Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Ted Oakes

Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Ted Oakes

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?

Two reasons, a love of history which I did my masters in, and secondly, I began volunteering in a museum after I graduated, and this inspired my interested in the heritage sector.


How was/is your transition from studying to working?

I was doing my PhD while working, so the transition was complicated. But to get work in the heritage sector, it was tough. And it was several years before I was secure.


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

I started with an internship. I was lucky that an internship was converted into a job but this is not the case for everyone. And searching for jobs has never been easy, a lot of job-hunting is down to networking and also luck.


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

Project management is one of the most important skills I have seen. Many people in the sector have poor skills in this area. Also strong personal skills are a plus.


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

I did a second masters in Dublin in cultural policy and arts management and it actually prepared me very well for my career. I would highly recommend it.


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

I have never considered a strategy, I would think that priority should be given to ensure a well-rounded and balanced education, with a focus on transferable skills that can enable entry into the heritage sector.


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

Complex. It is a fascinating area of work but very difficult to build a career in. It also remains largely unprofessionalised, only the younger generations are usually trained or have cultural management education. This needs to be changed in the future to ensure management in this sector is efficient and robust and effective.



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!

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