Alumni Services

Gráinne O’Hogan

Singing and part-time jobs filled Gráinne O’Hogan's spare time as a student. Now an Arts Manager, the Dublin native finds that these extra-curricular experiences have come to shape her career path.


Gráinne O’Hogan


MA French and English Literature

Year of Graduation 2011

Your time at the University  

Gráinne O’Hogan

I chose to study at Edinburgh before ever having seen the University, or the city for that matter! I knew very few people in Dublin who had applied to UK universities as most people chose to continue their education in Ireland, but I was drawn in by the historic city, the academic excellence and the cultural and musical reputation of this world-leading university. On a personal level, I had always want to live abroad, and studying languages not only allowed me to study in Edinburgh but also take part in an Erasmus programme at Paul Valery University in Montpellier, France.

Being a part of the EU Singers was a highlight of my time at Edinburgh – from singing choral arrangements of Scottish folk songs at weekly rehearsals in the beautiful and historic St Cecilia’s Hall, to performing Handel with a full orchestra in old St Paul’s Church, to touring Florence, Montecatini and Lucca with the choir in the summer months – I made friends and memories to last a lifetime.

I worked part-time throughout my time at university, taking on all sorts of jobs from waitress to shop attendant to SnapFax [a discount scheme] booklet maker(!), but my favourite job was in the summer of my third year of studies, when I was taken on as a reviewer during the Fringe festival for Hairline, a digital magazine. Looking back now, this was a key experience for me in terms of the career path I would end up in…but at the time I just saw it as a great opportunity to see great shows for free!

Don’t rule out your hobbies as just pastimes – if you love something, find a way to make it your livelihood!

Gráinne O’Hogan

Your experiences since leaving the University

After completing my degree, I still didn’t have a clear idea of what career I wanted to pursue, so I moved back to Dublin and began working as a temp at a fast-growing field marketing company, thinking it would be a summer job until I figured out my next step.

Luckily for me, after a month there I was hired permanently as a full-time account executive. This was a steep learning curve for me coming from an arts background, but I loved the challenge and the business environment.

Following on from my memorable experience with the EU singers, I joined a choir in Dublin and soon after began acting as their manager in a volunteer capacity, alongside my day job. After a short time, it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a business role in the cultural sector as my day job, so I undertook a Masters in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin. This involved a work placement with Tenebrae, a professional choir in London, and a thesis on the use of state-run internship schemes in Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions, which was subsequently developed into an article for the Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy.

During my work placement I was offered a position in the Development team of the London Symphony Orchestra, where I progressed up to Memberships Manager over three years, responsible for planning recitals and events and communications for a large network of supporters and advocacy partners.

Last year I moved back to Dublin to take up the newly created position of Arts Manager at University College Dublin where I am responsible for the overall management of two performing arts scholarship ensembles.

In London and now in Dublin, I lived with friends from Edinburgh Uni, and every May bank holiday five of us who studied together but now live across Ireland, the UK and the USA, all meet up for a long overdue catch-up. And I still sing with the choir that first piqued my interest in arts management!

Alumni Wisdom

Don’t rule out your hobbies as just pastimes – if you love something, find a way to make it your livelihood!

Make the most of all of the vibrant and dynamic societies on offer at Edinburgh Uni during term time, and spend the summers getting as much work experience as you can. The more people you meet and industries you encounter will stand you in good stead when you graduate and start pursuing your next adventures in life. And stay in touch with your friends from university – the experiences you share during your time in Edinburgh will become your most treasured memories as you drift off across the four corners of the world after graduation.

Stay in touch with your lecturers too – they know you more than you think and you’ll need a good reference if you decide to go on to postgraduate study in the future!

Related Links

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

EU Singers (external link)

Erasmus+ (external link)