Last year, I was scrolling through the Student’s Union Website when I discovered the opportunity to volunteer with the Huddersfield Literature Festival during its 2018 season. A few emails later, I was invited to the next meeting and the rest is history!

The volunteers had regular meetings with the head of the Festival, along with some of the organisers, to be kept in the loop and suggested ideas to help things run smoothly - it was a great opportunity to see the evolution of events and the planning behind them.

Image of a monitor with the SU website on it.

Something I really appreciated was the focus on accessibility within the festival. All venues were carefully picked for access and the volunteers underwent a variety of training sessions - including accessibility awareness and health and safety to help aid disabled patrons throughout the festival, and make it an easy experience for them to enjoy.

When the festival came around, I worked at a number of events, from poetry readings to guest speakers, helping where needed and using initiative to enable the festival to run smoothly.

The highlight of my experience with the Festival was being able to see the University's Emeritus Chancellor Sir Patrick Stewart speaking at the Town Hall - and getting an autograph from Simon Armitage!

A picture of Abbi receiving an autograph from Simon Armitage!

For an English Lit student, the skills and experience I’ve had from this opportunity has helped me develop as a person and as a future graduate - from training in accessibility to being a part of an events team, both front of house and backstage. 

A number of graduates from Literature are now moving into the events and marketing fields as festivals grow in popularity, and having had the opportunity to gain experience in a festival as an undergraduate can really help future career prospects.

This year, I’m returning to volunteer again with the Festival which I’m really excited for. There’s so many good events on and I’m looking forward to seeing the team again! 

It’s definitely worth volunteering your time and getting involved - both behind the scenes and as a patron.

I really recommend having a look and seeing if there’s something you’d enjoy - from workshops and speakers to poetry slams, it is a really good programme to take part in.

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