Shifting focus: October 2013


The end of October nears, and I have reached the grand old age of 22. Neither Lily Allen nor Taylor Swift have offered their personal congratulations, which strikes me as downright rude.

I am also approaching the end of my contract with the National Galleries of Scotland. The Peter Doig exhibition finishes up on 3 November and so the Galleries, rather than fattening up for winter, are saying goodbye to their temporary (summer) staff.

My other Galleries involvement, volunteering with the Press Office, has another couple of weeks to run. I have learned some useful media tidbits, for example how one should treat arts journalists coming to review an exhibition (the answer: give them free coffee and cake), as well as getting to grips with the Galleries’ Facebook and Pinterest accounts and researching pandas and artists’ birthdays.

Moving from NGS to BUCS, the World University Winter Games will become the greatest focus of my attention during November, as I have taken on the role of media officer for the Great Britain team participating in the event.

This month we had our Team GBR Briefing Meeting, which allowed me to meet the administrative and coaching staff heading out to Trentino and also to be introduced to the content management system I will be using (and no doubt shouting at) during December to get the news out. At least I’ll have Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/Instagram to keep me distracted.

Then there are the winter sports. I have watched a few ice hockey matches in my time, but curling, skiing and snowboarding are something of an unknown for me. But I am excited about covering them, not least for having seen a little of what to expect here.

And so my Trentino to-do list expands. Prod press contacts. Compile athlete bios. Read up on curling. Learn some Italian phrases. Prod press contacts again. Puzzle out what the big fuss over Instagram is all about.

Anyway, I will have to consider the long term as well. My graduate blogs up to now have essentially covered working in the Galleries, covering World University Games and learning to drive (I still haven’t killed anyone, in case you were wondering).

Once 2014 comes around, I will be looking to launch into something called a career. The bits and pieces I’ve done up to now – The Saint, STAR, volunteering and work placements (oh, and my degree) – have merely been the preparation.

I’m pleased with my history degree. I studied a subject I enjoy for four years in the quite delightful St Andrews and ended up with a piece of paper that qualifies me in that subject. I’m incredibly fortunate.

But unless I wanted to go into teaching – which I don’t, given my aversion towards children, one only reinforced by the little monster who came into the Peter Doig exhibition yesterday – or further historical academia – again, unlikely – that piece of paper will not do me a great deal of good.

So, rather than satisfying myself with little glimpses into how press and media work – as enjoyable and eye-opening as those have been – I have, somewhat belatedly, recognised the need to study journalism… shorthand, media law and the whole caboodle.

By the time of my next blog, I should have plenty more for you about Trentino and whatever may lie beyond that.


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