In five words, describe your place in the sector.
Somewhere between experienced and management.
What first drew you to the sector i.e. Do you have a particular memory of a moment that got you hooked?
Memories from childhood made museums feel familiar and therefore a natural place to want to work. Every summer Mum and Dad took a month off from work and drove my sisters and I around the South Island in a caravan. Both my parents are history buffs and they would always find the museums and galleries in every town we drove through. Normally situated at the front of an antique shop, in a church hall or an abandoned house, enduring memories of these museums are me and my sisters hanging out for hours on end while Dad read every single label and text panel, chatted to the volunteers on the front desk, and then did a reccy of the building. As a child it felt like a drag but I now realise he was every curators dream visitor! We were always rewarded for our patience with a pink panther at the local afterwards.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
I have been pretty lucky and haven’t faced any really significant challenges. At the moment I am trying to figure out next steps so that ‘future Alice’ is happy with her job in five, ten, twenty years’ time. Currently it seems like I have too much experience for some jobs but not quite enough skills for others. I try to operate a ‘yes and amen’ policy at work and this can be thrilling at times but sometimes I wish I’d studied something much more obvious like accounting and taken over the family business.
Has anything or anyone in particular provided you with support?
My current manager Linda is incredibly supportive – I couldn’t have asked for a better colleague. She is always available for advice, has the phone number for every person you’ll ever need, and makes delicious pikelets in the office on her father’s 1950s camping hotplate. I highly value her non-territorial style of management which has enabled me to accept many professional development opportunities - ones other managers might have kept for themselves. Also, the EMP network has been crucial in connecting many of us together from the GLAM sector, both in New Zealand and Australia.
What do you think people at your own level bring to the sector?
I think at this level we’re still generalists rather than specialists.
What is a positive change you would like to see in the sector?
I would like to see a greater number of researched, innovative exhibitions using the objects from our own collections. I think collections have bad PR and in my experience they are often seen as bargaining chips or dusty vestiges of irrelevant history. But in actual fact they are resources for learning and hold incredible stories which are waiting to be unleashed on the unsuspecting public. Sadly, they are often overlooked for exhibition in favour of the shiny new toy.
What is your karaoke song?
I have never done karaoke but one day I’d like to give Africa by Toto a crack.