Meet our 2016/17 cohort of Cultural Interns!

It’s that time again – we have now selected our ten exceptional University of Birmingham graduates for the sixth Cultural Internship Scheme. Interns will spend six months at one of ten leading cultural organisations in the West Midlands, blogging their experiences as they go (so keep an eye on this blog to find out about what they get up to). For starters, let’s meet the successful ten:

 

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Patricia Nistor
Birmingham Open Media

Birmingham Open Media (BOM) is part of the Cultural Intern scheme for the first time and I get to do it! My name’s Patricia, I grew up in Transylvania and I moved to Birmingham to get a BA in History of Art with a Semester Abroad.

In the last three years I filled my time volunteering for a dozen arts organisations, running a society that had 200 members after six months and organising the biggest youth music festival in my hometown for three years running. After my degree I took a not-so-gap-after-all gap year that began with an internship at the Skissernas Museum of Artistic Process and Public art in Lund, Sweden.  At the moment I’m doing a placement with Museums Victoria in Melbourne – returning to Birmingham will be the grand finale of this period.

BOM is a gallery with a fresh approach, exploring the meeting point between art, science and technology. Scientists and artists collaborate with the purpose of conveying their research in novel ways. This interdisciplinary exchange is breaking down stiff ancient barriers and makes for some great projects that I can’t wait to witness and facilitate. Working with contemporary art will definitely be a new challenge for me, but it’s the most fun one that I can think of.

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Matthew Smith
Writing West Midlands

I’m Matthew and I’m the Cultural Intern at Writing West Midlands. I just completed an MRes in Playwriting Studies, for the last couple of years I’ve been making work as a producer and writer in the fringe theatre scene. Producing work in rooms above pubs, below pubs and once in an abandoned mansion. I’ve had highs like writing for BBC Radio’s Newsjack and working on the Arts Council funded Birmingham Camera Obscura as well as lows such as producing a show in Preston where only the landlord’s dog turned up. I set up my first theatre company Writers LABB in Liverpool back in 2013. We organised regular theatre nights inviting writers to respond to different themes such as pubs, childhood and David Bowie. I also worked as a producer with Manchester based theatre collective ASSEMBLE where we were successful in securing funding from O2 Think Big. In 2014 I took my first show A Spaghetti North Western to the emotional roller coaster that is the Edinburgh Fringe.

I’m looking forward to working with Writing West Midlands and discovering how a small arts organisation works, as well as helping them with a range of different projects starting with the Birmingham Literature Festival.

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Sophie Bricknell
Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust

After four years studying for a degree in Ancient History, Archaeology and Geography and a Masters in Landscape Archaeology, I was looking for a job in the heritage sector and the Cultural Internship Scheme/Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust seemed like the perfect fit. I have always been passionate about museums, having spent much of my children in my local Roman museum. To gain experience in the heritage sector, I volunteered at both Thinktank museum and Winterbourne House and Gardens alongside my studies. I also became interested in the organisation of events during my presidency of the University’s Harry Potter society.

Known as the birthplace of industry, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust encompasses ten individual sites, running a wide selection of events across the sites all year round. It is these events that my internship will involve. Split between of corporate and public events, my internship will include the organisation and operation of these events. From my office above a Victorian Grocers shop in Blists Hill Victorian Town, I will begin my internship by aiding in the organisation of the Ghostly Gaslight, Halloween event and Fireworks night, before beginning work on this year’s Christmas events.

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Riyah Collins
BBC Birmingham

Hello! I’m Riyah and I’m interning at the BBC.

I graduated just this year with a BA in English Literature and History. Throughout my university career I was heavily involved in student journalism, writing for online student news site The Tab more or less since I got off the bus and rising through the ranks to become the deputy editor in Birmingham for my final year. I had also enjoyed some experience in events when I helped to coordinate Birmingham’s first ‘Heritage Week’ in 2015 during a placement at Birmingham City Council. Since graduating, I had been working at a news agency researching, writing, and marketing stories.

When considering my career options, I felt priced out of media and journalism as in such competitive fields the best way in appeared to be hugely expensive masters degrees. I also began to consider the impact I wanted to have in a career and whether I would be happy in a job that didn’t necessarily give anything back to the community.

This opportunity at the BBC stood out to me as the perfect marriage of everything I want to do, and I couldn’t contain my excitement just hearing about the internship let alone getting it! I’m so excited to learn as much as I can and feel so lucky to be surrounded by such a wealth of talent and expertise, something I would never have been able to do without this scheme.

I’ll be drawing heavily on my experience in events for the internship, working as part of the External Partnerships team on everything from community coding clubs to Children in Need. I can’t wait to explore other areas of media I’m unfamiliar with, particularly radio and have already had the chance to sit in on a show!

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Mamta Raichura
Sampad

Hi! My name is Mamta Raichura and I am the Sampad cultural intern. I graduated in July from the University of Birmingham with a BA in History and Politics. Over the last few years, I have taken great interest in fundraising and development. This has led me to complete an internship with an NGO called Farm Africa where I was able to learn different techniques of fundraising. I was also involved in organising events such as ‘fun runs’ and performance days in order to raise money for the organisation’s charitable work. I am also a millennial consultant with International Connector where I have been able to provide consultancy to a variety of organisations on improving their business structures. I hope to use these skills whilst working with Sampad.

Sampad is a south Asian cultural organisation aimed at promoting the arts and supporting artistic ventures. They aim to bring communities together and promote harmony through the arts. While working with Sampad I will be involved in the NPO application process to the Arts Council England as well as helping to create a diversity and digital policy plan for the organisation. I look forward to helping create a business plan for Sampad’s future as well as helping coordinate events and implement new marketing strategies. Most of all, I look forward working with the friendly and enthusiastic staff of this amazing organisation!

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Aisling Marks
Flatpack Projects

I grew up in North London and as an awkward teenager happened upon an editor in Camden Town with her music zine called Bubblegum Slut. Each quarter it was printed in A5 with a fluffy heart tacked to the front cover. I began contributing to it with scribblings about various music obsessions, and after some time considered a career in journalism. I had always been really into reading so I moved up to Birmingham to study English Literature. After teaching English in Birmingham, London and Nicaragua I caught a bus to Utrecht in the Netherlands to study for a Masters in Gender Studies and Theatre. During this period I joined a research project at Casco (Office for Art, Design & Theory) that investigated ongoing practices of alternative community economies in Utrecht with a critical theory of the ‘commons’. Simultaneously, I was blessed with a grant to take part in a trans-European critical arts writing programme called Critical Practice (Made in YU) focusing on performing arts in the Balkans. ‘A Problematic Book’, the title of our first collectively produced publication, explores cynicism, irony and the production of problems as a critical artistic strategy. I’m happy to have joined the Flatpack team where I’ll be working as their marketing assistant in the run up to the festival in April.

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Autumn Evans
Birmingham Royal Ballet

My name is Autumn Evans and I’ll be undertaking my cultural internship with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Having graduated from the University of Birmingham with a 2:1 in English Literature and Drama this Summer, I’m incredibly excited and grateful to have fallen so quickly into the lap of such an interesting and exciting opportunity as this one and can’t wait to get started.

I have always been passionate about arts and culture and, throughout my time at university, endeavored to take on a wide range of projects and roles engaging with Birmingham’s busy arts scene. As a student I hosted two shows on UoB’s student radio station Burn FM, helped to launch the University’s own record label, New Street Records Ltd, as Head of Artists and Repertoire and, as I’m also a folk singer-songwriter myself, founded The Songwriters’ Society as a platform for original and undiscovered artists to launch themselves in Birmingham.

During my internship I’ll be based in the fundraising and development department of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, looking at the intellectual property of the ballet with a view to increasing funding opportunities. As well as lots of fresh ideas, the role will involve lots of lateral thinking and strategic planning and I am excited to explore the merging of both of these elements. I can’t wait to increase my skillset and meet industry professionals whose knowledge and experience will be invaluable in helping me exceed in my role, and evaluate what field of work I may wish to explore more deeply moving forward. Watch this space.

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Harriet Hathaway
Birmingham Museums Trust

My name is Harriet Hathaway, and I am the new Cultural Intern for Birmingham Museums Trust. I have previously completed my undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham. During my degree I gained a lot of experience in the museum and heritage sector through volunteering, most recently with the archives at the Cadbury Research Library.  My volunteering has also taken the form of digitising a postcard collection in my local library. I am extremely interested in the logistics of exhibition design, and throughout my degree I have been exploring why objects are displayed the way they are. Whilst volunteering with The National Trust I was able to assist with the exhibitions team in developing content for a temporary display. This experience enabled me to explore the logistics behind exhibition design, and look further into how curators use space to frame and shape meaning. Last year I was also able to help with the organisation of Birmingham’s first Heritage Week, organising a timetable of events and helping to produce promotional material.

During my internship I will be assisting the exhibitions and design team, helping to support the installation and development of New Art West Midlands and Night in the Museum. I am especially interested in collaborating with a range of artists and collections, and using the interpretational skills I developed throughout my degree in a new challenge. I will also be managing a small scale exhibition on the Paradise Circus development.

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Catherine Butler
Birmingham Hippodrome

Hello! My name is Catherine Butler. I graduated this summer from the University of Birmingham, with a First Class BA honours degree in Drama and Theatre Arts. Over the last three years, I have sought to gain as much experience as possible within Birmingham’s cultural sector. I have volunteered as a student networker for the Fierce Festival, worked front of house at mac Birmingham, and interned with the BE Festival before becoming an Assistant Producer on their BE Next Outreach programme. This October I was successful in becoming the first Cultural Intern to be placed at the Birmingham Hippodrome with the Hippodrome CREATIVE team!

Hippodrome CREATIVE is responsible for delivering an extensive, diverse outreach and education programme within the Birmingham community. Over the next six months I will be assisting the with the devolvement of the Hippodrome Education Network (between ten participating schools), supporting the delivery and development of workshops for the Hippodrome Heritage Archiving Project and helping with various other projects such as Chinese New Year Celebrations.

I am excited about this opportunity to support and engage with such diverse education and outreach projects, and hope to gain expert insight into the management of an established receiving theatre.

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Vita Fox
Birmingham Repertory Theatre

I want to be an actor, a playwright, and a director. And I want to be a standup comedian, and an improviser. And I want my own theatre company. And one day I want to run my own theatre. I want it all. And I love Birmingham, and want to forge a career here. So all in all, it’s wonderful that my first full-time ‘job’ out of university is at the Birmingham Rep.

I graduated from UoB this summer with a First in Drama & English Literature, and during that time I was involved in thirty/forty-something productions, student and professional, radio and theatre, classical and improv, contemporary and comedy, in Birmingham, Manchester and at the Edinburgh Fringe, doing directing, acting, producing, singing, stage management and publicity, as much as I could. I found I was good at and enjoyed the technical computer stuff, the ‘digital media’, and so started to make films for student societies and also for a professional theatre company – these were used as publicity and also integrated into the shows. That computer literacy is really helpful now, as my job at the Rep is largely focused on digital engagement. I’m going to be redesigning the foyer of the Rep, seeing how best to engage people who walk through and visit the theatre.

This is a hugely exciting opportunity. Through working at the Rep, I’m going to learn about what work goes into taking a project from the initial idea to delivery in a professional setting. I’ll get to meet brilliant people, see a lot more theatre, understand how a theatre runs day to day, what the procedures are, what the people are working towards; I’ll learn all the things about theatre that I want to know which maybe can’t be learnt at university. And through this internship, I’m going to be in a better place to be and do all the things I want to be and do. So it should be good.

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