Museum Makers: Anna Marshall, Hull City Council

  • 24 January 2019

Senior marketing executive Anna Marshall describes her role in promoting the world-class work of Hull's Ferens Art Gallery, and the rewards that a career in public relations offers.

Anna Marshall, senior marketing executive, Hull City Council

My passion for the arts, heritage and culture developed during 2017, when I led the campaign to put Ferens Art Gallery at the centre of Hull’s year as UK City of Culture.

My role in marketing and promoting the world-class programme presented by the Ferens allowed me to develop relationships with journalists around the world and secured unprecedented national and international coverage for events including Spencer Tunick’s Sea of Hull, the largest nude installation ever staged in the UK, the reopening of the Ferens after a major refurbishment and the Turner Prize.

Ferens was also shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018, cementing its reputation as one of the UK’s finest regional galleries.

My UK City of Culture experience was as transformative for me as it was for the city of Hull. I saw first-hand how the power of culture and creativity in its different forms can change a place and improve people’s lives.

So, when this job came up I knew this was the right time and right opportunity to continue this incredible journey, showcasing the city as a world-class visitor destination and a place where people want to live, learn, visit and work.

My job focuses solely on a £27.4m project. Funded by Hull City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project seeks to transform and breathe new life into Hull’s maritime treasures, placing them at the centre of our offer to the world.

This is our primary legacy project from UK City of Culture and includes the transformation of the Maritime Museum, the long-term preservation of the Spurn Lightship and the creation of a brand new visitor attraction, revealing a former dock and an undiscovered area of the historic core of Hull as well as becoming the permanent home for the Arctic Corsair, the country’s last surviving sidewinder, to preserve her future for generations.

I raise awareness, build audiences and promote the project with all our target audiences and stakeholders at local, national and international levels. This also involves extensive partnership working – collaborating with partners to achieve our ambitious shared goal and vision for the city.

I knew I had to nail the interview. Plan, prepare and go for it! However, I do sometimes lack confidence, so I needed to believe in myself and sell my skills, knowledge and experience in the best possible way. I think I let my passion shine through when answering the questions. I wanted my interviewers to understand just how much I care about this.

A normal working day is to check social media platforms, check my emails and then try to get through my never-ending lists of drafting social media content. As this is a new role I am busy in developing and implementing the marketing and communications strategy. A key part of day-to-day work is creating traditional marketing material and social media platforms, in order to build support and awareness for the project ahead of an important round-two bid submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

By promoting the positive news, you are doing good. Media, PR and marketing makes a positive difference to people’s lives and plays an important role in any organisation, and in particular for museums and tourism organisations. You can do so much and the opportunities are endless. I love the end results, it is so rewarding. In this type of media and PR role, no two days are the same and things can change in an instant – I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

Measure and evaluate everything to show your success. Be creative: no idea is a bad idea. Go for it – there are so many rewards and benefits. Take a risk, but make sure it’s informed and calculated and that you are ready in case it doesn’t work.

You can follow the Hull: Yorkshire's Maritime City project on Twitter at @HullMaritime


Museum Makers highlights the contributions, careers and expertise of museum professionals nationwide. From marketing to retail, front of house to management, our museum makers reveal what goes on behind the scenes of the UK's cultural institutions.