My name is Phoebe Hughes-Broughton and I am currently a second-year student studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. All my life I have been interested in creative writing, starting with short stories as a child and moving into poetry and journalism as I grew up. It wasn’t until my A Levels that I really developed my interest in studying English Literature, particularly through analysing Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Macbeth – the fact that 400 year-old language can still have such an impact on today’s culture amazed and inspired me. So when it came to choosing a university course, there was only one option for me.
As for choosing the university itself, as soon as I visited Birmingham I was in love. Having lived in London all my life, I knew I didn’t want to stray too far from city life, but the beautiful Edgbaston campus provided enough respite from busy urban living that it truly was the best of both worlds.
As an English and Creative Writing student, my peers (and my parents) have often joked that unless I become the next J.K. Rowling, I might to struggle to use my degree in my future career. So, when offered the chance to include an internship as part of the second year of my course, I jumped at the opportunity to prove them all wrong.
When I saw that the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust was offering a placement with their marketing department, I applied immediately. I knew that it would mean early starts and long train journeys from Birmingham to Stratford and back every week but now, after almost completing a 10-week placement here, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it has been worth it.
Marketing has always intrigued me as a career path, though I’ve never before had the chance to try it out for myself and see just how important their work is to the trust as a whole. Although the marketing department seems hidden away above the gift shop at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, you’ve definitely seen their work – and hopefully you’ve now seen mine, too. One of my key roles while I’ve been here has been writing social media posts for the upcoming Christmas events, which I’ve discovered is a lot more complicated than just tweeting every thought that pops into your head like I do on my personal feeds!
I was able to use the creative writing side of my degree in particular to help adjust my language and tailor posts to specific audiences – based on age, location, and psychographics. Before working here, I’d never even heard of psychographics, but after a thorough 3-hour course I learned all about how different people perceive and respond to the arts and culture, and how we can use this to attract specific audiences.
My main focus while being here has been on the Christmas events, creating marketing from email templates, to Facebook posts, to tweets, but I’ve also been promoting the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Thank You’ days, and even started working on some posts for next February! I’ve gained a great insight into the importance of marketing in the modern world, and how best to engage our audiences and ultimately increase the popularity of this unique heritage site.
As much as I have enjoyed the workload, it’s the people that I’ve had the chance to work with that have made my time here truly memorable. Working as part of such a diverse yet close-knit group has been fantastic, and chatting to people from all over the trust as they pass through the office has been fascinating. I would definitely jump at the chance to work here again – and the beautiful location of Stratford-upon-Avon isn’t bad either!