More News from the Culture on Campus Intern

This summer, we have been lucky to have Heather join us for a two month internship, spending 3 days in the archive and two in art collection each week. In our last blog, Heather discussed her work with the Stirling District Asylum archives. Now that her internship is sadly coming to an end, Heather chats us through what she’s been up to in the Art Collection and the internship as a whole.

I am currently an undergraduate student going into my fourth year at the University of Stirling studying History and Politics. As part of my degree, I have taken courses involving the Archives and Art Collections at the University which have developed my interest in a career in this sector. An opportunity became available for me to undertake an internship across both the University Archives and Art Collections to allow me to gain some experience and learn new skills that I could use in postgraduate study and my future career.

As part of my role as the ‘Culture on Campus’ intern at the university, I have spent time working with the University’s Art Collections team. This has included assisting in the art store renovation, creating educational resources, helping run events, and completing environmental checks. One of the events I worked on was a visit from S3 pupils from Alloa Academy.

For this visit, I created educational resources to help the students look at the art. One of our goals is to make the art collection as accessible as possible so that everyone feels this is a place where they belong. One barrier to this can be that many people aren’t sure ‘what to do’ when looking at art. To help overcome this, I created a worksheet which encouraged students to go find different pieces of artwork and identify the artist, the name of the work, and when it was created. As an added incentive, a prize was given to the student who got the most answers correct.

an excerpt from Heather’s worksheet

Art can feel slightly intimidating to a younger audience – myself included when I was at school – so I wanted to work on including as many people as possible in this friendly and welcoming space. As part of this, I ran an activity workshop for the students. One of the works in the University Art Collection is Trevor Bell’s ‘Folded Painting’. After creating the work, Trevor Bell said “I wanted the paintings to become affirmative themselves, I didn‘t want them to be an illusion of something, I wanted them to be the something.” The concept of a folded painting reminded me of origami and I felt a practical activity would get students more involved in art. They created origami boats and frogs which jump, and some students took the instructions home with them so they could create more. Overall, we feel the visit was a success, and we hope that the students from Alloa Academy had an enjoyable experience.

Folded Painting – Trevor Bell. Image by Julie Howden

Another project I worked on was the art store renovation. This involved safely repackaging and removing the artwork from the store to allow contractors in to build the new storage system. I learned about how to properly package art and how to store it to prevent damage to both the work and to the frames. After the renovation was complete, we moved the art back into the store in order of the year the works were created to make it easier to find works as required.

The first artwork that went back into the new racking system!

I also participated in the Art Collection Open Day, running the welcome desk. The Open Day involved a lot of different activities, so I ensured that all the visitors knew where to go and what activities were on. We started the day with workshops on lino-cutting and photography, before a performance music written by students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Throughout the day, activities such as collage were ongoing. To finish was the launch of the exhibit by this year’s artist in residence, Audrey Grant.

Music performance on the Art Collection Open Day

I have enjoyed my time with the Archives and Art Collections and have learned a lot over the course of my internship. This has solidified my interest in a career in archives or collections management, and I will definitely be pursuing postgraduate education in this sector.

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