Molly Goyer Gorman
Where are you now?
After completing my MA, I was offered a job as Development Officer (maternity cover) for Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre in Glagow. This role involved fundraising, monitoring and evaluation and general profile-raising activities for an inclusive youth-led theatre company which works with 500 young people per year in areas of multiple deprivation. I also regularly assisted with delivering/supporting activities for young people such as drama workshops and theatre trips.
I am now back at Queen’s doing a PhD in the School of Creative Arts. I began in January 2015 and expect to finish in Jan 2018. My topic is the social value of youth theatre in rural areas of Northern Ireland. I am funded through a DEL studentship.
I hope to build a career either in academic or as a freelance arts evaluation and research consultant.
How did you get there?
For my PhD: My previous academic track record and my professional experience in the youth theatre sector were invaluable to me achieving this role. I also benefitted from considerable support in making the application from my now-supervisor David Grant.
For my job with Toonspeak: My 9-month placement with Young at Art, which began as part of my Arts Management MA, helped me secure the job with Toonspeak because my placement gave me experience in fundraising and project management. I also completed a course in Microsoft Excel 2013 which Toonspeak seemed impressed by. My experience and knowledge in the youth theatre sector and my obvious passion and enthusiasm were also key I think.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
Prior to my job interview with Toonspeak I did two practice interviews with the Careers Service. The second one, with Diane Masson, was invaluable and I believe it was really instrumental in helping me get the job. Diane took time to familiarise herself thoroughly with the job description and person specification before the practice interview. At my request, she also asked me many ‘hard’ questions so that I was prepared for these when they arose in the real interview.
Advice for current Queen's students
Gain work experience in your chosen field. Especially in the arts, the ‘way in’ is often through volunteering, as this shows passion and commitment but often also gives you the opportunity to develop skills.
Make the most of the careers service for CV support and especially for practice interviews. Get them to ask you lots of hard questions!
Also speak to people within the sector. During my year at Toonspeak, they arranged for me to have a Career Mentor, who was an experienced arts fundraiser. I met with her once a month for lunch and we discussed any career-related questions or challenges I had. I would highly recommend having a Career Mentor – someone working in the sector whom you respect. The advantages of mentoring are gaining increasing recognition through initiatives such as this http://www.scottishtheatre.org/training-development/mentoring.
I now have another Career Mentor for my PhD period, who is also my External Supervisor. She is a successful freelance arts consultant and I made contact with her independently. We meet for lunch once every couple of months and she is helping me access some freelance work.
Don’t be discouraged by job rejections. I applied for 8 jobs and attended 2 interviews before being offered the job at Toonspeak. Review your performance, ask for feedback (nicely) and make each rejection an opportunity for learning.