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For Art UK's 'Being...' series, we take a look at a day in the life of a professional working in the arts, heritage or museum sector.

Svetlana Leu, Account Manager, Sutton

Svetlana Leu, Account Manager, Sutton

What's your role?

As an account manager at Sutton, a leading global cultural communications agency, my role involves working closely with my team in London to successfully deliver quality media campaigns for arts and cultural organisations. Typically, I work with my team on five accounts, from museums and galleries to not-for-profit foundations and art fairs. I offer communications support to my clients, which can range from drafting an exhibition campaign strategy and organising a press trip, to event management and securing coverage in the media. Media coverage can be anything from details of our projects in glossy magazines and an artist interview on broadcast programmes, to a social media post on platforms such as Instagram.

My job therefore also incorporates close collaboration with journalists who I meet and liaise with regularly to discuss potential coverage of our projects across both print and digital media. An exciting and rewarding aspect of the job is the opportunity to travel in the UK and abroad to prestigious art world events when a client is involved. I’ve had the chance to travel to Yorkshire, Stockholm and Istanbul and I am looking forward to where the role takes me in 2019.

What's your morning routine?

First things first: tea. Once I get into the office, I always start my day with a cup of tea with milk and two (yes, two) sugars. It’s a nice way to get into the rhythm of the day. As I sip my tea, I catch up on emails that may have come in overnight or early morning. I then update my to-do list, prioritising tasks that need to be completed by the end of the day.

Somerset House where the Sutton London office is located

Somerset House where the Sutton London office is located

What's your journey to work like?

My journey to work incorporates the not-so-scenic route of the London underground. Most days I am battling for a space on the tube and hoping that there won’t be any delays on the District Line. Luckily the journey is generally straightforward – a short walk to the station, one tube straight to work and then another short walk to the beautiful, historic building that is Somerset House, where we are based. I pass the time listening to my favourite Spotify playlist which includes anything from hip-hop to soca.

What might happen during your morning at work?

In PR, each morning is different and brings with it various challenges and events that need to be managed. Most mornings I spend time responding to emails from clients, offering advice on their communications plans for upcoming exhibitions and projects. For example, we recently worked with a client to issue a press release about their next collaboration. This involves proof-reading, offering suggested edits to the text to the client, preparing a list of media who might be interested in the project and then sharing the information with the selected media.

Other mornings I meet with journalists in person over breakfast to discuss potential story ideas and with clients to re-group on the next phase of action for their projects. This in-person interaction is one of the best parts of the role, as you get to engage and build professional relationships with a variety of interesting people across the arts, culture and media sectors.

Svetlana Leu at an international art fair

Svetlana Leu at an international art fair

What's for lunch?

it's a packed lunch for me most days. I enjoy a home-cooked meal so I tend to bring in some leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. The menu usually consists of a Trinidadian dish so I always have a little bit of home with me here in London. When I do opt to buy lunch, I normally end up at the nearest place to the office – Pret, Wasabi and Itsu are my go-tos.

What does your typical (or not so typical) afternoon involve?

Most afternoons are a race against the clock to get tasks completed before the end of the day. Tasks can be anything from drafting an exhibition campaign strategy and preparing for meetings, to advising clients on the best approach forward for a particular situation. I also tend to take a screen-break and go for a walk around Covent Garden to stock up on snacks. Biscuits and a cup of tea are essential in the remaining hours of the day.

A not-so-typical afternoon would involve a site visit to a particular location to have a look at a potential space on behalf of a client, if they are planning to host an event. In the past, I’ve visited venues including the Royal Academy of Arts.

An international art fair

An international art fair

I’ve also started to do more outreach about arts PR as a potential career route, as it is so varied and interesting and I would love for more young people to learn about it. I recently represented Sutton one afternoon a few weeks ago at a Creative Job Studio Employer Drop-In event at Somerset House, in an effort to share more about the kind of work we do. I had the opportunity to meet many young people who were interested in the sector and shared that, for graduates, one of the best ways to get involved and learn is to start as an intern (like many other places!). My journey in arts PR started as an intern at Sutton and it really provided me with invaluable skills and knowledge of the sector.

What do you do after work?

After work I normally head to the gym, attend exhibition private views and meet up with friends. Other evenings you will find me catching up on my latest Netflix series.

Svetlana Leu, Account Manager at Sutton

Do you work in the arts, heritage or museum sector? Would you be kind enough to share an example of your working day for our 'Being...' series? Please get in touch with Art UK at editorial@artuk.org as we'd love to hear from you.