How I Got My Job - Jasmine Farram
The first in a brand new series ‘Fleur and Arbor Careers’ sheds light on the professional journeys of women working in the arts and cultural sector, as told in their own words…
I always say I got my job by being in the right place at the right time, and that I have fallen into project work entirely by accident. I am a Project Co-ordinator, part of the Client Project Management Team responsible for delivering the Waterfront Museum as part of the V&A East Project in Stratford, East London.
In practical terms, I work with the Design Team, made up of architects, engineers and a range of other external consultants to develop the design of the building and gather feedback internally from colleagues across the V&A. The role is hugely varied, and involves tracking expenditure, maintaining the project programme and of course, risk mitigation. I get the unique opportunity to consult with our stakeholders and bring the architectural plans on paper to life. This job has changed the way I look at floor finishes, toilets, lighting… and now my phone is full of very mundane photographs from museums around the country. A journal of sorts of lessons learnt and inspiration.
We are set to open in the spring of 2023, so as the project develops I will become more involved with the delivery of the Curatorial ambitions as well as commissioning and procuring, and final fit out of the building before opening.
How it all started….
I graduated from University for the Creative Arts, Farnham in 2013 having studied photography. During my degree I volunteered and interned at a number of commercial galleries and I knew I was interested in pursuing a career in the arts. I moved back to Kent and became a Curatorial Intern at a local Gallery whilst also working part time in retail. During this internship I started to understand more about exhibitions, loans and museums, and so applied for a part time role as a Visitor Services Officer at my local museum. Unfortunately I didn’t get the position, but a few weeks later I was told that a full time position had come up. Well as it turns out, a long time team member was retiring, and I was offered my first full time position just 4 months out of university at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery.
In my 2 year stint in Visitor Services, I leant a huge amount about the museum sector, falling in love with the collections and the stories they told. I was hugely lucky to be able to learn from my colleagues, and work for a museum that whilst small, ran a successful learning programme and commissioned artists to produce public art, exhibitions and workshops. I developed skills in event planning, creating interactives and exhibition display.
The Museum had achieved round 1 funding from the then Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a bid for capital funding towards a redevelopment project. At the last hour, the Project Co-ordinator appointed to the role dropped out, and I was asked to ‘Act Up’. I was put on a three month secondment, and quite literally took a crash course in Project Co-ordination and working with HLF. I loved it and applied for the permanent position, and was fortunate enough to get it. I’m proud to say two years later we achieved our stage 2 funding of £4.3m. But after 2 years in the role, I felt ready to move on.
Making the move from Regional to National…
It was my manager who suggested I apply for the V&A position, and it just so happened when reading through the Job Specification that the project, whilst on a much larger scale, had many similarities to what i was doing now. I applied, and to be honest, I still can’t quite believe I got the role. I wander around the galleries on my way to meetings and have pinch me moments. And I feel hugely proud to be on the team delivering the new V&A in East London. Every day throws new challenges my way, and occasionally I have time to reflect at how far I have come since graduating, and I always think, ‘how did I get here?’ As I said at the start, I’ve been lucky that opportunities have come along, but I am a big believer in grabbing the bull by the horns, no matter how scary it can feel (perhaps it’s the Taurus in me?)
Follow Jasmine on twitter and Instagram @JasmineFarram