketing, I was worried before starting my internship that I wouldn’t know what to do! At first, both Emily (fellow intern and University of Exeter student) and I felt hugely daunted at the prospect of creating a professional document that accurately represented the values and ethos of Powderham Live!. However, both Derry (Heritage Manager at Powderham Castle) and AJ (Countess of Devon and founder of Powderham Live!) were extremely supportive, clearly explaining what they wanted while at the same time allowing us to indulge in our own ideas and creative spirit. We were even invited to whole team meetings where we were able to share what we had been working on and give feedback to the other team members!

During the Covid-19 pandemic, I found it extremely rewarding to work on a project with a clear social purpose. I know that the work I carried out during my internship will not only help the team behind the scenes at Powderham Live!, but will have a huge impact on the experience of young musicians in Devon. Indeed, at a time when the Arts, Culture and Heritage sector is facing unprecedented challenges, it felt amazing to work on a project that I know will bring so much joy to so many people, and that will help keep the magic of the arts alive!

Without a doubt, the experience I’ve had working remotely at Powderham Live! will set me in good stead when entering the job market during these difficult times. Thanks to the Pathways scheme, I’ve now had practice applying for, beginning, and completing an internship entirely remotely, an experience that I know will be invaluable moving forward into the future! In particular, I’ve been able to improve my video-based interview technique, as well as develop my ability to work from home productively, skills which will help me both when completing my third year of university online, and also when applying for jobs.

When I received the email from the Professional Pathways team back in May informing us of some remote internship opportunities, I very nearly didn’t apply… However, I’m so glad that I did! While I’m still not sure what I want to do post-university, I now feel more confident about the prospect of graduating in the middle of a global pandemic! Pathways 2020 has taught me many things, most importantly, how to be adaptable and open-minded in the face of adversity. However, best of all, it has given me an answer to that dreaded question: “What did you do over lockdown?”.

Heritage Innovation Website Content Developer – University of Exeter Culture Team

“I built some strong connections whilst also deepening my love of the heritage sector through my writing”

Name: Frank Allen

Degree Programme: BA History

Year of Study (at time of completing internship): 2nd Year

Pathway Programme Completed: Pathways to Arts, Culture, and Heritage

Internship Role/Job Title: Heritage Innovation Website Content Developer

Internship Employer: University of Exeter Culture Team

Please outline the project you worked on during your Pathways internship. What achievements are you particularly proud of? How will your work be helping others?

At the tender age of eight, I fondly remembered visiting Lichfield Cathedral. I was awe-struck by it. The Cathedral’s imposing spires, majestic arches, and grand scale captured my imagination. Therefore, when I saw the opportunity to work for the University of Exeter’s heritage team as a website content developer, I immediately applied.

I was asked to produce articles and blog pieces for the University’s Heritage website with my colleague, Kate, whilst also suggesting upgrades for the website and tweets to write. With only a brief knowledge of Devon and Cornwall’s heritage, and of the work that the University was doing to study it, I was excited to begin the role and learn more. The research assistants, Gilda and Eloise, guided me towards some captivating projects. Their research ranged counties and specialities, considering both natural and man-made heritage and its effects on communities, policies, and even animals! My task was to synthesise these insights into four enthralling pieces of writing for a wider audience, which would then have to be publicised. I started with the news articles. Consisting of only a few hundred words, I scoured my research reports for recent events that took my interest. Using a few examples on the Heritage website as my guide, I was excited to discuss Professor DeSilvey’s project, which would investigate strategies into heritage loss and conservation. I was also eager to talk about Dr Naomi Sykes’ new research into why we love to feed animals, using heritage sites as a testing ground. This followed nicely from Dr Brazier and Puttock’s research into Eurasian beavers on Holnicote estate.

Moving onto the blog articles, two themes across the heritage sector caught my attention: climate change and the debate around the loss of heritage. Touching upon artistic projects and a bid involving University of Exeter professors, I highlighted how important the consideration of Climate Change was in heritage conservation in the future. However, does this heritage even need to be conserved in the first place? In her book ‘Curated Decay’, Professor DeSilvey suggests that we should allow nature to take its course. This discussion around heritage conservation informed my second blog post. A common thread through these themes, though, was an ethical discussion of what heritage meant to a community. This captivated me the most, reminding me of how I became interested in my own heritage, to begin with.

How did you overcome a particular challenge during your internship, for example, challenges linked to working remotely?

I found the work with the Culture Team’s heritage sector challenging, but at the same time incredibly thought-provoking and rewarding. Time management was key. Kate and I managed to produce a schedule for the week, dividing each day into achievable objectives. This skill was very useful in creating the Heritage website’s Twitter timeline as well. However, this would not have been possible without strong teamwork and communication. Meetings and emails with both my team and the professors I wrote about were integral to producing high-quality pieces of writing. In the end, I built some strong connections whilst also deepening my love of the heritage sector through my writing.

Why would you recommend a Professional Pathways internship to future students?

The role of website content developer equipped me with some invaluable skills whilst I pursued a field that I would love to work in again in the future. I could not recommend the role enough to anyone keen on finding out more about heritage and what it means for them and their community.

Heritage Innovation Researcher – University of Exeter Culture Team

“I cannot express in words how unbelievably enriching both personally and professionally this internship has proven to be, and I would highly recommend it to anyone to apply and give it your best shot”

Name: Ellie Speechly

Degree Programme: BA Archaeology

Year of Study: 3rd Year

Pathway Programme Completed: Pathways to Arts, Culture, and Heritage

Internship Role/Job Title: Heritage Innovation Researcher

Internship Employer: University of Exeter Culture Team

Please outline the project you worked on during your Pathways internship. What achievements are you particularly proud of? How will your work be helping others?

Going into 2020, I was fortunate to have been involved with the University of Exeter’s Professional Pathways scheme, an internship programme designed to give students an authentic workplace experience, along with specialist training in a field of their choosing. I was privileged to have been offered a role at the University itself in the Culture team with the Heritage Innovation department, a team that ensures the University has an extensive pool of partnerships and collaboration networks, operating on an international scale. I gained infallible insight into the networking skills required within the heritage sector, in addition to learning how many large-scale organisations such as the National Trust operate. A fellow student and I were entrusted to assist in researching and constructing a compressive report, containing all ongoing and completed partnerships, operations of a memorandum, and projects that the Humanities department was/are undertaking, in addition to the staff involved. This will later become a digital tool for students, staff, and external parties to consult in order to better understand the vast number of projects the University has had a hand in. I was particularly proud of the sheer quantity of information my colleague and I managed to read and research; it was all so interesting and engaging that I could easily have spent days at a time reading about a single project, such as those ongoing with Powderham Castle or the fascinating upcoming project on Vivien Leigh being untaken by the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

How did you overcome a particular challenge during your internship, for example, challenges linked to working remotely?

As an archaeology undergrad, I was over the moon to have been accepted and was waiting with anticipation for a heritage-related placement! But much like the rest of the world, all these plans were put on hold thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to the efforts of the Pathways team and the wonderful collaborating organisations, remote working positions were arranged so no one missed out on gaining from this worthwhile and professionally enriching experience. Though working remotely had its setbacks, with interaction being limited to the video chatting format, with which we are all so familiar now, I couldn’t have asked for better employers or co-workers. I cannot express in words how unbelievably enriching both personally and professionally this internship has proven to be, and I would highly recommend it to anyone to apply and give it your best shot.

How has your Professional Pathways internship helped you in taking the next steps in your career, for example, have you gone on to secure another role, or has it helped you decide the sector you want to work in?

The internship proved to be great practice in contacting those within the heritage field, in addition to building relationships with those in the sector that has proven valuable as a new graduate, particularly in these difficult times! Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, my internship was a wonderful experience as it provided me with realistic skills needed in the heritage sector today, such as effective communication and research through more innovative means. I’m now fortunate enough to be involved with the SS Great Britain as a direct thanks to my wonderful employers, who have continued to support, mentor, and provide invaluable insight and advice into the world of work. Good luck and all the best in all your upcoming endeavours!