Youth conference points the way to cultural careers

It’s a living: curatorial assistant Spencer Jamieson inspects objects in the Surrey Museum’s collection storage.  - Contributed
It’s a living: curatorial assistant Spencer Jamieson inspects objects in the Surrey Museum’s collection storage.
— image credit: Contributed

Sandra Borger was studying for her masters degree in history at SFU when she took a summer job at a museum in Maple Ridge.

To her surprise, she loved it, and the experience set her on a new career path.

Until then, she’d planned to pursue an academic career, never realizing what else might be out there for her.

She’d had very little exposure to museums growing up – so it had never occurred to her that working at a museum was something she could actually do for a living.

Today, she’s a public program specialist with Surrey Heritage Services, a position that allows her to share her love of history with the public.

“A lot of people I know within the museum field, we just kind of fall into the field because we get exposed to it in an accidental way – and then we almost fall in love,” says Borger, who’s organizing the upcoming Cultural Careers Conference for Youth, hosted by the Surrey Museum Feb. 8 and presented by Surrey Heritage Services.

The free, one-day conference for young people aged 16 to 20 is an opportunity for local youth to gain a better understanding of the types of careers available to them in a range of arts and heritage fields.

“The conference is really for youth to see what’s out there,” says Borger, adding careers in the arts, heritage, and museum sectors can be very fulfilling.

"Most people who work in these fields are very passionate. Not only to you love your job, but the people you work with are very dedicated and excited to be there."

Everyone from a video game designer to a museum curator are among the experts who will share their experiences and advice.

The conference also include practical tips from representatives from six post secondary programs in the region, including the UBC Archives program, SFU’s Interactive Arts and Technology program, Emily Car University, Langara’s Studio 58 and more.

“We really tried to get both arts and heritage-type programs in,” she says.

It’s a youth conference, so it’s designed to be fun – and hands-on, says Borger.

Uzume Taiko will present a drumming workshop, and an improv troupe will involve participants in skits.

It’s free, but register in advance by calling 604-592-6956. (You may sign up for a friend). The registration deadline is Jan. 31 (space is limited). It runs from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum, 17710 56A Avenue, Surrey.

For more information on the program and presenters, visit

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