I undertook my MA work placement with Manchester Histories Festival. I was happy to be placed with them, having done my BA degree in History and volunteered with MHF during the March 2014 Festival, an experience I absolutely loved.
The brief described the role title as ‘Project Co-ordinator’ and detailed how:
‘The student placement will work alongside the Director and support them in the development and delivery of on-going community engagement projects and planning for the next Manchester Histories Festival in 2016. There will be opportunities to attend public meetings and engage with community partners. There will also be an element of research and writing to support the social media development of Manchester Histories through its web, Twitter and Facebook communication.’
I have always been passionate about Manchester and its richly varied history (and a proud Manc!) so being able to undertake a placement where I could engage with that, meet interesting people with similar values and help to promote Manchester Histories in the process was really exciting.
The director, Claire Turner, was incredibly helpful not only in terms of her guidance, but her willingness to allow me undertake tasks I was personally interested in (whilst of course, catering them to the needs of the organisation). I spent my placement participating in a variety of tasks, learning a lot about how cultural festivals operate. Since Manchester Histories is a small organisation that is increasing in popularity, I felt lucky to be working with it during a time of importance for its expansion. I attended meetings with partners of MHF, including community groups, academics and other cultural institutions across the city, giving me the opportunity to do a lot of networking!
I spent the majority of my placement developing a digital engagement strategy to build upon the existing Twitter and Facebook social media platforms of the festival, and got the opportunity to design campaigns based on my own ideas and undertake a lot of really eye-opening research into the benefits and importance of social media for cultural organisations today.
I feel like I learned a lot of valuable, transferable skills during my placement. This unit allows a really unique experience of cultural practice and MHF gave me a really enjoyable one. I will be continuing my work with MHF, volunteering with them at least until the festival in June 2016.