Urbanlife: Nurturing future GLAM stars
Held in January, the Urbanlife Summer Youth Programme is a week-long Museum event which connects Auckland youth (15-24) with artists and taonga through a series of creative workshops and back-of-house tours. Participant Charlotte Hawkins shares her Urbanlife experience and how it has helped shape her career direction.
There are some experiences and opportunities that shape the way you view the world and carve the path to your future. This past week I have been lucky enough to be involved in such an experience with Urbanlife 2016. My name is Charlotte, I am 21 years old and I have just completed a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and English at the University of Auckland. I will be starting Honours in Museum Studies this year.
Applying for Urbanlife
I applied for this programme in December 2015 after my boyfriend sent me the information. He kept telling me to apply even though I didn’t believe I was good enough to get in… thank god he did because it has been one of the best week's of my life!
We were required to include our CV and cover letter along with a small creative piece about an experience we had in the Museum. I chose to write a poem about a young man who died in the First World War and whose name is now on the wall in the Hall of Memories. This was inspired by my boyfriend’s Great, Great Uncle who died at Gallipoli (W.Crickett).
I did not believe that I had produced anything even remotely good enough to get me entry, but I hoped. A few weeks later I got an email saying I had got in! I was so excited I ran around the room and jumped for joy!
The Urbanlife experience
I already have some experience in the GLAM sector as I work as an employee of Heritage New Zealand, but this programme has been a completely new and exciting thing for me. Getting the chance to meet other people who have similar passions as me was brilliant and I have made some friends for life. The first few days at the marae were one of the highlights for me. I have never been a part of a pōwhiri before; therefore I found the whole thing to be a culturally and spiritually beautiful experience. Sleeping in the whare was also exciting – although I think I was the only person who actually slept through!
We then got the chance to work with artists which was something I have never done before. I wouldn’t say I am an overly creative person, but our artist Benjamin Work and my group (a.k.a. Team Taniwha) helped nurture my (albeit tiny) flair to create a beautiful artwork. The following week we were working in the museum itself. My group got interviewed by New Zealand Herald, and the North Shore Times while we were painting which was very exciting.
New career goals
However by far the best part of the week was discovering what I hope to be my future vocation. Although I have always known I want to work within Heritage and GLAM, I did not know what it was I wanted to do. Through the numerous workshops and networking we did I was able to discover a strong interest in repatriation. This was something I never knew existed but sparked a fire within me. I have put in a request at the University to write my dissertation on repatriation and hope to find a future career in this. I have never been more excited!
The Urbanlife Programme, although very short has seriously been one of the best things I have ever done. I think every young person who wants to enter the GLAM Sector should strive to do something like this. It has opened my eyes to the different jobs and paved the way for me to getting into such a job. There has been nothing as cool as this - thank you so much to Amiria and the team for letting me do this! You haven’t seen the last of me!
Post by: Charlotte Hawkins
Charlotte was born in Nuneaton, England and moved to New Zealand with her family in 2002. Charlotte was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 18, but this has not stopped her working hard to achieve her goals.
She is very passionate about history and heritage, completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and English in 2015 at the University of Auckland. She works at Heritage New Zealand as a Visitor Host, and is now undergoing an Honours degree in Museum Studies with the aim of continuing her career in the GLAMs sector.