Museum Job Spotlight: Carla Sinclair
We’re profiling interesting jobs in the museum field to show the range of responsibilities and opportunities available. Have an awesome museum job you want to share? Email [email protected]!
Carla Sinclair, Manager of Community and Volunteer Development, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG)
Give us a quick overview of your department/museum.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is a vibrant, engaging public art museum located in Oshawa’s civic centre. We are the largest gallery in Durham Region, occupying an inspired 36,000 square foot building designed by noted architect Arthur Erickson. The RMG is dedicated to sharing, exploring and engaging with our communities through the continuing story of modern and contemporary Canadian art.
What’s is your biggest accomplishment in your job?
The biggest accomplishment thus far would be the implementation of The RMG Volunteer Media Team. Still in its early stages, we are working with volunteers to capture video and photo content of gallery programs, events and to help promote new initiatives. One of the first media team volunteers recently shared with me that she scored a job doing video work at her university and had another interview for media work the same day! Success.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I have the pleasure of programming our free, monthly community event – RMG Fridays. This allows me to connect with musicians, artists, dancers & poets to animate the evening. I bring in a variety of local restaurants to sell food, invite community partners and engage our dedicated volunteer team to help run the night. The result is an accessible, creative and engaging evening.
Best advice you ever received from a museum professional.
Consult with others. People love to feel valued and heard. When planning events, it is common practice for our staff to consult artist groups, indigenous communities and volunteers to see what they hope to get out of their experiences at the gallery. This helps to shape programs and events that meet or exceed the expectations of our audience.
What is one thing on your resume that makes you unique?
As a filmmaker, photographer and business partner at a local media company, I bring the ability to tell the stories of an organization from the inside out! Creating digital content is a rapidly growing industry and as the Volunteer Coordinator, I have the ability to mentor and share these transferrable skills with eager minds in our surrounding community.
What interview questions do you really nail and what is the answer?
I love to talk about building community and strategies to accomplish this. I believe to get people excited about something (an event, program, exhibition or gallery) you need to include them, not just send an invitation. When we weave our community and volunteers into the fabric of an organization or idea, everyone becomes an ambassador.
Advice for the aspiring museum professional:
Surround yourself with people, spaces and activities that you want to be a part of. If you dream of working for a particular organization, volunteer with them. Spend as much time as possible getting to know the staff and fellow volunteers. When you become a thread in the fabric of a community and demonstrate your passion, excitement, and eagerness to learn – opportunity will follow. Take it. Grab hold of your dreams and take steps toward them. Final thought: Be someone that people enjoy being around. When you pair positivity and kindness with a drive to succeed, others will want you on their team!