One of the things that attracted me to Kent was the wide choice of modules, which reflects the varied research interests of the staff – I knew I’d never be bored.
My favourite module covered avant-garde and experimental cinemas – it was eye-opening, immersive and challenged our notions of what cinema is and what it can do. I also loved doing my independent project.
One of the reasons I chose Kent was the opportunity to study abroad. I spent a year in Berlin at the Freie Universität studying film. It’s a huge cliché but it really was one of the best years of my life.
I discovered a lot of German film and social history that I hadn’t encountered before and studying in German massively improved my language abilities. Berlin is a brilliant place to be a student as it’s cheap and full of culture. But the most important thing for me was the confidence boost and lifelong friendships I made.
I knew from the first few weeks I was going to enjoy the academic side, but I also made brilliant friends editing InQuire (the student newspaper) and starting a society, as well as running screenings for Film Soc and volunteering as a Welcome Helper.
The careers service at Kent helped me a lot with my successful application for a six-month Creative Skillset traineeship in media archiving. Although I’m not working in the archive sector now, I loved every second of it and it really set me up for working life in general.
I think this traineeship helped me get a post at the BFI as an editorial assistant on the amazing archive digitisation project Unlocking Film Heritage. The knowledge I gained during my degree was essential here too. I remember answering questions about Humphrey Jennings in my interview and thinking, “Thank god for that History of British Cinema module!” That role really was a dream come true.
At the moment, I work for the Science Museum Group as an assistant website content editor. There are five museums in the group, which means five websites and lots of blogs, microsites and other legacy content.
My week usually starts with a discussion with my boss, the website editor, about the week’s priorities, which can include content migration, proofreading, editing and image research, plus any other ad hoc requests that might come in from staff across the museums.
Both at the BFI and in my current role, I think the writing and editing skills honed during my degree have helped a lot.
In the cultural sector a lot of work is project based, which means shorter contracts are the norm. That said, I love editorial work and I’m excited by the possibilities of digital technologies for telling stories with museum and archive collections, so I’m going to try and stay in this area. I also desperately want to study for an MA in something film-related, but at the moment that’s not possible financially. One day!
If you’re thinking about university, I’d say study something you’re excited about. It doesn’t have to be an area you want to have a career in – so many of the skills you pick up are transferable. If you’re doing something you’re passionate about, other things tend to slot into place.
Also, take advantage of the amazing year abroad options at Kent. And join a club – finding people who share your passions and doing something together is one of the best bits of uni life.
*The introductory paragraph was updated in November 2019 to reflect Harriet’s new job title