This post comes from our former student Erika Mellor, who graduated in BA History in 2014/15.
Like many people faced with the ever terrifying idea of leaving the safe haven that is university life, my prospects narrowed down into two realistic options: work or postgraduate study. For me, the choice was relatively easy. I knew the field in which I wanted to work, so I would either spend the rest of my life volunteering in museums until I was eventually given a job (when I was closer to retirement!), or I would go on to further study and hopefully make myself more employable.
I first found out about the course I decided upon, Museum and Heritage Studies at Liverpool Hope University, through my dissertation topic which was based on the city’s heritage and museums. The course covers practically every level of working, running and educating in the museum and heritage sector (even a module that included reading by former UoG lecturer Iain Robertson, which was a bit of a surprise). The course is unique in that the majority of the teaching is done within the National Museums Liverpool, an organisation of 7 museums and galleries that has become the largest organisation of nationalised museums outside of London.
Within these different museums and galleries that cover everything from dinosaurs to portraits of monarchs, Egyptology to the history of Liverpool, we regularly meet professionals, work in different departments and complete a work placement. My placement is with the ‘House of Memories’ project, which has become a nationwide educational resource in combatting the social alienation of older people. The idea of using museums for social justice is something that I will be taking further throughout the rest of my MA as it will make up a large proportion of my dissertation. Both the taught course and the work placement have allowed me not only to generate an understanding of working in a museum but have provided me a way of building contacts within that sector. In the same way I learnt as an undergraduate to never say no to free food, as a postgraduate I have learnt to never to say no to creating contacts.
Although I am pleased that I have this new education challenge, I owe a lot to the University of Gloucestershire. The various opportunities the History course provided allowed me to develop not only academically, but in many other ways too. Throughout my time in my undergraduate course, I was enthusiastic to say the least. I was course rep, I ran the History Society, I took part in various events hosted by the university such as conferences, open days, and an internship in the University archives that has since got me a paid job. All of these gave me experience, practice and most importantly the confidence to go further.
I doubt I would be on an MA in a fabulous, if windy, city without the opportunities provided at the University of Gloucestershire and support of its wonderful lecturers and staff.