Alexa Viani says that she’s very lucky to work at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia’s oldest, and largest, cultural institution.
“It’s an Australian icon,” she says. “Everybody knows the NGV.”
Viani works as a Media and Public Affairs Officer at the gallery. She successfully applied for the job after one of her lecturers encouraged her to take on short-term work there while she was studying a Master of Marketing Communication.
“It’s pretty incredible to work here. We’ve cracked the top twenty visited museums in the world, and the Van Gogh exhibition earlier this year was the most successful ticketed exhibition in the NGV’s 156-year history. It’s an amazing time to be here!”
She studied the Master of Marketing Communication because she wanted options. “I’ve always had varying interests,” Viani explains, “and wasn’t solely interested confining my learning to one area. It was a real balance of business school subjects and more creative, communications-focused subjects.”
Rather than approaching her Masters with a ‘get in get your degree and get out’ mentality, Viani capitalised on the connections and other opportunities her Masters opened up. As well as taking coursework subjects, she wrote a minor thesis analysing the problem of ‘slacktivism’.
“I looked at how Not-For-Profit organisations can communicate their messages effectively online, without having people just give them likes without any long-term benefits or solutions,” she explains.
Viani currently divides her time between the NGV and volunteering for the Office of the Public Advocate as a Community Visitor.
“I make quarterly visits to community and group homes…we go in and check on the residents’ living standards, how engaged their lives are. We complete reports that can raise issues with management of the service and the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s a really rewarding program.”
As for those wanting to study the Master of Marketing Communication, Viani urges postgraduates to make the most of their time at university.
“Your lecturers and tutors work in the industry, and they can help steer you with career advice. It’s about getting the most out of your degree that you can. For many people, it will probably be the last time you’ll be at university.”
There's not always one route to get to where you want to be. If it's not the right time don't give up, find other ways in.
Try as many things as you can to make certain that you know what you want to do. I always found that volunteering in something I thought I'd want to get into, just to see if it was something I'd like to be part of, was a great way to expand your skill-set while also figuring out whether it's a career path you do want to follow.