Arts and culture interns

 18 March 2015

Steff Wills, Hayley Wayre, Natasha O’Dowd and Lizzie Minchener are paid interns for arts organisations in the Create Gloucestershire network. We asked them what they do as part of their internships in areas such as project management, fundraising and marketing.

"I’ve learnt how to apply my creativity in an office environment, plus better time management and organisational skills."

Lizzie Minchener

"I'm project manager intern at ArtShape. I graduated in Photography and Fine Art but was finding it difficult to find jobs in the creative sector in Gloucestershire. I thought I’d have to move to either Manchester or Bristol.

"I went to the Jobcentre and they asked if I would like to do work experience with ArtShape. The work experience was really valuable, so when ArtShape advertised for their internship I was in a great position to get that role.

"I had previously worked with charities and organisations who work with homeless people, which has helped me now as we are trying to create an adult education programme for homeless people in Gloucestershire. 

"I spend a lot of time researching and collating relevant information in preparation for bids. I’m also doing work with homeless people to find out what they might want from this type of programme, and what sort of skills they might like to learn.

"On top of this I help the assistant project manager to organise and put together programmes and projects."

Natasha O’Dowd

"So far as the social media and marketing intern at Hawkwood College I have been developing our social media presence, mainly on Facebook and Twitter, and developing links with partners and people who take our courses. I tweet about our courses, festivals and events, and share articles. I’ve just started Pinterest which is a new network for Hawkwood - it’s great for us as it is more visual and creative.

"We’re launching a new website, so I’m going through it proofing text, checking links and images and giving feedback to the designers so it's ready to go live.

"I am also doing a bit of general office work: answering phones, taking bookings, showing people around and even making soup!"

Hayley Wayre

"I originally started The Roses Theatre as a development assistant, which was a paid internship position. This involved assisting and shadowing my manager to gather research, looking after the database and helping out with anything needed.

I’d never really considered working in fundraising, but I now can’t imagine being in another type of role.

"As the internship came to an end I was given more projects to focus on independently. I am now a fundraising officer and am going to be working with our business members, network, sponsors, patrons and our supporters.

"Relationships are key to this role and we work a lot with the Tewkesbury community, so we make sure everyone knows what we’re doing, we know what they’re doing and identify where we can work together.

"I’d never really considered working in fundraising, but I now can’t imagine being in another type of role."

Steff Wills 

"I started out as exhibitions intern at ArtShape and now I'm assistant project manager."

What have you learnt from your internships?

Steff Wills

Coming from university you have creative skills, but you don’t have practical skills like fundraising or project management.

"I’ve learnt how to apply my creativity in an office environment, plus better time management and organisational skills.

"A lot of my work is project-based, so I need to plan things months in advance as well as organise my everyday work.

"I was probably not as organised during my degree course, which was more practical, so I’ve had to learn and pick up more forward-planning skills through my job."

What are the best and worst things about your jobs?

Lizzie Minchener

"ArtShape is an amazing organisation to work for and I find my role really rewarding. I like going to work each day as it's good fun and they are nice people. 

"I’ve had a lot of training across many different areas, so I’m constantly learning new skills. My employer is really open to me trying out new things and exploring new ways of working or running projects.

"The only bad point is it’s quite a lot of work for the hours I’m doing (30 hours per week). Because it is a small organisation, we often struggle for time.

"I’d like to try out a few more internship placements as I’m not quite sure what I want to do next."

Steff Wills

"The training has been really helpful. Coming from university you have creative skills, but you don’t have practical skills like fundraising or how to project manage.

"Another great thing is getting to see my creativity coming through via helping people and enabling them to do things they didn’t know they could achieve.

"The most challenging aspect is probably multitasking and having enough time to do everything that we want to do."

Hayley Wayre

"The Roses Theatre is a fantastic place to work. We get constant support from a brilliant team, which means people aren’t afraid to fail – this is really important as we can try out new things and learn how to improve.

"I’m really passionate about the place, so I really want to see it succeed and share in its success. It can’t be faulted really and it never feels like work! When I come home from work and think about what I’ve done I feel like wow, that’s my job, roll on tomorrow."

Advice for a creative career

1. Push through and keep committed

Even if what you’re working on doesn’t come out how you expected it to, you will still learn and will have created something different to what you imagined.

2. Be open to what’s in front of you

Learn from your mistakes, never give up and don’t be afraid to fail.

3. Be innovative

Have a fresh outlook and always try to come up with new ideas.

In 2014 Create Gloucestershire secured just under £50,000 from the Creative Employment Programme. They created 19 employment opportunities in order to ensure equitable routes into creative employment across the county and help develop a talented workforce to sustain the sector. 

Create Gloucestershire are working with nine employers on this consortium pilot, and will be expanding with a new application. The Summerfield Trust is supporting a new branch of the project, creating placements for young people in rural areas.

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