Emma has worked at The Monastery since June 2016, initially starting as the Learning & Community Officer before being promote to Visitor Experience Manager in August 2018.
Emma is responsible for the management of the Visitor Services team, which includes the Visitor Services & Support Officer, the Digital Marketing Apprentice and our team of dedicated and enthusiastic Monastery volunteers. She manages our diverse public programme, including Open Days, large-scale community events and regular activities, as well as looking after The Monastery’s community, education and outreach activities. She also oversees and helps to deliver public talks and tours at the site, manages the Gift Shop and interpretation at the site, and generally helps to try to improve the visitor experience at The Monastery.
- How did you get involved working at The Monastery?
I started working at The Monastery as a Learning & Community Officer working alongside the then Trust Coordinator as part of a job share to create new community and learning projects at the site as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded, Sharing The Story Project.
Prior to this, I was organising events at a University and also interning at the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Although I had volunteered at a number of heritage sites and museums beforehand, it was really exciting to be offered my first paid role in a heritage site and I felt very lucky to be able to work in such a beautiful building with a rich and interesting history.
- What do you do in your day-to-day role at The Monastery?
It is quite difficult to describe a general day at The Monastery, as each day is so different! For me, it can also depend it if is an open day or not – if it is a busy open day or if we have a public or community event on, I will usually spend most of my time on the ground floor making sure that everything is set-up beforehand, running smoothly during the open day and making sure that our volunteers feel like they are being supported whilst they are here.
Whether it is an open day or not, I usually check my emails and see if we have any phone messages first thing in the morning – these are usually from people wanting to book Afternoon Tea, a tour or looking for information on our opening hours.
During the week, I attend our daily meeting at 10am where we go through everything taking place in the building that day and the next day, this can include events as diverse as weddings, community room bookings, open days, tour groups or corporate dinners!
For the rest of the day, I might be updating the website, working on new marketing materials for the public programme, attending a community meeting, leading a school workshop, delivering a talk or tour, checking a social media post or blog, working on the volunteer rota, thinking about fundraising ideas, helping with a placement project or organising a public event – usually a variation of the above!
- What is your favourite part of the building and why?
My favourite part of the building is probably outside where the old front doors and entrance used to be. It is an area of the building that I don’t think many of our visitors tend to go to, but I think it is really special to imagine the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people who throughout each day would walk from Gorton Lane straight into those doors and enter the Church. It is so interesting to think of how different the local landscape used to be with lots of different shops and old terraced houses just across the road.
- What are your favourite events at the building and why?
I really enjoy when we run our community and family days at The Monastery. It is always really nice seeing lots of people engaging with the building in different ways and getting involved in all of the activities on offer. I am looking forward to a lot of our different public events this year including craft fairs, a book fair, a collaboration with PDSA, an Our Kids Social event, a local history day, a Music at The Monastery event, and our annual ‘Christmas Story’ day!
- If you were going to buy something from The Monastery Shop what would it be and why?
We have a really nice selection of children’s books and toys so I usually tend to buy these from the shop for my little niece and new godson. I also tend to get a Monastery mug as a nice gift when I am visiting a friend or family member that I haven’t seen in a little while!
- What is your favourite time at The Monastery and why?
My favourite time of the year is probably in the summer – I really enjoy being able to go sit outside in the cloister garden and enjoy the sunshine during my lunch break, and it is great at that time of the year for playing children’s games outside as part of a learning session or community day.
However, my favourite time of day in the building is during the evening or at night. The building has a completely different feel to it – it is very atmospheric and you can just imagine what it felt like for the friars walking through the cloisters and around the friary at night!