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#EducateYourself for Professional Development: Nik McGrath

When told about the importance of cultural awareness in GLAM institutions I recently heard a senior GLAM professional say:

‘Why did no one tell me about this?!’


Let’s not be this person.

In a rapidly changing world the onus is on us to educate ourselves. Consider your professional development strategy (yes I recommend employing a strategy) as a personal and professional investment.

For those who are interested, there are countless opportunities to get involved and to learn. But it is no one’s responsibility but your own to ensure that you engage and learn.

Ok, the preaching is over, now that you’ve been sufficiently convinced as to my infinite wisdom and are raring to go, how do you move forward?

When thinking about what type of strategy I should employ, I looked at what the people I admired greatly do. To start you off I asked a couple of these people to explain their approach to professional development. These people have been generous enough to share their approach to continuing professional development. Read on for the first in this series and learn about the indefatigable Nik McGrath’s strategy:


Nik McGrath

Current position: Archivist, Museums Victoria.


Lifelong learning is one of my core values. I’m naturally inquisitive, from a very young age I would keep my Dad on his toes with my constant questioning.

Formal education has been one way I have satisfied my thirst for knowledge. I have learnt a great deal from the cohort of students from my Master of Information Management degree at RMIT. A friend from the course took me to my first newCardigan party in September 2015, and after a passionate conversation about privacy and archives with Hugh Rundle (newCardigan co-founder) – I was working in a prison archive at the time – I was soon asked to join the cardi core (newCardigan committee).

From September 2015 to now, I have hardly missed a cardi party (second Friday of the month). I have seen the positive impact of working together, learning from each other, and the benefits of belonging to a strong and supportive GLAM community. Our cardi parties and GLAM Blog Club (different theme each month) explore emerging trends in the GLAM sector, innovative case studies, technology and the future of GLAM.

It’s also important to be an active member of your professional body. In my role as Comms Officer of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA), I have learnt a great deal from working closely with archivists I admire.

To develop professionally it’s important to keep an open mind to new ideas and to be an agent for change. Break down stereotypes, and be willing to analyse work methods and improve on them.

Educating yourself can be divided into formal education (a small fraction); on the job learning (a significant fraction); being an active member of the GLAM community (a very significant fraction); and lifelong learning (the largest fraction of all) – reading widely, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, visiting large and small GLAM institutions. Above all, keep an open mind, that is key.

How to keep in touch with Nik:
Twitter @n_l_mcgrath

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