Freya Monk-McGowan

Collections Management Trainee 
Norfolk Museums Service 

I studied History, Literature and Culture BA (Hons) at Brighton University and since then have been focused on learning through interdisciplinary methodologies. The SOCL traineeship offered me a chance to engage with contemporary heritage practices and to challenge myself.  As a queer intersectional feminist my focus during the traineeship was to investigate areas of interpretation and under-representation within cultural heritage institutions, through critical engagement. This action produced a range of interesting questions, particularly in terms of metanarratives and re-examining past interpretation, necessitating discussions and debates throughout the year with curators, colleagues and peers.   

I led on a range of collections based projects throughout the year, including managing an art store move (over 100 paintings), auditing and documenting a collection of glass plate negatives (over 2000), improving store management and documentation for collections based at different museum sites, and training students and volunteers in collection management skills and processes.  

I initiated and led a queer heritage project focused on improving the representation of queer people within the museum through re-interpreting previously accessioned objects and encouraging contemporary accessioning.  I also worked on the initial stages of a Suffrage project in the last few months of my traineeship. This included researching local Suffrage activists and nominating a candidate for the WLGS (Women’s Local Government Society) Suffrage Pioneers Project, before meeting with curators and colleagues to discuss future programming possibilities for 2018.

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