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Tower of London host our first Masterclass of 2017

Tower of London host our first Masterclass of 2017

Last night we were given a taste of history as we gathered at the historic Tower of London for our first masterclass of 2017. We were thrilled to be accommodated at such an iconic building and for the first time, to be focusing on museums, galleries and curation.

We were joined by a phenomenal panel of speakers and staff of Historic Royal Palaces – Michael Day (CEO); Alareen Farrell (Head of Buying); Lucy Worsley (Chief Curator & presenter of BBC’s Six Wives);  Dan Wolfe (Director of Communications and Development) and Nasir Gilani (Human Resources Diversity Advisor).

diversity slide

The evening was expertly chaired by Michael Day, who outlined the ways Historic Royal Palaces implement diversity;
1. Widening access to English heritage for all audiences
2. Creating an environment where everyone is accepted, and has something to relate to
3. Ensuring an open workplace for everyone, no matter what race, gender or disability

Nasir Gilani gave us a brief outline of his background. After making the decision to move to the UK in 2008, he started out by volunteering at an event at Hampton Court Palace. Now as a diversity advocate at Historic Royal Palaces he said,

“Our diversity strategy is embedded in the work of every member of staff. The importance of driving a successful diversity strategy is getting the support from those at the top which we do.”

Dan Wolfe has worked his way around the English cultural heritage sector, from working at the Science Museum, to the Millennium Dome, to The Chelsea Flower Show and now at Historic Royal Palaces. Speaking on the daunting experience of job hunting, he said “I didn’t always get the job I wanted, but it led me to getting an even better role. Don’t let knock backs set you back”.


Lucy Worsley spoke of her experience as a female historian. She spoke of her outrage when she googled  “historians” and the first twenty five listed were all male. As a result, she created her own network of female historians, much to the dismay of some.

She recommended that our interns “make the most of the Creative Access network; it will stand you in good stead”.

Lucy also spoke about the sacrifices many people make to achieve their dream career and how your career doesn’t need to take a linear path. In her thirties she branched out and moved into writing books and presenting television programmes.

Alareen Farrell spoke of her journey as a fashion buyer and later divulged into her experience growing up in one of few black families in a predominantly white area. Although disappointed that there aren’t enough black people at senior level, she praised Historic Royal Palaces for never making her feel anything but 100% accepted. She advised the room,

“there are times you will feel you didn’t get the job because of your race, don’t let that stop you going for your dreams”.

After a Q&A session, Michael Day concluded the evening by saying to our interns “What gives me hope for a diverse future is you. Be the future that you want to see.”

We’d like to thank all of our speakers, our Creative Access intern at HRP – Gina Chahal – and the events team at the Tower of London for their support of Creative Access and for hosting a wonderful evening.

   mwila & amwila & ginaj & A & beefeater