Interning in the arts

 14 November 2014

Amy Powell is an intern at Unlimited, a programme delivered by Shape and Artsadmin that celebrates the work of disabled artists. In this video she discusses how the internship has opened her eyes to the value of the arts and reflects on what it means to be part of a workplace.

"My name is Amy Powell and I’m an intern from Bristol.  

"I’ve been helping out with the administration of Unlimited and helping out in the gallery. I was part of going to see the different shows, writing about what I thought about them and being a part of the festival."

Getting started in an arts internship

"I didn’t really know a lot about Unlimited. I hadn’t been aware of what had happened before or what they were doing. 

The arts can have a massive way of changing ideas and changing viewpoints.

"I had just finished a Fine Art degree at the University of the West of England. The university was offering this internship scheme and I was interested in the link between art and mental health and doing workshops around art and mental health.

"We managed to organise it so that I could come and be a part of the organisation towards the beginning of the festival and then part of the evaluation afterwards."

Working with a disability

"In the internship I’ve had to, sort of, try and negotiate things with my own disabilities and what I can do and what I struggle with - without that impacting upon the internship. 

"Like having trouble concentrating for a whole day in an office was something I found quite hard at the beginning. So we broke that down into being in the gallery and stuff and that was really useful.

"Having the space within an organisation that is so open to accessibility to really work out what are things I need is something I’ll be able to take when I go further on in my career.

 It’s not about being clever in what you say, it’s about being clear. That’s been really inspiring.

"I think the main thing for me about doing Unlimited and being in Shape has been about presenting myself. That’s kind of been something I’ve realised is really important and about communication.

"Working with someone like Jo, who’s the producer, and Tony, who runs Shape, you really realise how well these people really communicate just dealing with one thing at a time. It’s not about being clever in what you say, it’s about being clear. That’s been really inspiring for me." 

Working on a festival 

"I think to be a part of Unlimited really is to be a part of some sort of revolution that’s going on within the arts. It’s celebrating that there are these different ways of being and making those different ways of being visible. 

Someone who’s doing a show based around their experience of their disability... that’s a powerful thing.

"The arts are for everyone and the arts can have a massive way of changing ideas and changing viewpoints. If you sit and listen to someone who’s doing a show based around their experience of their disability, that’s a really powerful thing, and that can hit you in a way that, you know, just a story in the news wouldn’t. 

"People who watched those shows came away differently, I think. They were transformative things. It was a very transformative festival and that’s a really valuable experience, to be a part of something that is trying to change things and is trying to really open up awareness."

Find out more about the work of Shape Arts as a leading force for the inclusion of disabled people into the creative and cultural sector. 

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