Monday, 16 February 2015

2014 and all that!

OMG! I cannot believe its been over a year since I last updated this!! It was not for the want of trying, but after completing my Masters and becoming self employed everything became very busy! So before I can pick up this blog again, I thought I should give you a recap of the year gone by!

I did indeed become self employed or as I prefer to call it "freelance". My first project was working for my local museum on a First World War Centenary Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was successfully completed in December 2014. My work included managing the research group volunteers, conducting my own research, writing draft text for the exhibition and managing the public engagement phase. I also got the chance to work with the IT Consultant to construct a new digital in-museum resource called the Access Centre. This was really very enjoyable as I got to help with layout design, plan out content and write text content as well as editing the content supplied by others. There was also a database of local First World War individuals such as soldiers, nurses, doctors, factory workers, munitionnettes, conscientious objectors and civilians who contributed to the war effort. This was a massive part of the project and will also be the legacy of the project as more information about the individuals will be added as and when it comes in. During the project we managed to identify just under 4000 people! Although we only researched in depth about 150-200 in the year of the project. But that is still very impressive! Now the project is over the other themes on the Access Centre can now be worked on, although now there is no funding to pay me, so unless new funding can be found my contribution will be limited to voluntary when I have the time, with paid work taking priority.

As part of the WW1 project I was also asked to give a talk on the creation of the Bexhill War Memorial (which I studied for my Masters dissertation concerning war memory). I was incredibly nervous before hand and although it was only May, the room felt like a furnace! I am sure I was visibly sweating and shaking! Despite my own nerves it went very well and I was asked lots of questions at the end, as well as very lovely people coming up to tell me how good I was! Always nice to know something went well when you were panicking about it so much! It also helped that two of my best friends (Claire 2 & Nat) had "surprised" me by booking tickets to come along and support me. It helped to have at least two people in the audience who would be enthusiastic! I am really glad that I got the chance to do the talk and would love to do more! Bookings taken now! Tee hee!

As part of the freelance journey I also got my very own website!!! With the help of another of my best friends (the lovely Cheryl) I chose the design and learnt how to add pages and update content etc. I think it looks quite good and I am pleased that I can update it myself. I just need to do that a bit more often and also have more stuff to update! The website also came with a blog option, so I decided to add to my blog list and have a "professional" blog or my "day-job" blog! Its called the Curious Curator and does have some really good articles on there! Its just like everything else I need to find more time to write more content! I also got my very own business cards!!! Ooooo! They look gorgeous! I was so excited!! Sad, I know as they are just business cards, but I have never had my own business cards before! It was a momentous occasion!! And my website address on the cards just helped it look all professional and swish!

In 2014 I also became a published writer! Woo hoo! Yes I have had three articles published in our local newspaper about the town during the First World War! A few weeks after they were in the newspaper I then added them to my Curious Curator blog so they can still be read. I plan to continue this in 2015. I also had an article published on a website about the history of East Sussex during the First World War. I have more articles to submit in 2015. So maybe my dream of becoming a writer might actually happen! Just wish I could get paid for doing it!!

As the WW1 project came to an end I also had a few mini-projects. They were all WW1 themed but were very enjoyable. One was working with the Performing Arts students from the local college who were developing original performance pieces about the War. I provided the historical content for them to be inspired by! Another project was working with a primary school a few towns away who were doing their own WW1 Commemorative project and I had to teach them how historians research people from the past, particularly from the War and then help them to research their local men. Again I was very stressed before hand as I was teaching an age range from 7 years olds up to 10-11 years olds! They have very different abilities and attention spans so it took a bit of planning! Thankfully another of my amazing best friends (Andy!) was on hand to help guide me through my "aaarrgghhhs! and stresses. Andy was also finally back from Singapore so I got to spend some quality time hanging out with him although not as often as I would have liked and now at the start of 2015 he is back to his worldwide adventures this time in Borneo!

Another significant moment was having to say goodbye to my first car, my beautiful red Peugeot 206, and hello to my shiny new (well new to me) red Peugoet 107! I do miss my old car, but love my new car too, and its a lot cheaper on petrol and tax! My old laptop also decided to give up the ghost, so I am now typing this on a shiny new one (an expense I could have done without, but hey that's life!). I also continued my usual papercrafting and going to craft fairs to try to fund my crafting habit!

Since my last post there was also another big happening which occurred at the end of 2013... my friend's gorgeous dog Maisie had her puppies!! I was already in love with her first litter in particular the diva-licious Shelby (and my furry bestie) and the big softy Yoda who belongs to my other friend Claire 2. The new puppies were just as gorgeous and I immediately lost my heart to Charlie, who was later renamed Blaize which suits him much better, and my new other furry bestie Nibbler or to use her real name Skye! Of course the other puppies Spike, Timmy and Oliver are just as gorgeous (and I loves them too) but for some reason Nibbler and Blaize immediately found a place in my heart as did Shelby and Yoda. So 2014 included many opportunities for having lovely cuddles with the puppies and even a day of dog-sitting!I am hoping 2015 will continue to include cuddling my favourite doggies!

I think that's about it for an overview. Its the bits that come to mind anyway! Now I can move forward with 2015 stuff, so look forward to my rants (there's an election in May so I am bound to get opinionated about the rubbish they are going to come up with), moans about the way people of benefits get treated (unless more work can be found my freelance dream may be over, and the Jobcenter awaits) and general thoughts about what's going on!

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