November 2021 was the 10-year anniversary of me launching into freelance working. Thinking back to that moment in 2011 I remember knowing it was the right leap to take, but having no idea how it would be or if I’d still be here freelancing ten years later.

To celebrate, I shared my top ten lessons and ten high points from the past ten years on social media through November and early December. In no particular order, here are the top ten high points I shared:

Orkney 2020

Maeshowe Orkney

One of the best things about my work is the great places I get to visit. I’ve been able to spend time at castles, abbeys and in Orkney through my work with Historic Environment Scotland.

Visiting the locations is key in understanding these special places and helping others to discover them.

Science Museum 2019

I loved going back to the Science Museum in 2019 to work as a freelancer on Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security. I can’t quite believe that I left there fourteen years ago. And in 1999 I started my first exhibition job there. I met so many amazing people and learned so much. To be able to return years later was so exciting.

Aberdeen Music Hall 2018

Working on the Aberdeen Music Hall refurbishment with the people at Aberdeen Performing Arts was a fantastic experience. Not only was being part of the refurbishment team a thrill but getting to see the finished hall in use on the celebration opening weekend made it all the more special.

This is why I love being freelance; getting to work with great clients and fantastic projects across arts and culture.

Jupiter Artland 2017

Charles Jencks, Cells of Life, Jupiter Artland

Freelancing gives you the opportunity to take time out for voluntary work experience. I loved the term I spent at Jupiter Artland in 2017 helping with the Little Sparks and finding out about Montessori and Forest School methods.

Conferences

As a freelancer, conferences can be invaluable high points of connection and inspiration that boost my energy reserves for months or even the year to come. The best conferences are full of friendships old and new. I have so many amazing memories from the Museum Freelance Network conferences, Museum Next, Visitor Studies Group and the BIG Event. Thank you all for helping keep me connected with such incredible people.

Wellcome

I have really enjoyed working with public engagement staff at Wellcome and the Wellcome Centres during my time as a freelancer.  In 2019 I was so excited to be involved with an exhibition bringing the best of public engagement with science to the wonderful National Museum of Scotland.

For the past three years I’ve been involved with the Inspiring Science Fund at Wellcome, supporting Aberdeen Science Centre and Glasgow Science Centre and witnessing their amazing work first-hand.

V&A Dundee 2018

V&A Dundee

Culture can change perceptions of a place – don’t you think?

My family are from Dundee, so I have always known it as a proud creative city. But sometimes it takes a beautiful new building to show the world. I feel grateful to have worked with the amazing team on this one.

Kilmartin Museum

Cairnbaan rock art site, Nr Kilmartin

Getting to work in places that inspired me as a visitor is one of the freelancing best bits!

I first visited Kilmartin Glen and Kilmartin Museum in 2007. The memory of what a special place it is stayed with me. So I was so happy to start working with them in 2019 helping to deliver on their vision for the future.

There’s something extra special about helping create a new, incredible experience for others somewhere that inspired me so much.

National Museum of Scotland 2016

I owe a lot to the National Museum of Scotland my colleagues when I was employed there from 2005 to 2011. I learned a lot and had the opportunity to work with some of the best museum professionals.

It was so exciting to be able to return to deliver the Science and Technology interactive exhibits as a freelancer in 2016.

Cragside House 2017

The best thing about my job is that ‘aha’ moment.

One of my favourite moments like this was helping volunteers understand the underlying science of electricity that is crucial to telling the story of Lord Armstrong and Cragside House for the National Trust.

Next up: Ten lessons I’ve learned from these ten years…