Arts Ambassador Internship Reflection: Ben McQuigg

Aeronautical Engineering student Ben McQuigg reflects on his time as an Arts Ambassador.

The past year working as an Arts Ambassador has been brilliant. There have been so many varied opportunities and tasks week by week that have been both great experiences and great for gaining new skills.

Starting off the year we were thrown into a social media campaign promoting the opening of Studio 144, the new addition to the cultural quarter of the city housing the new Nuffield Southampton Theatre’s NST City, John Hansard Gallery and City Eye in purpose built state of the art buildings. This was so exciting and really helped all of us get to grips with working professionally on social media to promote and publicise the event. This event really set us up for the grand opening of John Hansard Gallery in May, once again taking to social media to publicise and promote the opening.

In addition to these events there have been great opportunities to meet people in the industry. A personal highlight was getting to meet the CEO of Mayflower Theatre, Michael Ockwell with fellow Arts Ambassador Doria . It was so good to have a chat about how he got to his position and finding out more about the largest regional theatre in the south of England.

Interviewing people is something I have always wanted to get better at, and in the past couple of months this practice at it has been invaluable. The writing up of interviews is very time consuming, something that I didn’t expect at all.

This internship has been so varied the every experience is going to be invaluable for future employment. The mix of group and individual work has been good, as well as having to deal professionally with people whether that be in interviews, meetings or meeting people at events we have been a part of, or hosted.

To anyone who is thinking of completing an Excel Internship at University of Southampton I would urge them to go for it. As it is run by the University they know that studies do come first and everyone is so happy to work around you and your existing commitments. The people I have met through doing the internship have been great to work with and I can’t wait for next year when I will be returning as an Arts Ambassador!

In my opinion, arts and culture in this day and age is a bit like Marmite, especially with students – you either can’t get enough of it, or you just really couldn’t care less about it! Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to really show that there is a part of arts for everyone, whether its music, theatre, film or visual art, everyone will enjoy something. It’s been great to work on a matter that I am so passionate about and a quote from Michael Ockwell stays with me, “Our industry is an odd one, it is not a necessity to life but if you can get involved in the arts in anyway it just enriches your life so much more.”

17/18 Arts Ambassadors L to R Ben, Gabi, Doria, Shanelle and Nicole

Ben will be returning as an Arts Ambassador for the academic year 2018/19 after successfully reapplying. We look forward to welcoming him again next year!

Arts Ambassadors is a paid opportunity, supported by the Careers and Employability Service’s Excel Southampton Internship programme, University of Southampton.

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Arts at University of Southampton

Whether you’re a student, staff or from our wider community, there are plenty of exciting cultural opportunities for everyone through Arts at University of Southampton.

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