Tom Brown: BA (Hons) Ancient, Classical and Medieval Studies 2010-2013, MA CHARM 2013-2015 Investment Manager, The National Lottery Heritage Fund

10 Dec 20

“The heritage industry is a competitive field and will only get more so. You need to get your CV to stand out and your unique selling point to really shine. Taking part in volunteer work can do this.“

Tom Brown has gone from studying heritage to funding heritage. After graduating with a BA (Hons) Ancient, Classical and Medieval studies degree in 2013, Tom went on to study a Masters degree in Cultural Heritage and Resource Management (CHARM) which he completed in 2015. Since then, he has been employed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund where he has worked his way up to the role of Investment Manager. Tom achieved this by taking part in museum-based internships and by working in visitor services, partially as a Volunteer Coordinator for Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Winchester Venues while still studying his Master’s.  

“During my undergraduate degree I worked as a Curatorial Assistant Intern at the British Museum. Working at the Student Union shop covered the costs of this, such as subsistence and travel. However, later on, the Natural History Museum was able to cover these expenses for me when I interned as a Prospect Researcher.”

“During my time in the British Museum intern role – an experience I value greatly –  I realised that I didn’t want to work in this side of museums. While studying my Masters, I decided to change direction and thought ‘What does the heritage industry need? Fundraising or volunteer recruiting?’ I went for recruiting and recruited volunteers across Winchester as a part of my Visitor Services role. I worked for the Hampshire Cultural Trust, covering all the museums across Winchester and worked my position into a Volunteer Coordinator role.”

Tom also spent a few weeks volunteering with North Cornwall Heritage alongside fellow Winchester students, undertaking historic monuments watch surveys before applying to work at the National Lottery Heritage Fund (the then Heritage Lottery Fund) in London.  He didn’t get the role he initially wanted at the time. However, he did become a Team Assistant before securing his current role as an Investment Manager, where he now assesses applications for heritage project funding, monitors the successful ones and (occasionally) represents the Fund at events. Tom says that it is best to keep an awareness of organisations you want to work for in case they have other opportunities available.

“I applied for an admin role at the Fund. I didn’t get it but I got called back for another position a few months later, so even if you don’t get a job straightaway somewhere, don’t give up on that place of work because there could be something else.“

Tom has many happy memories from Winchester which he says were defined by his friendships with lecturers and classmates.

“There’s obviously so many to pick from. I think my favourite Winchester memory isn’t a specific event or occasion, but a feeling. It can be described as the warm family-like feeling of comradery born from the company in the Archaeology and History departments. Being small classes in general, it was easy to get to know everyone and be known in return. A special note goes to the bonds formed on the dig sites (at Cornwall and Magdalen Hill) which are irreplaceable. Everyone was always there for each other, for assignments and emotional support. To be honest, I feel like I wouldn’t have made it as far as I did, and my time at Winchester wouldn’t have been as special as it was, without my wonderful classmates.”

Tom enjoys his role as an Investment Manager but is still ambitious to work on bigger heritage projects and become a Senior Investment Manager in the near future.

What’s next for me? Well, ideally a Senior Investment Management role. I am aiming towards a Senior Investment Manager role within the Heritage Fund because that would give me the chance to work on bigger, more complex, projects as well as some line manager responsibility. Although working in policy is also a possibility!

Now that Tom has been working in heritage funding for four years, he has some great advice for those who have studied the same degrees as him and those who are looking to work in the heritage sector.

“I would recommend that Masters students get involved with the practical side of the course and its placements. The same advice applies to undergrad as well. If you plan to do something constructive with your summer next year, then it definitely wouldn’t hurt to apply to internships or find something voluntary in the relevant field.“


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