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What’s it like to be an intern at The Civic?

Ashley Gregory gives us the low down…

I’ve been undertaking an internship as a gallery assistant here at The Civic through Sheffield Hallam University since the start of January, but now my time here is almost over (time flies when you’re having fun!), so I thought I’d reflect upon my experiences.

My New Year’s resolution for 2020 was to try new things, challenge and open myself up to new areas and potential career pathways to choose from. I have an enormous passion for the arts and I’m always keen to learn more, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for me to develop and enhance my skills and knowledge in a creative environment.

Before my first day, I had a rough idea of what to expect, but I didn’t quite realise just how much is involved behind the scenes to create and curate a number of exhibition spaces; some of the work here has been exhausting, but it has certainly kept me fit!

At The Civic I’ve learnt a great deal, from understanding how a gallery operates to using different tools and equipment. I’ve always enjoyed attending galleries and exhibitions and interning at The Civic has given me a great and eye-opening opportunity to understand the other side of experiencing a gallery and gain a fresh perspective.

The main exhibition currently in the gallery space is by Paula Chambers and has become one of my personal favourites, with some excellent displays. I helped install whilst Paula was present, which was a rare and rewarding opportunity for me to meet her, as well as being able to see the artist at work. It has been a satisfying and rewarding journey to see all the work come together and seeing visitors come to the gallery, taking in and enjoying the displays.

If you have ever seen the mannequin displays here at The Civic, you wouldn’t believe how much fun can be had with them, especially when assembling them and storing them into boxes. As we take them apart, there’s limbs everywhere, which often looks like a scene from a horror film!

This has also been my first time in Barnsley, even though I have a family connection here. Whilst working in the town, I have been enjoying and absorbing all its creative spaces, including the various cultural events and programmes The Civic has to offer.

Whilst here, I’ve been exposed to several brilliant artworks and artists that I wouldn’t have seen elsewhere. There’s also opportunities here to be taken advantage of and I will be taking another by attending a writing workshop here next week. There’s never a dull moment here at The Civic as there’s always an event taking place.

During my time at The Civic, I have expanded my knowledge and understanding of the art world and I will be taking the skills I’ve learnt with me into the future. I also feel as though I’ve been part of a little family as everyone here has been incredibly welcoming; even one of my friends from Uni has now also started an internship here! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with lovely people and I shall miss them when I’ve gone; it’s the staff and volunteers here that make The Civic the creative and supportive space that it is.

Also I’ve seen what events and exhibitions are coming to the gallery space in the not too distant future and I think you’ll be in for a treat!


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