Chris Padget is an MA graduate from the University of Leicester Museum Studies department, and has previously gained a BA degree in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Leeds. He joined the York Archaeological Trust Marketing Department in October 2016, and has since worked on a variety of campaigns including JORVIK Viking Festival 2017, the reopening of JORVIK Viking Centre and Museum Week 2017. Here he discusses his time working for YAT so far, as well as his ambitions for the future.
What I hoped to achieve at the outset
I joined York Archaeological Trust as a recent Museum Studies graduate from the University of Leicester. In starting one of my main objectives was to build an understanding of marketing and communications in a heritage environment, developing and expanding upon skills gained in my academic career. The ability to deliver clear and appealing messages to the public is of growing importance to the heritage sector, and something I was keen to build up my knowledge of.
As well as this, the chance to be part of the reopening of an internationally significant attraction was extremely attractive, and from this I hoped to establish a working insight into the practical challenges a major redevelopment can create, but also the opportunities it provides for building an engaging marketing campaign.
What skills I hoped to learn at the outset
One of my main goals was to increase an understanding of the various digital platforms popular throughout the museum sector, which are pervasive in marketing plans within the industry; particularly Social Media channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. In addition I wanted to learn about web design and the way websites can perform as effective mediums for inspiring interest in the attraction.
What I have achieved to date
Working on the re-imagining of JORVIK Viking Centre has been a fantastic, revealing experience. During this time I have enjoyed many successes, among them the JORVIK Museum Week campaign on social media, which engaged a significant number of followers in the story of Vikings and the centre itself.
Another achievement was a major signage review across all five attractions which make up The JORVIK Group. This led to an improvement in the overall marketing message delivered to the customer, both in terms of consistency and aesthetic appeal.
I have been involved in several major events as a member of the YAT team, and helping to realise these have been among my favourite achievements. The JORVIK Viking Festival is a city wide celebration of Norse culture, and I was tasked with assisting on different aspects including market research, photography, event management, press liaison and Social Media. It really was a unique project, and I am proud to have been part of a team that created unforgettable moments for over 50,000 visitors.
What new skills I have learnt and what skills I have improved
Perhaps the most important skill I have developed is a confidence to take on projects and lead them from early planning stages all the way through to completion. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with a certain amount of independence on things such as Museum Week and other Social Media campaigns and am sure this will be a skill of major benefit to me in my future career.
How the internship has benefitted my career so far
Working within the marketing department I have found the experience of being part of a small dynamic team tremendously useful, as it has allowed me to gain an awareness of how different people with different skill sets can collaborate to achieve results. The challenges we face day to day are very varied, so learning to operate in tandem with my colleagues has been of immense benefit to my career so far.
What I hope to learn in the next phase
I am looking forward to continuing my work, and want to expand my skills in areas such as photography, video recording and editing, and print design. These are aspects of marketing that can be relevant to a range of projects. By learning more about them I hope to expand the number of roles I can fulfill within the team.
What I want to improve in the next phase
Although I am happy with how things have gone so far, I do feel improvements in my organisational approach would allow me to make better use of my time; for example a more efficient work schedule would help me to continue swiftly with multiple projects simultaneously. This is something I have made progress with, but will continue to improve over the coming months.
How I would like to use the learning in my future career
In the immediate future I am looking forward to taking an active role in the summer calendar of The JORVIK Group, implementing what I have learnt about Social Media by creating innovative online content which I hope will generate interest in these exciting events.
Looking further ahead, I would potentially like to progress into other areas of the museum discipline, such as exhibition research and design. For now though I am excited about continuing my career in the marketing department, and I know the skills I have learned here will be of great use whatever I choose to do in the future.
If the internship has given me new ideas about my career
My time at JORVIK has given me plenty of ideas about how marketing and communications can be used to enhance the museum, particularly in the sense of complementing the visitor’s physical experience with digital engagement opportunities through Social Media and websites. Working with experienced marketers has allowed me to understand that well planned campaigns can increase the significance of a museum in people’s lives. I look forward to developing this further in my future career, and hope to ultimately devise my own marketing projects in the future to utilise the fascinating stories held within museums and bring them to wider and more diverse audiences.
If the internship has clarified or enhanced my ambitions
Being able to work on the reopening of an internationally significant attraction has made me aware of the opportunities a career in museums can offer. Seeing the JORVIK project brought to fruition has confirmed my desire to work within large scale institutions that approach their subject creatively and deliver exciting and educational experiences for their visitors.
How I think my internship has benefitted YAT
I hope my efforts have helped YAT to deliver a marketing campaign which has brought the story of JORVIK and its re-imagining to a national, and indeed international audience. When I began working for the trust my ambition was to play my part in a successful project, attracting new visitors to discover what life was like over 1,000 years ago and inspiring a fascination with the Vikings for people who otherwise may not have been interested in the subject; JORVIK today is an exciting, vibrant attraction, and I am happy to say I have been involved in making this happen.