Posted by: Michael Russell | January 26, 2012

The Genesis of The Doctor?

To Dig, to Examine Artefacts or to become a Doctor?

Optimism expressed in my previous posts has faded due to recent job application experiences. These ‘experiences’ have left me thinking of alternative routes to the career goal of running my own archaeological project and presenting the findings; and ways of relieving the boredom I have discovered in this jobless state I find myself in. When applying for jobs I have found each and every one of them want experience. Even the roles that call themselves Traineeships demand a certain level of experience. I have applied for many roles away from the North East and heard nothing back; although one or two deadlines are yet to pass.

One alternative is to divert my path from excavation work to curatorial work. I recently attended an open afternoon at the Great North Museum about the future curator program run by the British Museum and its partners and I discovered that I had a lot to offer. One aspect of the traineeship is that it is a two way partnership between the curator of the host museum and the trainee. I believe I have a lot to offer on one of the traineeships that looks at Late Medieval European artefacts. I believe I can offer knowledge on the Byzantine influences and Byzantine artefacts that end up in Western Europe. The diversion from excavation is because to gain experience you tend to have to pay a lot to dig and stay in remote locations and pay for those lodgings just to volunteer. I need money to live. I believe the Archaeology Department at the University could add a vocational element that is taught by the lecturers to the degree; instead of just sending us away to look for digs we can not afford. They could offer an NVQ in Archaeology that students can gain for attending excavations.

My other alternative is to submerge myself back into education and go for a PhD and Dr Russell will be born! Premature? In the meantime I will have to volunteer and maybe use those coin identification skills I gained at the British Museum to gain the experience I need. I will also write some archaeological sci-fi adventures that I have dreamt up in my boredom. Am I going Insane?? Or am I just lost in the sea of thousands of graduates all going for the same roles??

If anyone has any advice about what I should do next, drop me a line!! If anyone knows of any free excavations, drop me a line!! If anyone knows any openings I have missed, let me know!!!


  1. At least you haven’t reached this all time low..

    • haha that’s pretty funny.Thankfully I’m not there yet. Although I know people who have just had a good rant and have given up.

  2. Keep going Michael, and don’t forget to come in and use your careers service! You’re doing all the right things and widening your net to include curatorial work is an excellent idea if it gives you more experience and professional contacts to build on.

    Have you used our Graduate Connections database to get in touch with past grads now working across numerous sectors? If not, do take a look at
    There’s quite a few profiles on there related to archaeology, museums, heritage and curatorial work and everyone should be happy to answer any questions you might have about routes into their field of work.

    I expect you’re already monitoring all the vacancy sites mentioned by Prospects in their Archaeologist profile – – but I’ll add the link anyway.

    Make sure you’re also keeping an eye on any activities offered by relevant professional bodies/organisations, such as meetings, conferences, training events etc. – they can be great opportunities to network and find out about upcoming vacancies.

    Hope this helps a little, but if you have any other questions, please pop in and chat to us. And keep following all that good advice you’ve shared with us on here!

  3. Thanks for the feedback Nadia, I will certainly follow up all those suggestions 🙂 And also follow the advice found in other bloggers posts, all very useful.

  4. Hey
    Just passed this while I was looking up that British Museum Curatorship. Although I am not in a similar situation (I have only just finished my first year of university) I believe it would be a fantastic opportunity for you to go for the curatorship. Even though you are not in the field digging to find artefacts you are still playing a major part in making sure they stay in the best possible condition they can be for the future. Plus I am sure you can rub shoulders with some important people and be able to convince them that you are the best possible person to sponsor for a dig 😀
    Well thats a New Zealanders 2 cents worth put in haha.
    All the best though!
    P.S. Quite jelous that you have a picture next to the tardis.

    • Thanks Chantelle, My application is heading in! you are right in what you say, well worth the 2cents.

      and always nice to hear from a Doctor Who fan, I am meeting the great Tom Baker in 7 days!!!

  5. A little up date, had an interview at Housesteads for a historic property steward role…results still to if you would like to know the score keep watching for updates.

    STILL waiting on one or two other applications and I have now met the great Tom Baker

    • Fingers crossed Michael – I hope it’s good news.

      • its great news Nadia!! I got the job with English Heritage, I start next month with training in York. Jobs are also like buses, I have an interview at Beamish Museum (where i was last summer). my feet now are well and truely in that museum sector now.

      • Just noticed your comment Michael – that’s fantastic news! Congratulations! You’re adding some great experiences to your CV and making some really valuable contacts in the sector. Good luck with your training and forthcoming interview. Let us know how it all goes!

      • will do, might have to write another blog entry summarising my path to all these job oppotunities :p

  6. Please do! And congrats

    • Thanks 🙂 I wil do! and congrats on your blog, money is now no object for you in Eldon sq :p

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