Han Yin, MA Contemporary Curation student at Winchester School of Art, looks back on her time as Engagement Intern at John Hansard Gallery and shares what she’s enjoyed and learnt.
Over the last 14 weeks, I’ve interned with the Engagement Team at John Hansard Gallery and the skills and knowledge I have obtained are endless!
I have had a chance to experience different situations and work with a diverse range of people, many of whom were visitors. I’ve had great conversations with them while supporting the gallery’s free programme of workshops and activities.
During my internship, I gathered audience feedback and reported this to the team to improve audience experience. It may seem an easy task at first, but believe me, it is not! Firstly, the audience comes from many different cultures so the words I chose when in conversation were careful and neutral. Secondly, visitors are here to enjoy the art and feel creative so the questions I asked had to be kept short to avoid interrupting their experience. These two tips enhanced my ability to learn how to communicate with different people – an important skill for my social life and future employment.
I was responsible for organising and gathering information related to a World Café event that took place as part of the Community Takeover (May-July 2019). A World Cafe is a relaxed and creative workshop to discuss a chosen subject with lots of pens, paper and cups of tea; our event was looking to explore guest’s perceptions and aspirations for Southampton! I recorded all responses from the participants who left their thoughts about the city. We were told to group the information under three questions. Most of the information was handwritten and was at times difficult to read – not mention with the additional language barrier with English being a second language for me!
The internship with the gallery’s Engagement Team has broadened my horizons. I applied for the job because I love galleries and can spend all day in there!
As I am getting to know more about the role of the Engagement Team I realise that valuing the audience’s voice is a significant part of the role. The visitors are as important as the exhibition. This has been an invaluable experience for me.
The Excel Southampton Internship Programme is a paid opportunity supported by the Careers and Employability Service at the University of Southampton