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A Professional Portrait by Tara Page

Learning Manager

MK Gallery

Learning

Published: 7th December 2018

What inspired you to pursue a career in the arts? 

I loved being creative and making things as a child - I watched TV programmes like ‘Art Attack’ religiously! My A-Level art teacher suggested that a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design would give me the chance to explore different creative options before deciding on an arts degree course. This year of freedom from the constraints of GCSE / A-Level really opened my eyes to the richness of possibility that the arts held.

 

Can you tell us a little about your role? 

I work at MK Gallery - a public art gallery which presents a very broad and exciting programme. You can experience different artforms in the gallery spaces; watch films; listen to music; take part in a creative workshop; go to a creative event...there’s a wide variety to experience.

 

I work in the Learning Team – I see our role as supporting the Gallery’s audiences to engage with, or be inspired by, the creativity of others (e.g. the artists and artworks in an exhibition) and to explore and celebrate their own creativity. I get to work with lots of people including teachers and pupils, children and their families, and other gallery educators.

 

What does your average day entail? 

My days are often very varied and I have to structure them independently. My week might include delivering an assembly in a school; meeting with a colleague; responding to emails; creating website copy; attending sector events to keep up with the changing creative / educational landscape. I love that each day usually hold something new in store for me.

 

How did you get your job? 

After studying Fine Art at university, I started working at MK Gallery one day per week as a Gallery Assistant. Through showing an interest and willingness to try new things and develop, I was given more responsibility and I was also invited to facilitate creative sessions for children and their families. I developed a keen interest in learning and education so I decided to train to become a teacher and taught in a primary school for a few years. When this role came up – the perfect marriage of my interest and experience in creativity and learning – I couldn’t resist!

 

What is the best part of your job?

Meeting lots of creative people – I’m constantly being exposed to new ways of thinking and innovative ideas.

 

What is the hardest part of your job? 

Coming back to my desk to work on a computer. I enjoy being up and about!

 

What has been the highlight of your career?

That’s a tricky question! My career so far has been a journey with lots of highlights along the way. It’s always a highlight when someone who has taken part in an activity or project tells you how much it’s meant to them or what positive impact it’s had on them.

 

What is your favourite Artwork?

Another tricky question because there are so many artworks that resonate with me for one reason or another. I really enjoy live, experiential artworks. Isabel Lewis’, Occasion, stands out – it’s an event that combines plants, music, dance, food, drinks and smells. The artist calls them ‘occasions’ – they’re sensory, celebratory and social; they’re part bar, lecture, salon and happening.

 

Which artist would you have liked or would like to meet?

I’d would like to have met any artist of the Expressionist period – the intense and ground breaking use of colour and freedom of brush work has always excited me. I love the emotion and mysticism that Expressionist work often conveyed and would like to have a natter about it all!

 

What advice would you give to people trying to enter the art industry?

Talk to lots of creative people; take part in as much creative activity as you can; be bold and take risks in your thinking; and don’t be afraid of failure. Volunteer and get as much work experience as you can, if you’re able to – you never know where a foot in the door can take you. Show willingness and enthusiasm but maintain integrity and an ability to be critical.

 

If you weren’t in the art industry, what would you be doing? 

I like to think that I’d be a dancer or a biologist! I still love dancing and I really enjoyed learning biology at school.