The North East Emerging Museum Professionals Group (NEEMPG) is a new networking group set up to help those in the early stages of their museum, art gallery and heritage career.
Hannah Mather, who graduated from Newcastle University in 2016 with an MA in Museum Studies, launched the group in April and here she tells us all about NEEMPG, its aims and hopes for the future.
What is NEEMPG and why did you set it up?
It’s a networking group aimed not just at early stage professionals. We’re providing a fun and enthusiastic environment for members by welcoming new ideas and allowing them to comfortably ask questions, give honest advice and receive support. By building relationships with other professionals we can learn from one another, more established professionals can share their experience while those just starting out bring fresh ideas to the sector.
The group has very diverse members, ranging from dedicated volunteers to students all of which have a common interest in museums, history and heritage.
We’re about encouraging professional development but also representing and unifying the diverse roles within the sector. The Group is also keen to reach out to the numerous volunteers in this sector, who may be helping at museums and want to extend their networks and build their knowledge. We are celebrating the huge contribution that volunteers make to the museums sector and the benefits of being involved.
Sharing advice and good practice is essential for early career professionals, and the forum allows us to do just that. It’s great to be able to engage with people in this way, helping to open doors and to help each other.
How does NEEMPG work?
It’s very social media based at the moment, through Facebook and Twitter. One of the group’s key aims is to encourage participation in professional development opportunities, so we’ve been using the platforms to post or retweet about placements, jobs, exhibitions and the like, particularly those in the North East.
As well as the social media profile, we will be organising events too, meet-ups and socials, going to exhibitions as a group – so there is the real chance to meet and build networks.
How have things gone so far?
It’s been very popular. The interesting has been amazing, we have exceeded 100 members on both Facebook and Twitter in just a few weeks which is very encouraging. Members are inter-acting with each other, sharing opportunities and good practice. It’s great to be able to engage with people in this way, particularly opening doors and sharing knowledge.
Are there similar groups around the country?
Yes, NEEMPG is part of a growing network of EMP groups in the UK. There are currently two other EMP groups which we are working closely with, one in the West Midlands and another in London. I see this group which is based in the North East as an opportunity to celebrate what is being achieved in this region and not only do we wish to help professionals here but also to engage and build relationships with other groups and professionals around the country.
What’s next for NEEMPG?
As for the future, we want the group to be very much about unity. Currently, we are North-East based, but we will be build our engagement and connections with the existing groups around the country. That will allow us to grow and to organise bigger events and meet up. It would be great to be part of a nation-wide network of early professionals working and volunteering in the museums sector. We are also currently working on exciting outreach which will allow us to connect with other areas both nationally and eventually internationally.
You can also follow the group on Twitter @NEEMPG