Alice Varah

Alice Varah

Alice Varah, Intern at The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

BA English (2016)

Alice graduated in English in 2016 and completed a Graduate Business Partner internship at The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

To reveal expert advice from Alice, click on the questions below.

To find out more about Graduate Business Partner (GBP) internships, click here.

Studying English at Exeter was a very enriching experience. It not only broadened my horizons in terms of literature, film, and schools of thought, it also gave me the tools and the confidence to pursue a career in the heritage and culture sector. I learnt how to write well, research effectively, and manage deadlines. The incredible variety of the modules – and the supportive tutors – enabled me to try new things and to live outside of my comfort zone.

This desire to take the initiative extended to life as well as my studies. When I realised that I could not go on a year abroad, I spoke to Exeter’s Study Abroad team who found me the next best solution. After my second year ended, I enrolled on a summer school course, Text – Memory – Monument: The use of the past in Italian Renaissance Culture, provided by Aarhus University in Rome. I lived in the city for two weeks and visited many beautiful churches, libraries, and museums. That experience, along with my degree, inspired me to find out more about the heritage and culture sector. The perfect opportunity arose with the GBP curatorial internship, a position available to Exeter graduates only.

I work at The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum in the Old Library. My main role consists of being a researcher for a project. This project will determine the extent to which the museum's collections have been used by academics in their research and events since the museum opened to the public in 1997. A significant part of my day is spent gathering information from various sources and putting it together in a large Excel database. I also do a variety of other activities, such as: cataloguing new items on the museum’s online catalogue, preparing materials for classes, and assisting with the organisation of displays.

Talking to people who work in the heritage and culture sector is the best place to start. Getting experience is also very valuable. You could do volunteering at your local museum or apply for work experience placements and internships. By doing these things you will get different opinions and can find out which area might suit you. The following websites provide lots of information: the Museums Association, Leicester University Museums Jobs Desk, Global Museum, and My Career Zone - the Career Research section is very helpful, particularly Museums, Archives and Archaeology. This webpage has many more links to useful sources. It is a very competitive sector and so further study is nearly always a must. There are lots of options, however, you could do a diploma, other short courses, or do a Masters course (full time or part-time).

I would advise students to start thinking about things early and to really make use of the holidays. It is difficult to think about what you want to do next when you have loads of essays, a dissertation etc. However, it is best to be one step ahead and to organise things for later because the time after Graduation can be a little daunting.