Initially choosing an organisation for my Institute of Cultural Practices Work Placement module was difficult. This was not because of a lack of options or opportunities, but due to the wide variety of potentially exciting and interesting organisations available to choose from. As an Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA student who had also studied History of Art at an undergraduate level, I knew I wanted to find a placement that would entail working within a visual arts environment. I was also aware that my placement choice could potentially be influential in terms of my future career within the arts. With this in mind I had narrowed my options down to a few institutions and organisations that I thought would be relevant to my specific interests within the arts.
Axisweb, an online but Leeds based contemporary art organisation, was one placement that stood out. One reason for choosing Axisweb was the flexibility in terms of the roles available within the organisation that were described as part of the Institute of Cultural Practices placement brochure. Another draw was the modest size of Axisweb in terms of the staff employed, this I felt would benefit my experience, as I would be able to get a thorough understanding of the organisation and potentially have a larger influence in terms of my role within the team. This proved accurate, as on my first meeting with Axisweb I instantly felt part of the organisation and a valued member of the small but influential team.
My duties and roles varied on a day-to-day basis, ranging from marketing and promotional roles, to research and evaluation tasks. Such a variety of roles enabled me to be flexible in my approach to work, whilst also giving me the opportunity to develop a wide range of professional skills. I had the chance to attended staff meetings regularly and felt Axisweb took any comments and ideas on board as if I was a full member of staff. As someone who is beginning their career in the arts I felt I was able contribute my opinions on the organisation’s approach to early career art professionals like myself and as a result help Axisweb in terms of their audience development and communication with their younger and specifically student and graduate members.
My highlight of the placement was a three-day trip to London to work on the Axisweb stall for London Art Fair. Such an experience gave me an invaluable insight into the workings of the UK contemporary art market of which I feel would have been difficult to achieve, if I had not undergone my placement with Axisweb.