Futures Festival

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This week the University of Cumbria hosted the first ever Futures Festival at the arts campus. It was three days of seminars, talks and workshops by university staff and external professionals.

I went to three workshops and four talks over the three days. It was extremely helpful and I gained knowledge I couldn’t have found anywhere else. I took part in workshops that were about how to use the skills I have gained at university in a potential job, and what jobs I can get with my degree apart from the obvious photography jobs. We had great discussions about how to present ourselves to potential employers, what kind of skills are useful in a job as well as at university and about applying for jobs that are not necessarily in the same field as your course. I chose the workshops that were relevant to me, the ones that could help me look at how I can extract elements from my course to use in other jobs that aren’t necessarily arts based. This is information I have been lacking throughout the course, and haven’t known where to turn for help until now.

I was given some very handy checklists to determine what my strengths are and what I might need to work on. The lists are extremely handy, and are a great reference for when I am applying for jobs:

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Out of curiosity, I went to a postgraduate talk. I know for certain that I am not going to do a masters degree now, but it is something I might look into in the future after gaining some experience in the ‘real world’. The talk consisted of an introduction to postgraduate study and then a presentation of each of the courses the University of Cumbria offers. They mentioned two subjects I would be interested in, Photography (of course) and something different called Creative Practice. Creative Practice is a mix of different disciplines and sounded like something I could see myself doing. I could have used a bit more practical information about the courses though, such as how many lecturers do you have and what are they about, and how much time do you get to work on your own projects.

After the talks, there was a social gathering in the gallery where myself and a few classmates talked to some of the lectures, mostly about our Degree Show. It was nice enough, but as we were only a couple of students there we felt a bit out of place. I took advantage of the event and picked up a bit of reading material to have a look at, especially the book about careers is useful.

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On the last day, I went to three talks by external speakers. It was extremely interesting and useful to listen to three professionals talk about their journey after university to the job they are in today. It is one of the things I am often wondering when listening to professionals taking about what they do, how did they get to do what they do? The most interesting one was Thomas Dukes who is the curator of the Open Eye gallery in Liverpool. Dukes made the discovery early on in his studies that he wasn’t interested in taking his own photographs, he was interested in playing around with others’ and curator would be a perfect job for him.

It was such a good event and I learned a lot about my possibilities after university, and since I am not planning on looking for a photography job, the workshops I attended was a huge help to me looking at what skills I have gained that I can transfer into a lot of other jobs.


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