During my undergraduate studies, I was looking for a Master’s course which would be more suitable for my goals and could give me more practical skills. I chose the Arts Management, Policy and Practice programme mainly because I would have had the opportunity to work in an art organisation of my choice. I selected The Whitworth as my placement, because when I first visited the gallery I admired the gallery’s collection, architecture and the variety of events and workshops that were organised in its art space. I was curious to find how a historical art organisation with educational character could facilitate social events which aimed to entertain their audience. Therefore, I was very enthusiastic about grasping the opportunity to be part of The Whitworth, a significant art organisation in Manchester, with worldwide reputation, and observe the gallery’s operation behind the scenes.

My role at the gallery was to assist with the “Thursday Lates” events programme and I had multiple responsibilities. Firstly, I was responsible to export the online proposal forms that were on the gallery’s website, into format documents, to be reviewed by a group of staff. During the five months of my practise, I had the possibility to conduct a small research and find local artists, studios and communities that could engage with the “Thursday Lates” events. I was responsible to communicate with them, introduce the “Thursday Lates” programme and invite them to fill the online proposal form on the gallery’s website. I personally had the responsibility to review the proposal forms of those people, and forward their proposals to the Engagement team. Moreover, I was able to be part of the selection of successful applications, as I was attending meetings of the Engagement team, where we reviewed and discussed about the proposed events/projects. Therefore, it was part of my duties to respond to successful and unsuccessful proposal forms and, forward the successful applications to a member of the staff that was responsible for meeting the leading artist of the proposed event. One of my achievements during my practise was to audit the current proposal form, as I considered that the Engagement team needed more information for the background of each artist who was proposing a project in the gallery, since I believed it could improve the procedure of selecting the successful application forms. This step had positive feedback from the staff of the gallery and also had beneficial outcomes.

Furthermore, every Thursday I was present and I assisted with the delivery of the events. This procedure improved my knowledge on Project Planning, as I was able to work effectively in teams under time constrains. Assisting in a variety of events, where each event had different needs helped me put the theory I gained during the first semester, into practise. Last but not least, I am glad that I could observe the transformation of a gallery, from a space which serves high art, to an entertaining space and assist to this procedure. What I am definitely taking with me from this experience, is the importance of team working in order to achieve excellence in the planning of big projects, something that I could only understand in practice and not in theory.

 

CharaKontopoulou
Chiara Kontopoulou, The Whitworth, 2018 (Photo: Chara Kontopoulou)
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