Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Georgia Evans

Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Georgia Evans

Young cultural heritage professionals
CHARTER has partnered with the European Heritage Hub to present a new series of interviews featuring young cultural heritage professionals. On this occasion, we will engage in dialogue with members of various organisations-members of the consortium who are, in various capacities and positions participating in this EU-funded project, to explore their perspectives on navigating the complexities of entering the sector, how their education has equipped them with the necessary skills and competencies, and their visions for the future of heritage!

New profile on the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals series:

Young cultural heritage professionals

What was your motivation to enter the cultural heritage field? Was it your first option?

I’ve had a lifelong passion for history, in particular book history and how our cultural heritage is expressed through the written word. When I graduated from my BA, it wasn’t immediately clear to me how I could translate this interest into my professional work, and, as I loved writing and editing, I started working in communications. I really enjoyed this, but when I did my Masters, my interest was reignited and I started looking for ways that I could combine my enjoyment of working in comms and editorial with my love for cultural heritage, and applying for jobs in the cultural sector.

 

How was/is your transition from studying to working?

When I first started working after completing my BA, I found it hard to go from having an incredibly specific focus (when, for example, you are writing a thesis) to an environment where varied knowledge and different skills were often needed to get a job done. However, when I went back to studying for my MA, I saw the value of skills developed both from studying and working, which supported the transition back to education – and then back again to professional work.

 

How are you looking/looked for a job in heritage?  And how do you experience/experienced the phase of search and application?

I think that initially my idea of what a ‘job in heritage’ could be was quite limited – I was only looking for roles based in museums! Through my Masters, I started to gain a new understanding of the variety the sector offered, and to expand my search to network organisations dealing with heritage or humanities centres at universities. I used X (Twitter as it was then) and LinkedIn to help my search, and also directly checked organisational websites for opportunities; when I was searching for a job in heritage, I was also looking to move to the Netherlands, and was fortunate that there are a number of international heritage bodies based here, which helped me to identify organisations where I wanted to work.

 

What skills and competences do you notice are demanded the most in job offers?

It depends so much on the field that you work in and the role that you are going for, but I think that project management skills and digital literacy come up a lot, either as explicit or implicit requirements.

 

Based on the profiles of job positions, do you notice skills or competences that your education didn’t provide you with?

Following on from my answer above, I think that project management and digital skills are not often ‘formally’ taught in education (unless of course that’s what you’re studying). But they are often informally developed, and I think it’s important to value all the other ways that young people may have shown that they have these skills.

 

How do you think young people can be attracted to work in heritage? Do you have proposals?

I think that the issue is not so much attracting young people to work in heritage – there are so many examples of initiatives which show them leading the way! – but supporting young people to work in heritage. This of course needs to take the form of fairly paid internships and entry-level roles, but what I also think is important is helping people new in the sector to develop a network. Offering chances for young people to connect with professionals and initiatives in turn gives them access to new opportunities, whether that is hearing about an open job role, exchanging with someone who works in their field of interest, or even just hearing about a relevant event or training opportunity. 

For anyone looking for these networks – I would really recommend becoming a member of ESACH, the European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage, or the Europeana Network Association. In my role, I’ve been lucky enough to work on building new connections between these organisations, and together they are creating new opportunities to help new professionals and young people to develop relationships in the sector.

 

How do you see the future of the cultural heritage field?

Working at the Europeana Foundation, I see it as digital! I think that the digital transformation of the sector will help to preserve and protect our heritage at risk, but also mean that more people can access it for research, education and enjoyment. And for digital transformation we need digital skills, which young people can bring to the sector, and should also be supported to develop as they enter it.

Alongside digital, I also hope that the future of the sector will encompass environmental and social dimensions – a ‘triple transformation’ that aligns with the European Commission’s ambitions for a digital, green and social Europe. I’m fortunate to be working in an organisation that shares these ambitions, and am excited to see what shape they take in the future!  

 

 

About the European Heritage Hub

The European Heritage Hub is a two-year pilot project launched in May 2023 by a consortium of 20 partners, led by Europa Nostra and co-funded by the European Union, to set up a permanent and autonomous heritage hub in Europe.

Youth presence in the consortium is ensured by the partnership between Hispania Nostra and ESACH who are in charge of the coordination of youth activities throughout the project. ESACH, as a youth-led network of around 400 students and young professionals, contributes to the consortium as an associated partner and ensures the presence of younger generations in the debates and Hub activities. Learn more here!

 

You can find all CHARTER’s Young Cultural Heritage Professionals interviews here!

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