23 Jul 2019

How to get the most out of a placement


Maraiga has just landed her first role as a Collections Officer at the Lightbox Gallery in Sussex after completing one of our taster placements. Here Maraiga gives us an insight into what she got up to on her placement and what she got out of it. 

I am an Art Gallery and Museums Studies student at The University of Manchester and was looking for more work experience in the gallery sector. With help and support of DaDaFest over the past month, I have undertaken a work placement at The Victoria Gallery and Museum in Liverpool. 

Within this placement, I was tasked with helping the museum’s learning team create learning resources for their collection of prints by John James Audubon, a 19th Century artist who recorded American wildlife. 

On the first day of my placement, I helped deliver workshops for local schoolchildren. These workshops used the museum’s taxidermy collection to help the children learn about animal adaptations through using their observation skills. 

The children really enjoyed handling the taxidermy and asked probing questions about adaptation and habitats – some of which I didn’t have the knowledge to answer but, thankfully, the museum’s learning team did! This first day was really useful for giving me an insight into how children interacted with the collections and what topics piqued their interest. 

Over the following days, I researched the print collection and Audubon to gain an understanding of the social and cultural circumstances of the historical period and the artist’s influences and intentions. 

This initial research was essential to understand how I could make the artwork relatable to school children. To explore this further, I researched the national curriculum to explore how teachers could use the collection to achieve their learning aims and help their pupils understand topics. 

This task was really interesting because it enabled me to apply my knowledge of learning in museums which I gained from my studies and helped me understand the realities of creating learning resources for museums. 

After this, I discussed my ideas for the learning resources with the museum’s learning team. From this discussion, I decided to create two learning resources – one about adaptations for Key Stage 1 & 2 children, and one which encouraged Key Stage 3 & 4 children to debate whether animals should be used in art and science. In the final days of my placement, I created these resources through using existing learning resources as a guide. 

Overall, the placement has been a really exciting opportunity for me to apply the knowledge I gained from my course, develop my experience working in museums, and gain confidence through working with museum professionals. 

All of these factors really added to my CV and enabled me to find my first full-time job in the sector! 

Thanks Hanna at DaDa Fest and Kirsty and Rebecca at The Victoria Gallery and Museum for all your help and support! 

Would you like to get a taste of what it’s like to work in the creative industries? We offer tasters in a range of sectors and can create something that fits your interests. Get in touch with our artist development team by emailing artistdevelopment@dadafest.co.uk

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