Karen Sanders joined the Spacex team for two months as part of the Summer Undergraduate Internship Scheme with the University of the West of England, where she is studying photography. Karen was interviewed about her internship by Hebe Lanyon, who was on work experience at the gallery during this busy month August:
What has been the best part of your Internship?
The best part was planning and organising the drop-in activities for August Atelier (a month-long programme of public events) and seeing them come to life. It has been great fun to organise these activities, but to actually see it all come together and watch the public get involved is such a great feeling.
What has been the most challenging?
One of my jobs at Spacex was to help promote August Atelier, which is done through online and using social media as well as poster and leaflet distribution. The promoting and marketing wasn’t too challenging itself but it ís only successful when people come – so it was hard work to do it well, which we did of course!
Do you feel that you’ve got the most possible out of your time at Spacex?
I do! The first four weeks was all down to planning and organising the activities and I was busy every day getting ideas, sharing them in meetings and purchasing all the equipment we needed, alongside working on the marketing too. The second part of my internship was during August Atelier and again I have been busy setting up each week, talking to visitors about the events and workshops and of course getting involved a bit myself! I’ve been up to so much in my time here, I don’t think I could have fitted anything else in!
What skills have you developed?
It has been a great eye-opener with regards to marketing an event. I never knew how much went into advertising but now I understand how important it is and how to go about it successfully. It has also been helpful working on my organisation skills. I have always been quite nervous when it comes to organising important photography shoots at university but working here and being part of the planning for August Atelier has given me the confidence boost that I need for my final year of university.
Do you feel more prepared to launch into your own career now that you have had this experience?
More than ever! Doing photography at university made me think I was quite limited to what I could do when I graduate. Working at Spacex as an intern has allowed me to see what other options I have and has given me a great interest in both a curating or educational role. Speaking to all the staff about their qualifications and previous experiences has also been really beneficial and has given me ideas on where to go next.
Given the opportunity to re-live your internship, would you do anything differently?
I couldn’t have got more out of my time here, I wish I had longer left! I’ve been part of such a variety of tasks; planning, marketing, taking images, admin and working with the public. I have enjoyed it all and it has really set me up for the future. I do feel part of the Spacex team and it’ll be sad to leave.
Sum up your experience in a sentence…
A one-off opportunity that has been incredibly inspirational and has definitely given me a clearer path to follow once I graduate from university.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone wanting an internship at Spacex or another contemporary art gallery?
DO IT! If there is an opportunity, then please take it and if there isn’t Spacex are always looking for volunteers to help them out, so get involved! The great thing about working for Spacex is that it’s a small gallery meaning you are able to work across the different programmes and really get a feel of how a gallery runs.
A huge thanks to both Karen and Hebe for all your hard work this Summer. Good luck for the future from all at Spacex !
28 August 2013