I am keen to volunteer for Arts Emergency because I am concerned that the opportunities for those who wish to enter arts administration from backgrounds such as mine are reducing. I have ended up working in the arts more by luck than judgement: I started as a civil servant (on the Government’s Fast Stream) in the DCMS and joined the British Museum on secondment. The opportunity to join the Civil Service Fast Stream would only have been available to me because I had a degree and was educated at a school and then a University which encouraged you to be ambitious.
My second role in full-time employment was as an Access and Schools Liaison Officer. The purpose of my role was to encourage those from state school backgrounds to consider Higher Education, and specifically the University of Cambridge. The job was particularly dear to my heart because I came to the University of Cambridge from a state school in a not-particularly-wealthy part of the North-West.
Having worked in national museums, and now with the Directors of the largest museums, I am acutely aware that there are so few people who are from backgrounds such as mine. There are comparatively few regional accents, comparatively few people from state school backgrounds and even fewer of those in very senior positions who are women. I came into museums through a fairly unconventional route but a route that reflects my background – the recognised profession of the Civil Service. I do not come from a family with any arts connections and was lucky to have worked for people within DCMS who could help me make connections. Now I am in a fairly senior role myself, I would love to be able to help others make those sorts of connections or make sense of the sometimes complicated arts workforce.