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Lisa Collins, a Deakin University museum studies student, was appointed as the first City of Bayside Curatorial Intern in July 2009. Her position is a paid internship and lasts for one year.
The program is the innovative result of a partnership between the City of Bayside and the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University. A second student intern will be appointed in 2010 and a third in 2011.
Lisa’s role at the gallery is to curate two exhibitions. And, here she reports mid-way through her internship, reflecting on the process of completing her first exhibition, Grant Featherston: redefining interiors.
I began the Bayside City Council and Deakin University Internship in July 2009. The program is designed to give Deakin Museum Studies students mentoring and professional experience curating exhibitions. The initiative is unique because it is a paid placement of one day a week for one year. During the internship, two exhibitions are developed which provide reinterpretations of the Council’s Collection. The exhibitions are displayed in the Bayside Arts and Culture Centre, located in the Brighton Town Hall. The Council’s traditional Collection is quite diverse and includes fine art, cultural heritage objects and Council memorabilia. The Council also manages two heritage buildings, Black Rock House and Billilla Mansion.
It is hoped that Deakin Museum Studies students will come from wide backgrounds offering the Bayside community an innovative exhibition program with a changing creative focus. There has been a lot of encouragement and freedom to explore exhibition themes of relevance to my own background and interests. For my first exhibition, I was able to pursue my love of history and the unravelling of stories behind cultural heritage objects. This took the form of an exhibition about the work of Grant Featherston, a leading designer of the 50s and 60s. With a background in art, my next exhibition proposes to involve working with contemporary artists who I hope will bring a fresh perspective to aerial photographs and plans from the Collection. I’m greatly looking forward to this opportunity and experience.
The best part of the internship is that it is very hands-on and allows you to gain a wide range of skills, including selecting the objects for display, preparing budgets and exhibition texts, organising publicity and the opening night etc. While slightly daunting at first, after all the study involved in the Grad Dip., it has been great to put all the theory into practise and have the opportunity to learn from some fantastic mentors with years of experience in the industry. My supervisors have provided not only guidance but also a supportive learning environment in which I am encouraged to pursue my own ideas. I have also gained an insight and experience working in a city council.
It has been really amazing to see my first exhibition titled Grant Featherston: redefining interiors up and running. From the internship, I’ve been able to make important connections and network with people in the field. It has provided invaluable experience, allowing me to bridge the gap between completing the course and gaining the practical skills required for employment. Well aware of the necessity of gaining as much practical experience as possible in order to gain a foot in the door of a highly competitive industry, receiving a wage has definitely relieved the pressure of squeezing volunteer gigs into the cracks of my schedule between part-time work and study. I highly recommend the internship and the prerequisite subjects required.
Contact Kristal Buckley for information about the selection process.