As part of the Alumni Blog series, I caught up with Rosie Eccles to find out, among other things, why she chose CMCI’s MA Cultural & Creative Industries course, what transferable skills she developed whilst on the course, and to ask what advice she would give to students and graduates looking go into fundraising and philanthropy.
Rosie Eccles has eight years' experience in charitable fundraising and relationship management. Rosie undertook CMCI’s MA Cultural and Creative Industries between 2012 and 2013.
After graduating she initially worked as a Trust and Foundations fundraiser for the community arts charity Create (Arts) LTD but later moved to the cultural sector; initially as a Philanthropy Manager for the Science Museum and subsequently Major Gifts Manager at the Imperial War Museum. Since 2019 Rosie has been a Trustee and member of the fundraising committee for the Kanyike Project – a leading UK charity helping Kanyike villagers kick-start a self-sufficient and sustainable way of life since 1986. Most recently, Rosie started a role as a Philanthropy Manager – Major Gifts for Mercy Ships UK. Mercy Ships works with host nations to strengthen the healthcare systems, through training and infrastructure projects – you can find out more about the work Mercy Ships do here: Our Vision.
Firstly, why did you choose to study the MA Cultural & Creative Industries course? And why at the CMCI Department at King’s College?
I studied Drama as an undergraduate and really enjoyed it. I knew I wanted to use my degree in some form in whatever job I went into, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I chose to take the MA Cultural & Creative Industries course as I felt it would give me the bridge I needed between undergraduate study and going out into the world of work.
I chose the CMCI Department at KCL because of it’s fantastic reputation. I had a look at similar courses available at other universities, but I loved the variety of modules KCL offered (and who could turn down the opportunity to attend lectures on the Strand?!)
Since graduating you have undertaken several roles in the fields of fundraising and Philanthropy. These roles generally require a strong ability to build and maintain relationships and excellent communication skills, among many other skills. How did the MA Cultural & Creative Industries course prepare you for these roles? And would you say there were any transferable skills that you developed during your MA which still help you today?
I wrote my MA dissertation about how UK Performing Arts organisations were responding to the cuts to arts funding. My dissertation supervisor, Roberta Comunian, encouraged me to interview Development Managers at a cross section of different organisations as part of my research. During these, I gained a strong understanding of how fundraising teams run; what the funding landscape was for UK arts organisations; and made some great connections! My dissertation was also a great thing to speak about in interviews, and demonstrated my interest and commitment to being a great fundraiser.
More broadly, the course was great for developing my communication skills. Whether it be through essays, face to face presentations, group work or in seminar discussions, there were so many ways we had to effectively and articulately communicate ourselves throughout the course. I would also say that taking the course gave me more confidence in myself and made me take myself more seriously, which was invaluable when going to interviews etc.
What advice would you give to students and graduates looking to go into your line of work?
If you can, carry out an internship or work experience in a Development department. While you’re there, fulfill your duties to the best standard possible – and do everything you can to show why you should be more than just an intern! Ask for meetings with the team to find out more about what they do, ask to sit in on meetings, come up with ideas, and take the initiative to take on more responsibility. All of these things will really create an impression.
There are also some great networking groups available, I especially recommend ‘Young Arts Fundraisers’. It exists for fundraisers just starting out in their careers, and they organise a variety of career-focused talks and networkings evenings. It’s a fantastic group to be a part of.
What did you enjoy most about the course MA Cultural & Creative Industries?
It was a fantastic experience. I loved being a part of the King’s community, learning from some of the best experts in their field, and making great friends. I’ve actually ended up working with some of my peers from the course which I’ve really appreciated. It’s been wonderful to see so many of us go on to work in the cultural sector and see how each of our careers have developed.