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National Careers Week: How I became a Research Assistant at the Devil’s Porridge Museum

By March 4, 2021No Comments

 

 

National Careers Week happens every year from 1st – 6th March. It provides support for young people who are deciding on a career and free resources for everyone embarking on a career! As someone who has just recently finished with formal education, I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little about my route into the heritage and museum sector. As World Book Day coincides with National Careers Week, I thought I’d hop on the trend and design my own Research Assistant book cover!

 

My story begins with my education. After GCSE’s and A-Levels, I went to University and studied Law. Midway through my law degree I realised that I was far more interested in the history of law than actually practicing it. After I completed my first degree, I studied for an MA in Historical Research. I loved studying for my MA–I learnt so much about historical approaches and archival research, and it made me realise that I wanted to work in history.

Me at my Masters graduation.

After my MA, I began my PhD at the Open University in Legal History. My research was all about two women who were early women barristers and suffrage activists. I had THE BEST time researching and writing my thesis. I gave talks to academic conferences, wrote blogposts and articles for websites and was even interviewed by the National Gallery.

I even dressed up as a suffragette to deliver a talk to my local Rainbow group!

Whilst I was doing my PhD, I also volunteered to get some more experience in the heritage sector. I used the skills I’d acquired through my PhD research and also learnt more, like how to conduct oral history interviews. All of my volunteering was so so rewarding on top of being great for my CV. I even did an interview on local Radio to promote the Market800 project, which celebrates the 800th anniversary of Loughborough’s market charter!

I think the other aspect of my journey to becoming a Research Assistant that was integral was a passion for history. I love learning about the past, and I love sharing new things I’ve found. I find it endlessly interesting! A big part of my job is reading old books and looking at artefacts and documents in the archive, and every time I find a new tidbit of information that wasn’t known before I get a little buzz.

I hope sharing my story of my career so far is helpful in some way, if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Either put them in the comments below or email me at laura@devilsporridge.org.uk.

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