Being an international in the creative sector

 10 April 2017

Julie Bécaud is a MA student in English, Culture and Tourism from France and is currently working for Brooklands Museum in Surrey as their marketing intern. She explains her creative journey and what it’s like being an international in the UK creative sector.

"I needed a job to get experience but needed experience to get a job." Credit: Julie Bécaud

As a French student, I was full of hopes when I decided to build my career in the cultural sector in the United Kingdom.

What I did not know was that my career would be threatened by Brexit and that my bunch of diplomas, my enthusiasm and my French smile would not be enough to find a job.

My experience with finding internships

At the end of my Masters, I began looking for a job and this is where I faced my first issue.

I needed a job to get experience but needed experience to get a job.

Having multiple cultures should never be flattened but on the contrary, put forward

And despite my previous experience as a volunteer in a gallery, I realised I wouldn’t get any further without doing an internship in the UK.

This is where I faced my second issue, unpaid internships.

In France back in 2014, a new law was passed that gave interns more benefits such as higher salaries, travel cards and meal vouchers.  This isn’t the case for many UK internships.

Fortunately, I did finally find a paid internship in London which allowed me to live and enjoy the city and volunteer in museums during my free time.

My work with Brooklands Museum

In May 2016, I got in touch with the Brooklands Museum in Surrey which was the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation.

The marketing team were looking for a French-speaking person that could help build a marketing strategy to develop the French-speaking audience with Brooklands Museum – both from France and those who live in the U.K.

We also know the geography and how to catch the eye of our audience, by setting up key locations

During our first meeting in London, we set up a strategic plan with the different targets and key locations.

Our priority was to seek for the reasons why French-speaking people would like to go and see the museum.

We had to think strategically about the location of touristic places and ask ourselves questions such as:

  • How far are they from the museum?
  • Is it easily accessible?
  • Where do people arrive in London?
  • How can they easily go to the museum?
  • Where can they find adverts for the museum?

As the museum is located in Surrey, it is very close to London, the Eurostar, airports, ferry stations and train stations.

We also thought about contacting French schools, French communities, organisations and any bloggers or influential people that could help us advertise.

It was great to meet professionals in the U.K and get their side of things in the sector.

I have always been told that it was a very competitive area but if you work hard and are curious, you can achieve.

It was incredibly rewarding to use all the knowledge I gained at university and put my skills to use in concrete projects. The support I got from the people I worked with was intensely gratifying!

How international workers can help attract international visitors

The marketing officer told me that a few years ago, he went to Le Mans by ferry and when he got off at Caen, he noticed there was a tourist office where people were sitting waiting to take the ferry to England.

I have always been told that it was a very competitive area but if you work hard and are curious, you can achieve.

He then thought how important it was to get their French leaflet onto the sales desk inside the tourist office so French visitors could pick it up and see how close the museum is to London and what a fantastic day out it has to offer.

Therefore, I believe it is very important for marketing officers to widen their strategies and employ international individuals because we can translate any leaflets, documents or information on their website.

We also know the geography and how to catch the eye of our audience, by setting up key locations.

Make your double culture an asset

When I applied to jobs a year ago, I believed that I had to show the recruiter that I could speak English and fit into a British environment like any other native.

I almost forgot where I came from!

It took me time to understand that my background, my experiences and my culture are an amazing part of who I am and that I could bring those to professionals!

Diversity is richness

We should never stop claiming that diversity is a richness, especially in these unsettled times.

I have always admired the principle of equal opportunities in the U.K and I wanted to push my culture away as I thought this would be easier to adapt and find a job in the U.K.

Yet, among all the people I have met during my internships, lots are from all over the world. We all help create and develop projects, bring our knowledge and skills and learn from inspiring people in a stimulating work environment.

Thus, having multiple cultures should never be flattened but on the contrary, put forward.