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I began my internship with Bayside City Council in July 2011, am now coming up to my last month. The experience has been invaluable, and has really helped me to relate the concepts that I have learnt through the course at Deakin to actual practice. I have had the opportunity to gain experience across all aspects of developing an exhibition, from conceptualising and planning, working with a budget, selecting and sourcing objects, producing its components, installing it, to handling marketing and public programs. Being given much autonomy to decide on my exhibition's theme and scope, as well as plan the entire process has made it very immersive process which has been both challenging and exciting. I have also acquired the experience of working in local government and gained insight into the issues that councils manage.
The process of curating the exhibition has been most meaningful as well. I set out to curate something that would be relevant to the Bayside community and hoped to share my interest in history and heritage with them by helping them learn more about where they live. The exhibition that I have curated, Home Front: Bayside in World War II explores the Bayside community’s experience of life during World War II, looking at how the community chipped in to the war effort and civil defence, how they coped with austerity measures and endured loss and separation from their loved ones in the services. In the process of developing the exhibition, I have made connections, worked with and received invaluable advice and support from people in the community, the staff at Bayside, my lecturers at Deakin and professionals in the field.
It has been most exciting and fulfilling to see my first exhibition, Home Front: Bayside in World War II open to the public and when reading the heartfelt comments and recollections that they have left on the message board in the exhibition, it is great to see how visitors have connected with it. The internship has been given me the resources and opportunity to test my ideas and skills, and gain a better understanding of working in the industry. I am confident that the hands-on experience I have gained will put me in good stead when seeking employment in the field, and will continue to motivate me as I continue my studies at Deakin.
Jean’s exhibition Home Front: Bayside in World War II, is at the Bayside Gallery 29 March to 20 May 2012.
Dr Jonathan Sweet of Deakin University spoke at the launch of the exhibition on 11 April 2012, along with the Mayor of Bayside, and Professor Kate Darian-Smith of the Australian Studies program at the University of Melbourne.
The exhibition explores how local people participated in civil defence activities and contributed to the war effort whilst experiencing austerity measures and separation from their loved ones in the services. The display features historical photos, oral history interviews from the Australians at War Film Archive, as well as documents and artefacts from the local community.
Local items include a Brighton Air Raid Precautions warden’s helmet and first aid box, wooden shuttles used by a Sandringham volunteer group to make camouflage nets for the armed forces, and letters from a Brigadier in the Australian Imperial Force to his daughter who was a Firbank Grammar School student.
Each year since 2009, Bayside City Council, in partnership with Deakin University, has offered a Museum Studies or Cultural Heritage student the opportunity to curate an exhibition to be displayed at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre in Brighton. The paid internship is one day a week for twelve months.
Contact Kristal Buckley for information about the selection process.