Staff Spotlight: Jo
Jo Sohn-Rethel — Content and Interpretation Manager
How’d you get into the field?
I did a Masters degree in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, which is also where I met my wife — so pretty life-changing! One of my first jobs was as an audience researcher at the science museum, testing prototype interactives with unsuspecting visitors. From there I’ve gone on to do content curation, project management and National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) grant distribution.
All these different roles mean my skills are very eclectic, but great for my diverse role at Studio MB. My curatorial and project management background helps with the day-to-day coordination of images, films and interpretive text that goes into our exhibitions, while my experience in evaluation informs our audience focused approach to creating interpretation strategies. My time at NLHF also comes in useful, with so many of our projects focused on meeting the criteria of public funders.
What’s the best part of your job?
I got into the heritage sector because of my interest in history. My job definitely satisfies this curiosity — one day I might be researching the poems of Robert Burns while the next I could be deep into the world of JCB diggers.
We’ve recently been appointed to design a new museum at Trent Park, a stately home that fronted as a POW camp but was really recording the conversations of its prisoners to gather vital intelligence.
3 words to describe your role:
Creative – At the start of the project we get to help put together the story, which is great fun.
Collaborative – To do this we need to work with the client, subject experts and different archives.
Challenging – Working with such a diverse range of stories and clients requires a lot of flexibility.
In your spare time:
In my spare time I can be seen in the playgrounds and soft play centres of Leith with my 16-month year old son. When I get a moment, I love playing tennis, football and cycling.
Most memorable museum experience:
I’ve just come back from Florida where we visited the Kennedy Space Centre. The massive film and big reveal of the space shuttle Atlantis was very ‘Hollywood’ but definitely memorable.
1984, George Orwell
The best series is still Breaking Bad, but Queer Eye is a guilty pleasure.
Dead dinner party guest?
King John, the infamous Magna Carta king that features in our Newark Castle exhibition design. Did he die from toad poison or from dysentery? That would make for some lovely dinner party chat.