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Julia Bird (BA English 1993)


I've worked as an arts administrator pretty much since graduating, getting more specialised as I went on. I'm now a poetry promoter and producer of live literature events. I work part time for an organisation and part time freelance. 

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

The modular structure of Reading's English degree was really appealing, as was the opportunity to study two extra subjects in the first year. I took History of Art and Classical Studies.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

The course itself, the friends I made, the opportunity to find out what I wanted to do for a living and to make steps towards it...

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Don't wait to be told what to do, find out for yourself and make it happen...

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I worked for an arts centre - worked for a poetry promoting organisation - worked part time for another poetry organisation and went part time freelance - set up my own company. I published one poetry collection and then another.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

There is not a set path for arts and admin like there is for accountancy or law. If you want to work in the arts, try and get multi-skilled (finance, fundraising, marketing, programming, education, etc) as you're likely to do a bit of everything on the way up.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Initiative, boldness, friendliness - all of those things help. Don't get taken advantage of by endless intern schemes. A bit of targeted volunteering and some bar work to pay the bills is not a bad way to start.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

I can't hear Transvision Vamp's 'Baby I Don't Care' without being transported back to Friday night Union...

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