Adventures in volunteering

It’s Volunteers Week so who better to write a post than one of our amazing family of volunteers. Archie was a star member of our team last year and we’re delighted that he will be returning to us soon, though he has been very busy in the meantime! Over to you Archie!

So last year I joined the HODs team during the busy, pre-festival summer months. I was brought on as a general admin and media assistant and over the three months I worked at HODs found my feet writing festival highlights, blog posts and answering general enquiries. I spoke to probably hundreds of those involved in Heritage Open Days, from visitors making enquiries, to local coordinators and those promoting the events.

One of Archie's blogs last year highlighted some of the remarkable LGBTQ people of the past whose stories were told at HODs events

Got a favourite thing about HODs?

Okay, can I have three things? One, was the team in the office who really showed me the ropes and gave me a fantastic insight into the heritage and culture which can be shared all around England. That leads me to two, the diversity of the events, which really made me think about all the stories, ideas, people and places which make up our heritage. And three, I loved writing the blog-posts about the amazing events which happened last year, one of my favourites being the highlighting of LGBTQ stories at the Norwich Theatre Royal

Any take aways from it all?

A lot - almost too much to talk about in just a few sentences! There was the practical side of things, as this was my first office based job and I gained a great insight into the heritage and culture sector. But beyond this, I loved learning about LGBTQ heritage for last year’s Unsung Stories project, which has made me super excited about this year’s one involving Extraordinary Women.

Archie is now a 'Young Producer' at the National Gallery

The Young Producers at work in the National Gallery

What happened next?

Leaving HODs in September last year was mainly down to having to return to my degree studies, and I’ve recently finished my exams for my second year of a BA Politics degree.

More exciting for me though, I successfully applied for a position as a Young Producer at the National Gallery. I can safely say that working at HODs gave me the insight into the heritage and culture sector which grew my confidence and helped make me feel like I could contribute something to a space like the National Gallery.

The Young Producers programme has been challenging, but extremely rewarding. I’ve been involved in some fantastic projects. One of my favourite events that we’ve organised is an upcoming Gallery Late, on the 12th July to celebrate the exhibition of Thomas Cole’s work, and accompanying show of Ed Ruscha's art opening in the National Gallery. This will involve us organising a range of workshops, activities and talks to discuss changing landscapes, environmentalism and how this is depicted in arts and culture.

Anything else to report?

Yes- I simply couldn’t keep away! So this year, I’m hoping to come back to the HODs team very soon. To write a few more blogs, share some more amazing Unsung Stories and continue to answer inquiries from anyone asking anything about HODs!