Cat Scott spent 6 months of 2016 as Exhibitions and Events Intern for Bradford Museums and Galleries, and agreed to write a blog for us about her experiences.
From March to August 2016, I worked as an Exhibitions and Events Intern as part of the Creative Employment Programme, funded by Arts Council England and Bradford Council. My internship was based at South Square Gallery and across other Museums, Galleries and Festivals in Bradford, including: Bradford Museums and Galleries, Music and Visual Arts at ThreadFest/Gallery II at the University of Bradford and Saltaire Arts Trail with Saltaire Inspired.
At the beginning of the internship, my key aim was to gain key skills and experience in the arts in a variety of gallery contexts. The fantastic thing about my internship in particular, was the scope of different galleries and art events that I worked in. Seeing behind the scenes in larger galleries like Bradford Museums and Galleries was interesting, in comparison to grassroots galleries like South Square Centre, where you are given more independence and freedom to find your own ways of working. Another key aim was to further develop my self-confidence with working in the arts. One of the most enjoyable elements of this internship was having the ability to work across different galleries and events everyday, and with a variety of people.
I have gained a valuable insight into the arts in Bradford, through collecting a vast array of skills and experience in art exhibitions and events. The highlights of my internship have been installing exhibitions at South Square Gallery and Bradford Museums and Galleries and working as a Research Assistant with Gallery II at University of Bradford to collate archive material on past art events at UOB in special collections. This research has been used to form the art exhibition called Subveillance: 50 Years of the University of Bradford From Below celebrating 50 years of UOB at Gallery II on campus. The most rewarding part of my internship was working as a Co-Curator for the STEAM Ahead Group Exhibition in the Main and Community Gallery at South Square Centre in Bradford. I took pride in being given the opportunity to curate my first group exhibition in a gallery context. I selected artists with whom I share interests in multidisciplinary Art and Science practice.
Curating the STEAM Ahead Group Exhibition and Special Event was the key highlight and conclusion of my entire internship, as it made me realise that curation is an important thread to my practice. Curating multidisciplinary exhibitions and events is an element, which I wish to further develop in the near future.
Throughout my time as an Exhibitions and Events Intern, I met many inspiring people. Most of whom, were very motivated Curators and emerging and established Artists. My job was mostly to shadow the role of the Curator, acting as an Assistant Curator, which really fuelled my interest into curating my own art and science exhibition. Which is something I’ve never done in a gallery before, it also gave me the chance to exhibit two commissioned large scale lenticular artworks which I created in 2015, and on show in a gallery for the first time since graduating from my degree in BA (Hons) Textiles in Practice from Manchester School of Art in July 2015.
One of my highlights from interning with Bradford Museums and Galleries were installing exhibitions with the gallery team. I assisted the install of Tony Bevan’s exhibition, where I met the Artist. I experienced how he curates his own work, as well as meeting the Fine Art Curator from Leeds Museums and Galleries. It was interesting to see behind the scenes in the gallery, which is something I have wanted to experience for some time. I learnt many technical skills, as well as learning about the importance of clear communication when working in a team… especially when large, fragile and prestigious artworks are involved! I did condition reports to check the conditions of artworks upon arrival in the gallery and installed artworks big and small, in many different medias, including: concrete on canvas for ‘Windows’ exhibition by Artist David Hepher at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery and interactive kinetic sculptures for ‘Beastly Machines’ Exhibition by Artist Johnny White at Bradford Industrial Museum.
I enjoyed Imran Qureshi’s opening night at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, where I met the International Artist and many other interesting practitioners from across Bradford and further afield.
There was a music performance by the ‘Ten Strings Duo’ in the gallery, which I enjoyed as I think its great to question what happens in a gallery space. I enjoyed this event, because Artists David Hepher and Tony Bevan were discussing their work in an informal way with the public at Cartwright Hall in their exhibition spaces. Again, I appreciated this, as it broke the concept of the ‘gallery’ down, by creating less formal discussions between established Artists and the public.
I thoroughly enjoyed gaining experience in assisting and running a variety of workshops with the ‘Friends of Bradford Museums and Galleries’, in response to the current exhibitions on show and with young families at Cartwright Hall. Also, I assisted family workshops in collaboration with Saltaire Inspired and Sponge Tree at Saltaire Arts Trail. My previous workshop experience with Bradford Museums and Galleries really helped, as it gave me the relevant platform that I needed to assist further workshops later on in my internship.
An exhibition which I helped install was ‘Beastly Machines’ by Artist Johnny White and 2021 Gallery at Bradford Industrial Museum, which was an exhibition focused towards families as it was full of interactive kinetic sculptures… it was very fun and loud! I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to Johnny about pneumatic components to inform my own science inspired artworks. Johnny gave me some tips of what to use to make my kinetic artwork a reality… I am hoping to experiment further with my own pneumatic artworks in 2017. I was asked by Sonja Kielty, the Curator of Exhibitions, to curate three large glass cabinets of objects from Bradford Museums and Galleries collections, of animals and children’s story books related to animals, in conjunction with the ‘Beastly Machines’ Exhibition, which was themed on animals. This gave me the opportunity to showcase my eye for curating, through arranging objects depending on their size, shape, colour and subject matter. It took me a few goes, but I got there in the end and Sonja was really impressed. This experience gave me further confidence, to curate my own science inspired art group exhibition which became ‘STEAM Ahead’ at South Square Gallery, on show at the end of my internship.
I met lots of Curators at an event called Touring Exhibitions Group Marketplace held at City Hall and Cartwright Hall Art Gallery for two days. We went on a tour of the Photography Exhibition by Alec Soth at the National Media Museum and were taken around their photography collections. This was another worthy experience to push myself outside of my comfort zone, to network with inspiring Curators from Galleries and Arts Funding Organisations across the UK. I represented Bradford Museums and Galleries at their networking event at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, where each gallery had a stand, to share the touring exhibitions they had to offer to loan to other galleries. This allowed me to see the ins and outs of how touring exhibitions are curated from gallery to gallery, and how vital ‘partnering’ together with other galleries that share similar goals are to the success of an exhibition.
This internship has improved my confidence within my own practice, as well as in attending opening events for exhibitions. Networking is always something I aim to do, but found it hard to get into. I have proven to be very adaptable to new situations and can perform well under tight deadlines.
Through installing and invigilating many exhibitions, conserving artworks, assisting and running workshops, assisting sessions with the education team and local schools and working at Artist talks and Preview events; I have gathered many contacts with the management of Bradford District Council, Bradford Museums and Galleries, Curators from The Flowers Gallery and 2021 Gallery, meeting Royal Artist Darren Baker and many more memories. It has been a whirlwind of opportunity. Working in the arts is all about having the ability to notice when opportunities arise and having the confidence to take those opportunities! I will take that away with me, as I venture further into my career.
I would recommend the Creative Employment Programme to other recent Art Graduates. I wish it would have been longer than six months, but I am so thankful to have had six solid months of hard work in the arts industry. I will remember my first full-time job being the best opportunity I could have been involved in.
Following my internship, I wish to pursue my career in curation and research particularly in projects with a multidisciplinary context, alongside developing my own artistic practice as a Scientific-Artist/Designer.
Thank you Bradford Museums and Galleries for allowing me to participate in the Creative Employment Programme.