Birmingham Open Media

The final Cultural Intern of 2016/17 will soon be entering the final month of her placement with Birmingham Open Media. Patricia Nistor reflects on her experiences…

Until a couple of minutes ago, a deep denial meant that I was unsure how long exactly is left of my placement here at BOM. The answer is six weeks. Since my previous post, I have been deeply involved in the life of the gallery. We took down the Life Echo exhibition, installed a ‘living portrait’ show called Genecraft: Art in the Biogenetic age (which was super successful by the way) and proceeded to de-install it as well. Now we are preparing for the opening of our next exhibition A White House on Paradise Street, inspired by the absence of what is potentially the first daguerreotype produced in Birmingham. All of these shows had their own challenges but equally their own unique sets of lessons invaluable to an aspiring arts professional like me.

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The main part of our programme that I worked on for most of my placement has now passed as well. The Genecraft Biohack was a project to which I dedicated dozens of hours in order to ensure that every detail of the day was planned well in advance. I curated the panel, organised tickets, invoices, catering, publicity as well as running the event itself. I was overwhelmed by the positive response from participants, audience and speakers alike – all gave glowing feedback and really seemed to benefit from the event in their own practices. You can see some photos, feedback as well as presentations and podcasts from the day here.

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In addition to the exhibition and the Biohack, we’ve also been running several projects with children. The one that I was most involved in was Takeover Brum, a project by Kids in Museums. We worked with a class from a special needs school and the children got to learn all about being a bioartist and running a gallery, finally proceeding to ‘take over’ BOM. It was a great experience because we got to deliver art classes that align with BOM’s experimentation ethos and are outside the box, using technology and our trademark “bacterial smellulose.”

Now, if anyone is reading this blog post and is interested in applying for a BOM internship, here’s a totally incomplete and chaotic list of the main tasks I have been engaged in: creating and submitting designs for our events (with varying degrees of success) as well as researching artists, projects and organisations. Then there’s planning. Loads of planning, including helping set up our new young people’s programme, creating work plans and risk assessments for upcoming exhibitions, liaising with artists and producers, also admin stuff: print runs, ticketing, invoices, bookings, social media. Then there’s supporting fellows in producing their own projects: acting as a guinea pig and doing overall bits and bobs.

Overall, it has been an amazing experience because of what BOM is: an inspiring dynamic and creative place with a team of amazing people working here. My experience at BOM was a privilege and I am very grateful for it.

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