Nerd Nite!

Hi all. I just want to say how proud I am of myself for having a super successful Nerd Nite talk on Tuesday. I am going to toot my own horn. It was great. People were engaged. People asked thoughtful questions. And, I got applause from answering those questions thoughtfully. I am so pleased.

As I wrote before, I really forced myself to go through a clear, detailed planning process. It paid off. I promise you that the work is worth it. Starting from scratch, even if you’ve done it before, is fully worth it.

I wanted to share my slide deck (pdf). It makes no sense without me talking over it, however, I would be happy to talk you through it. I’m also proud of how beautiful it is. Mega credits to my incomparable Beaty Museum team for the photos, which are available to all through a creative commons license.


If anyone knows how to embed a pdf or google slides directly in wordpress, it would be much appreciated.


Planning Talks

So I am fortunate enough to be invited to speak at Nerd Nite Vancouver again. I am super excited. Different venue from before, newer crowd, and new topic.

I wanted to take the time to show my planning process. In a previous post, I went through my recommended planning strategy, and often friends ask me: do you really do that? Short answer, yes.
Long answer, mostly. Every talk is different and needs different things. Sometimes I can skip steps because I’ve already done the work, or someone else has. But, this time, I’m forcing myself to do every step. 

It’s worth it. The photo is what I’m up to, right now. I’m getting in touch with my audience (two beers in… loud space). I’m drawing my slides out one by one.

And you know what? I feel really creative. 

Underappreciation and Over Expectations: Modern Art, Ancient Wages

The next time you visit a museum, gallery, archive, or accredited aquarium, please consider all of the people who LOVE their jobs and do not get fairly compensated. If you can, please pay admission, add to a donation box, or purchase a membership to express your appreciation for the work that educators, curators, researchers, designers, administrators, maintenance workers, builders, volunteers, and others do to make a museum a wonderful place to visit.

Museums are a part of our culture and heritage, and encourage learning as a part of our every day life. We need to show our support by going to museums and galleries and telling museums and galleries what we want as a society (so that it is inclusive and enjoyable for everyone).

No one gets into museum work expecting to make a fortune, but everyone should expect to be able to make ends meet, especially when said museum is not zeroing out each year. The MoMA protest explains this to a tee.

Read a summary of the June 2 MoMA protest here.

The museum has been in negotiations with Local 2110, which represents more than 200 MoMA employees, since early May. There have already been four negotiation sessions, with a fifth due to take place Wednesday morning. Though the workers’ contract, last renegotiated in 2010 without complications, expired on May 20, the museum and union agreed to extend it by 30 days, through June 20. MoMA’s Local 2110 members have not had to strike since 2000, when the main bargaining chips included healthcare coverage, salaries, and threats of layoffs. Now, as the museum prepares for another expansion and its assets and endowment continue to grow — according to the institution’s financial statements for fiscal year 2014, its endowment and investments were worth $838.9 million in June 2014, up from $706.3 million a year earlier — it is demanding workers pay more for healthcare coverage.

I am very fortunate to have landed where I have, where we have a union that fights for us, but we are generally under-funded and expected to make sacrifices that other workplaces would find unreasonable. We make miracles with shoe string budges and high expectations, and most other museums make those same miracles with even less.

The passion for preserving the past and sending it into the future is so overwhelming that it blinds us to the needs of our staff as people.

Again, I am very fortunate, and I hope that we can all recognize if this is the case and fight for those who are out of options. Please continue to support museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions, allowing the physical museums to live and grow, along with the people supporting their walls.

Pulling together a Portfolio

There’s nothing more satisfying than going through all of your past projects and documents and pulling out the most exciting projects to show people. A portfolio is one of the best ways to showcase your skills to a potential employer. Here are my tips to help you stay focused during the process:

  • Develop a cohesive “brand” for yourself. Use templates and consistent fonts for your cover page, resume, cover letter, CV, and indexes. NB BrandDepending on your field of work, this may be more or less creative. All of my pages include this blue/green logo, complimentary formatting, and consistent fonts.
  • Now that you have a cohesive look and feel, your random mismatched documents will feel less haphazard, and seem more purposeful.
  • Go through your paper and digital files and pull out about twenty things you think are extra special and showcase your skills.
  • Re-read the job description.
  • Cull your portfolio items down. Make sure that each item speaks directly to an element in the job description.
  • Assemble your portfolio, including:
    • Extra copies of your resume and references.
    • An in-depth (and accurate) CV. This is where you can list any web-based portfolio items.
    • Make sure all the pages are organized into categories, stacks, page protectors, dividers – whatever makes the most sense.
    • Make sure all of the pages are tidy and you are using a clean portfolio (binder, duotang, etc)
  • Consider a digital portfolio, if applicable.
  • Show a friend or colleague ahead of time!

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to think it through and assemble it. It should help you focus on your interview/job hunt, and refresh your memory of your favourite projects and tasks.

Am I missing any of your favourite tips?