As it’s about time to have the blogs assessed, I thought I’d try and write a little about how I’ve found the module so far, and my thoughts on the future.
Having a Professional Business Practice module as a compulsory option on the course was not something I was convinced would be of any use to us, but the past 10 weeks have certainly changed my mind. It has been hugely beneficial hearing professionals from different areas of the industry talk about their own experiences finding work, and pursuing the careers of their dreams.
It really made the whole concept of finding work post-graduation more of a reality, but took away a little of the mystery and anxiety about doing so. If I’ve learnt anything from the guest speakers, it’s that with hard work and determination, you can achieve what you hope to.
Having to find a work placement as part of the module has also been a great opportunity to push myself to actually gain some work experience in the industry. As a result I’ve volunteered at/attended a number of interesting events I wouldn’t have usually, and this has given me a greater understanding of the pure breadth of organisations and job roles out there.
I’m currently enjoying my placement at the Whitworth Art Gallery, I know this is a great opportunity to get my foot in the door and will also look great on my CV in the future. Although I’m still not entirely sure what I wish to pursue following graduation , I would definitely be interested in working in a gallery or museum environment and will be sure to keep my eyes and ears open for any possible vacancies in future.
Most importantly, the module has highlighted the importance of using my time at University effectively. Not just in gaining a good degree, but in making the most of the fact that I am in a position where I can volunteer my services for free without being out of pocket, giving me the opportunity to work with varying organisations to gain further work experience and to pad out my CV. This will hopefully demonstrate to prospective employers that I have been proactive in finding work and am also enthusiastic about working in the Film and Media industry.
Overall, I have enjoyed the module and feel much less intimidated by the prospect of finding work after University. For now, I need to work hard on completing my degree, and get involved with things where ever possible to gain experience and to improve my chances of gaining employment in the future.
Today I continued my work sorting through and categorising the many architectural drawings the gallery had found buried under hoards of old papers in the offices. I was then set the task of entering this data into an Excel spreadsheet so that it would be easy to identify and locate drawings if necessary.
I usually work in Jo’s office with her, but for lack of a computer I was re-located to an office on the other side of the building – occupied by 3 other members of staff, including PA to the gallery director.
It was nice to have the chance to talk to other members of staff and find out a little about what it is they do.
The director’s PA only work’s part-time while she studies for a Master’s degree in Art History. It’s good to know there are opportunities to work in such positions while still continuing with education, in case I do decide to go on to do a Master’s or other post-graduate degree.
Yesterday was my second day volunteering at the Whitworth Art Gallery.
I turned up to find that Dave, the other volunteer I was going to be working with, had been offered a full-time job elsewhere and so had had to drop out last minute. I was sad to hear this because I think working with someone else would have been fun, and also meant that I would have had someone to bounce ideas off, but I guess I’ll have to man the fort alone!
My second day volunteering started with me sitting in on the Gallery’s monthly staff meeting. This was a really great opportunity to meet other members of the staff and find out a little about what everyone does. I had no idea just how many different departments the gallery has, handling all variety of business. It was good to see that the staff have a regular meeting which allows them to fill everyone else in on what they’ve been doing over the past month, and it certainly seems like there are a number of exciting projects going on.
Vivian, the head of the ‘Friends of the Whitworth’ group gave a talk on what it is that they do, and asked staff to suggest ways in which the group could better support the gallery.
The Friends group was established in 1933 and has been flourishing ever since. The main aim is to support the work of the University of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery and its internationally renowned collection. The Friends raise money to support some acquisitions and special projects at the Gallery. The Friends is a lively organisation with a wide programme of events – there is something for everyone from lectures, ‘behind the scenes’ visits, invitations to exhibition openings, visits to other art galleries, museums, houses and gardens at home and abroad and social events.
More information can be found at http://www.friendsofthewhitworth.org.uk/about.html
Following the meeting, I was set the task of sorting through a series of old architechtural drawings of the gallery, catagorising them, and then putting the information into a spreadsheet I created. It was really interesting looking through all the old drawings and seeing how the gallery has developed structurally over the years – some of the drawings dated back as far as 1942!
Last weeks lecture featured guest speaker Marcus Lord.
Marcus discussed the pro’s and con’s of working freelance, explaining that in today’s climate, as the market is often very unpredictable, employers will take on temporary freelance staff when they have a lot of work on, and that way can easily shed excess staff as business slows again – saving the company money and ensuring they are able to meet demands when necessary.
Although there are undoubtedly pro’s to doing freelance work, i.e. working for different employer’s/companies means the work would always be varied, keeping things interesting. It does also come with its risks however, there is never any guarantee f work, and living with that uncertainty is not something that appeals to me.
Today was my first day volunteering at the Whitworth Art Gallery.
I met again with Jo Beggs (Head of Development) and we went over the actual proposal for the gallery’s capital development – basically this involved looking at and talking through the architect’s plans for the new build. I’m starting to find out exactly how a project like this comes to fruition – all the work that has to go into a proposal before it can even be submitted to the council/lottery heritage fund for approval.
Looking over the plans was really interesting, the new build will only increase the gallery’s physical footprint by 31%, but will increase the actual public gallery space by 100%! The extension means existing space within the gallery can be maximised, as well as providing a new gallery, sculpture garden and cafe at the back of the building.
The brief for the design stated that the extension must ‘architecturally reconnect the gallery to the park’ – making the most of the fact the gallery is set in the beautiful Whitworth park. The design incorporates a lot of innovative new technologies that allows it to be as ‘green’ as possible, including solar panels, a green roof and a special underground ventilation system leading straight into the galleries archives that will allow the gallery to scrap their existing expensive air-conditioning unit.
Most importantly, the new build will open up the rear of the gallery to the communities behind it, making it both more visible and more accessible to people approaching the gallery from the opposite side of the park.
I also met Dave Ogle, a Lancaster University graduate who will be volunteering on the same project. Together, Jo suggested we be responsible for the capital development blog, a project started by the existing staff to provide information and track the progress of the build, but which has fallen somewhat by the wayside in recent weeks. This would be a great experience, and would also mean I had something to physically show for my time at the gallery. We’re meeting again next week to discuss ideas!
I’ve finally managed to secure some work experience – hooray!
After weeks of frantically sending out e-mails to no avail, I was contacted by Jo Beggs, the Head of Development at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery. Jo Invited me in for a chat and after a lengthy conversation over coffee, we agreed that I’ll start volunteering one day a week, helping out on the Gallery’s ongoing capital development project.
Basically the Gallery are currently waiting to find out if they’ve been successful in their application to receive National Lottery Heritage funding, which will allow them to go ahead with a planned £12 million expansion at the back of the gallery. Details about the capital development project can be found on the following blog that the gallery has been updating:
This is an artist’s interpretation of what the extension will look like:
Jo explained that there would be a lot to do over the coming months, from the very mundane to the very interesting – One of the projects she mentioned was possibly setting up and maintaining a web cam which would follow the progress of the build, with the footage streamed live on the website so that the public could see exactly what was taking place on a day-to-day basis.
Jo also mentioned the possibility of me liaisoning with other departments including Marketing and Public Relations to give me an all round idea of what it is to run a Gallery such as The Whitworth. Whatever they have me doing, I’m sure the experience will be invaluable, and who know’s what it could lead to.. I start on Monday, I’ll keep you posted!