Alumni Profile: Neil Lebeter

Neil Lebeter
Senior Curator: Modern & Contemporary Art Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

MLitt, 2008-2009

After studying History at the University of Aberdeen and a Masters at the University of Glasgow, I came to the programme with a slightly vague notion of pursuing a career in museums. The programme was a very important step in confirming that and also starting my professional life. The mix of theoretical teaching and practical experience was great and having the opportunity to work with a contemporary artist (our exhibition group curated a show of Calum Colvin works) was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me. This set the scene for the roles and projects I’ve worked on in the 10 years since. I got my first job straight after finishing the PGDip as Archive Curator at The New Art Gallery Walsall and moved to The University of Edinburgh as Art Collections Curator in 2012, later becoming Deputy Head of Museums. Now I am at National Museum Wales as Senior Curator: Modern & Contemporary Art. Each institution has given me different facets of experience, but the work remains fundamentally about activating collections and sharing stories with audiences.

Looking back at the course now, I realise how important the professional development elements of the course were. The exhibition projects were our introductions to a type of group working that is absolutely essential in any museum. The course was holistic in its teaching; things like being introduced to external speakers, artists and senior museum professionals at formal events and tours were all steps into the real world. Often you are being taught about the sector without even realising.

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