Posted by: robbedlyric | June 24, 2012

Intern Interview with Melissa Mitchell

This is the first in a series of interviews with my fellow Wordsworth Trust interns. Melissa is an English graduate who is focusing on a curatorial role.

 

Name: Melissa Mitchell

Specialisation: Curatorial

Education: B.A. (Hons.) English and Related Literature, University of York

How did you find out about the internship? What made you decide to apply?

I had known about it for about two years before I applied. I was on holiday in the area and the interns that year had a special exhibition that was being advertised however I didn’t decide to apply until my final year of Uni, about six months before I graduated.

 

Was the interview and application process easy?

The process was good. I think it felt like a long time because I’d known about the internship for so long so I felt like I was waiting forever for the applications to open but I felt the process was fair. The interview was good as it gave you a real feel for the life here. It felt like it was a chance for them to choose you but also for you to choose them in a way.

 

What made you decide to focus on a curatorial role?

I felt that it would offer me the most diverse range of projects to be involved in. I would have the chance to work with the collections but also to work on other projects and with other people as well.

 

What sort of projects have you been involved with so far? Tell us more about your day to day work.

Alongside the other two interns focusing on curatorial work I was able to design and install a small exhibition on Wordsworth & Royalty to be displayed in the Jerwood Centre. We were also able to de-install the last fine art exhibition and were heavily involved in the new exhibition despite its being outside curated. I also help arrange loans and items for transportation and other practical work. I am also in charge of collating visitor numbers for the Jerwood Centre.

 

Do you think the Wordsworth Trust is a good place to train in curatorship and museum management? What attracted you over say a larger museum?

Well this internship was a year long, most are only six months and they didn’t require any previous museum experience. It’s an incredibly well respected program as well and they really concentrate on your development. It feels like they care about you and your future career. The benefits also make it a fantastic program, we are provided with accommodation and a small bursary.

 

Do you think that a postgraduate degree in museum studies is a necessity for working in curatorship or collections management?

Yes, it defiantly helps.  Often it’s becoming more of a requirement and I certainly felt a little out of my depth when it came to paperwork and SPECTRUM and MODES. Often I felt like I was starting from scratch when other people had more experience than me and were able to just do it. Having said that however, I feel that experience still outweighs a M.A. I would like to have a postgraduate qualification eventually though.

 

What are the positives of the internship as a whole? Any negatives?

It’s a very good place to be, there’s always lots of things going on. The Trust is extremely well connected in the local area and there’s an opportunity to work elsewhere as well. The collection is a fantastic one. Dove Cottage and the Museum are also great places to work.

 

What do you hope to go on to achieve after this year is over?

I’d like to pursue curatorship and curatorial work. I’d also like to continue to work with manuscripts. I’d ideally like to stay in the Cumbria area as well.

 

What has been the biggest highlight of your internship so far?

Planning and choosing the objects for the Wordsworth & Royalty displays. I was so proud of the displays when they were done.

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