The opportunity to work on a placement at the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature office arose as part of the professional development requirement of my MRes degree at Nottingham Trent University. As an English student in Nottingham with a big love for literature this was a great opportunity to get involved with the creative community in Nottingham, learn more about what it means to be a UNESCO City of Literature, and develop my own professional skills.

During my time on the placement I have been assisting in gathering data for the evaluation of the Young City Reads programme. This has involved completing a range of activities such as compiling and cross-referencing project data, note-taking and summarising key points from interviews with the City of Literature Young Ambassadors, and creating questionnaires for feedback from participants. In order to gather this data and fulfil my role as an evaluator, I have worked closely with the UNESCO City of Literature team and website to learn more about the Young City Reads Programme, in addition to utilising the database of information used within the office.

I have gained a lot of skills from my experience as an evaluator, having previously only gathered data for academic research. This opportunity has allowed me to develop my data gathering skills, working with both qualitative and quantitative data to help inform the final project evaluation. I have learnt about what it means to work both independently and as a team for an organisation such as UNESCO, identifying how creative opportunities such as the Young Ambassador programme will help towards ‘building a better world with words’, the mission of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature. Though I’ve always been proud to be a student in a City of Literature, this placement has given me an understanding of what that really means and given me great appreciation for the talent and rich literary culture Nottingham has to offer.