Bryony Webster shares her experiences of a placement at the Essex Record Office
What kind of work have you been involved in with Essex Record Office, and what did you enjoy the most?
I have been involved with all things connected to the paintings held within the Essex Record Office, this includes building up the catalogue, researching the paintings and artists, and working on the website.
My favourite part of this job was the hands on work that I was involved in, one area of the work was to oversee the displaying of artworks that are situated downstairs in the Record Office.
I felt in this area I was doing a lot more work and there was a lot of organisation to be done with allocating roles to colleagues, finding the appropriate tools to work with and visualising how the display would look.
How did that tie in with your research project/dissertation?
This ties into my dissertation because I am looking at different ways art is collected by different families, with the Barrett Lennard’s (central to the Essex Record Office’s paintings) being my prime focus.
What skills have you developed during the placement?
I have learnt a multitude of things, which includes: learning how to catalogue, writing emails in appropriate formats and tones depending on who it was to be sent to, I was able to shadow the digitization team to look at multiple aspects of an institution, researching in multiple subjects, away from the academics of art history and the prime focus was no longer an essay, working with multiple people, working for myself (I was the only one in the arts area), learning to write for an audience for all ages and learning how to allocate roles to the correct individuals and handling and researching from ancient documents.
How would you describe the placement to your friends?
I would describe it as an arts curating placement in an archival institution.
How do you feel the placement has helped you enhance your future career?
I think that it has allowed me to experience an arts career in a not-so typical arts sector role, as well as a little experience in archival work and working in a place that has so many different sectors in one institution.
Got you thinking about a placement? Check out our handy guide: http://www.essex.ac.uk/careers/placements/default.aspx