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The combination of interactive teaching and placements at Southwell Minster and the Bonington Gallery greatly improved my knowledge and confidence and helped me realise I did have transferable skills.

More about Tamsin

NTU alumna, Tamsin Greaves, studied MA Museum and Heritage Development, and graduated in 2021. Tamsin shares her experience as a mature student, how her degree shaped her career journey and her exciting plans of studying a PhD with NTU in Autumn 2022.

Why did you choose to study at NTU?

I chose NTU for the creative nature of the course and the combination of academic study with practical learning. Realistically as a mature student with a family, the location was also a factor, but the course met my expectations, I produced a podcast, created a video game as well as an exhibition of photographs and poems.

What did you learn – both inside and outside of lectures?

I hugely enjoyed the participatory style of the lectures, there were always many opportunities to discuss and explore ideas with tutors and other students. I really missed this when we had to move online for the duration of the pandemic. Prior to covid, we had several field trips to museums and heritage sites and would have benefitted from many more. Working as a team to develop a community project at the Framework Knitters’ Museum was a highlight, I never imagined I would be writing a knitting pattern for a beard when I started my M.A! I also became aware of the potential for social justice in museum practice which is the area I am now involved with.

What does your current day involve?

I run the Art Power project at Mansfield Museum which involves delivering creative workshops connecting to museum objects and artworks for vulnerable women. I love doing this! I work in a team which has a totally positive can-do attitude, everybody wants to make it work which is so great. I have referrals from services who support women in difficulty and organise artists and an art therapist to offer art workshops. Seeing the participants flourish, make friends and develop pride in creation is such a joy!

What attracted you to this field of work?

I have been an art teacher in a secondary school for many years so have been aware of the therapeutic effects of hands-on art activities for a long time. Combining this practice of ‘real thing’ encounters between artworks and vulnerable participants, without the oppressive accountability and target driven school environment, suits me well.

How has your degree influenced your career?

The combination of interactive teaching and placements at Southwell Minster and the Bonington Gallery greatly improved my knowledge and confidence and helped me realise I did have transferable skills.

What challenges have you faced?

I was diagnosed with breast cancer two months before starting my part-time MA and at first thought I would have to give it up, however, my partner convinced me to give it a try and he was right!

I am sure that studying at NTU during chemotherapy and then surgery actually had a really positive effect on living through treatment.

What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?

Ensuring the women leave the museum feeling more positive than when they arrived is the highlight and encouraging them through the door in the first place is the biggest challenge.

What are your plans for the future?

Thanks to the encouragement of my tutors and the enjoyment I have found in studying I applied for a funded studentship at NTU and will be beginning a PhD called ‘Art Cares’ this autumn. My fieldwork will take place at the museum where I work and will explore how creative workshops in museum spaces can improve the wellbeing of vulnerable participants.

If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?

Keep going! I applied for many jobs before I was successful, I put in a lot of hard work preparing for interviews and coped with multiple disappointments. I kept going though, and finally found this job where I feel my input can make a difference - which is a great feeling!

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