Case Study - Jamie Barnes - March 2012

Exhibition and museum curator Jamie Barnes has gained a wealth of experience and expertise during his time with the Keswick Museum in Cumbria.

In 2010, Jamie took the decision to become a freelance curator, enabling him to share his knowledge and expertise in a cost effective way with a wider audience.

"Essentially, I'm a project manager for developing and promoting museums and exhibitions" commented Jamie.  "The thing I love most about my work is the variety and the different people I get to meet and work with."

One of the key factors in helping Jamie make his decision to go freelance was the large list of contacts he has amassed over the years, creating a support network for him to build his business.  A number of people in Jamie's network suggested he contacted CREA (Cumbria Regional Enterprise Agency) to see if there was any help and advice they could provide for his new business start-up.

CREA recommended Jamie to sign up to their business mentoring programme and put him in touch with Frank Roe of Gain Success.

"Frank and I connected immediately" added Jamie.  "Frank is very easy to talk to, and although his background is very different to mine, he brings a lot of commercial knowledge and experience to the table which is invaluable to me."

Frank and Jamie initially worked together for 7 months, during which time the business started to take shape.  In particular, Frank's mentoring role was focussed on helping Jamie ensure that as well as having a more fulfilling and interesting career, he also had a business that was commercially viable.

With Frank's advice, support and recommendations, Jamie has been able to shape his business model into three primary areas.  As well as the 'bread-and-butter' museum and exhibition contracts, Jamie also has schemes aimed at working with schools and companies.  In both instances, he works with the organisations to research, develop and showcase their heritage through either a school or commercial museum.  The school museums provide an educational opportunity for pupils to engage with the history of the school.  The commercial museums are used to showcase the heritage and core values of a company which they can then use to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

"Frank always brings a fresh pair of eyes to my situation and ideas" said Jamie.  "Since the mentoring programme, I've continued to work with Frank when I need to bounce around new ideas and get a different and professional perspective on things.  He is a trusted advisor to me and my business."

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