5 minutes with...

Laura Pye, Director, National Museums Liverpool

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 15th, Mar

Introduce yourself – name, where do you sit in the business, and what does the business do?

I am Laura Pye the Director of National Museums Liverpool. We run eight museums (Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Seized!, International Slavery Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House) across the Liverpool City Region attracting over 3 million visitors a year.

What changes would you like to see to improve or develop your sector?

The museum sector is a great place to work and has changed a huge amount over the last 15 years. It’s much more business focused that it was and we are embracing new technology to engage new audiences which is great, but the diversity of our sector is still poor. Our audiences here in Liverpool are more representative than most museums but we still have a long way to go, and we are also working to diversify our workforce. At National Museums Liverpool we are striving to provide experiences that everyone can engage in, regardless of age, gender, race or class. I hope in 10 years’ time we are not still having this same discussion about lack of diversity in the sector.

What does a typical working day look like?

There is no such thing and that’s what I love about it. I could be working with colleagues on a new exhibition proposal, finding answers to staff suggestions, or meeting finance to plan our budgets. Currently we are working on an exciting new plan for the museums’ buildings on the Liverpool waterfront, and that has involved speaking to a lot of partner organisations and neighbours, to hear what they think.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

It gets easier and no one ever asks about your GCSE results. I am dyslexic and even today my GCSEs were the hardest thing I have done, I struggled to get the grade and just found it really hard work. I realised if I wanted to move on from the feeling of not being able to cope I had to accept I am dyslexic and find my own ways of dealing with it. At the time my D in English felt like the worst thing in the world, but I got the C I need 6 months later and now no one even asks what I got!

Where would we find you on your day off?

At the football or any other sporting event to be honest. I am a massive Tranmere Rovers fan and one of the best things about being back in Liverpool is I get to a lot more home games. I am also a big fan of American football and baseball and will give most sports a go, although I’m not a huge cricket fan. I love to travel as well, so I try and get to a sporting event in every place I visit.

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

I have two: “Fake it until you make it and it never feels like you make it” and “Assume the best and not the worst of people” Both have been useful throughout my career, however hard they are to follow.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

Where else? I have lived all over the country and only moved back to Liverpool last year. It was moving home for me so I guess that is always easier but it is also a great place to work. Culturally it is thriving and it’s great to be in a city which not only has such a strong cultural scene but where it’s valued by the city council as well. The wider business sector is supportive and Liverpool feels like a city which is going places. There are lots of new developments happening and lots of change still taking place but it also feels place that is comfortable and confident with who it is. It’s a friendly place to work and everyone is supportive and keen to work together for the benefit of the city region.

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