Hayward Gallery placement helps Essex student brush up employability skills

Sophie Dickey talks about her recent placement at the Hayward Gallery in London.

Sophie

What kind of work have you been involved in with the Hayward Gallery, and what did you enjoy the most?

During my time at the Hayward Gallery, I have been working on an archive project, specifically focusing on digitising some of the Hayward’s materials from its past exhibitions. This involved a lot of researching material that was up to fifty years old, and learning how to carefully handle it. Some of the material, however, is stored off-site at Blythe House, and this meant my project manager and I often visited to study it and photograph it as and when required.

Vising the archives was definitely one of my most favourite things as it meant I could fully engage myself with all of the archival material.

How did that tie in with your research project/dissertation?

The project has tied in nicely with my dissertation topic as both are archive heavy. My dissertation is focussing on the digitisation of archives from museums and galleries, so it has been fascinating to be a part of the process I am researching.

What skills have you developed during the placement?

I have hugely expanded my computer skills as I was using Photoshop, excel and scanning with a light box. As the project is a collaboration between the Hayward and Google, I was also tasked with creating large spreadsheets full of metadata for each individual object from specific shows that we were focusing on.

I really enjoyed this as it meant I got to have an in-depth look at the materials and correspondence from each show whilst also expanding my IT skills.

Aside from that, I have also become a lot more confident in myself via talking to other employees and working alongside people on this project

How would you describe the placement to your friends?

I’d describe the placement as an unforgettable experience and one to be extremely grateful for. I have learnt so much during my time at the gallery, and I really loathed having to leave in the end of my placement!

How do you feel the placement has helped you enhance your future career?

The placement has definitely helped to enhance my career as it has given me hands-on experience in one of London’s biggest galleries.

I now have quite an extensive list of skills I have learnt that could only possibly have come from work experience and being surrounded in the gallery environment.

Interested in a placement?  Check out our handy guide to placements at Essex: www.essex.ac.uk/careers/placements

For more information about placement schemes, email the Employability and Careers Centre on careers@essex.ac.uk.

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