201MC Eastside Projects – Volunteering

As another part of my Professional Practise module, I decided to volunteer for Eastside Projects Gallery in Birmingham (http://www.eastsideprojects.org). For this to count towards my professional practise module, I was only able to volunteer twice due to the high workload that came with my other placements, however, I do plan on continuing my volunteer work with them in the future. (I also attended a short volunteer induction before I started my volunteering). I therefore decided to take part in two of the three types of volunteering roles that they offer: Invigulating and Events (the other being Installation), whose description can be found below. In this blog post, I have also included my volunteer application form (modified without personal information), the research that I conducted before volunteering at the Event, and the volunteer time sheet.

HOW I RECEIVED THE PLACEMENT:

I got in contact with the company by applying for a Distribution placement that they had to offer, but was unfortunately unsuccessful in acquiring the position. However, it was suggested by the team that I might be interested in volunteering for the company as an alternative starting point.

VOLUNTEER INFORMATION FORM:

Volunteer Information Form

VOLUNTEER ROLES:

Invigilating:

One of the volunteering types at Eastside Projects that I will be taking part in is invigilating. As and invigilator of the gallery space, my tasks will include:

  • Welcoming members of the public
  • Tallying the visitor numbers
  • Keeping an eye on the gallery space
  • Selling Editorials, Books and Catalogues to the public
  • Helping with general required tasks

Events:

The second type of volunteering that I will be taking part in is Events Volunteering. Volunteering at an Eastside Project event requires me to:

  • Help set up the venue for the event
  • Welcoming guests
  • Tallying visitor numbers
  • Handling entry money
  • Helping with general required tasks

 

RISK ASSESSMENT FORM:

Eastside Projects Risk Assessment

 

EVENTS RESEARCH:

As I was volunteering at the Seeking Space lecture taken by Karen Newman, I though that I should get myself updated with the event and research the practitioner that was taking the talk. Below you can find the research that I conducted:

Toolkit: Seeking Space with Karen Newman

Wednesday 26 March, 6.30–8.00pm

This practical session will explore different ways you can find space to work, show or set up new projects. Organised in response to interest amongst ESP members in finding spaces to work from, and present work in, this event launches a new ESP initiative to establish a working group which will collaboratively examine, and address, the problem of finding space in the West Midlands. The working group will work together to research existing models and legal structures, make connections with property owners and developers within Birmingham and the West Midlands, plan further ESP events and advocate for the use of empty spaces by artists.

This introductory workshop will be led by Karen Newman who has spent the last 12 months researching the business model and finding a space for Birmingham Open Media (BOM) a new FabLab for photography and digital media which will open in 2014. She will talk about this recent experience, how she has accessed space, begun conversations with landlords and successfully negotiated use that is beneficial for all parties.

Karen Newman is Research Fellow (Digital Media) at Coventry University’s Centre for Disruptive Media. From here she is developing Birmingham Open Media (BOM), a new FabLab for photography and digital media opening in Birmingham in 2014. BOM will bring together artists, computer scientists and researchers to work on cross-innovation collaborations, exploring the future of the image and contemporary hacktivist culture. Previously Karen was Curator at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (2010-12) and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool (2005-10). Her projects include exhibitions, commissions and publications that investigate the relationships between vision, memory and media through applied curatorial research.

Karen Newman:

MY RESEARCH VISION

My REF research was inspired by ongoing interests in how the media we use influences what we see and how we remember. I’m interested in the behavioural, psychological and neurological changes that result from increasing exposure to digital media, and how this, against a backdrop of constant technological progress, is changing our understanding of the world, its history, and our sense of being. I use artistic programmes including curated exhibitions, commissioned multimedia artworks and publications to illustrate and communicate my research through real-time engagement with public audiences, aiming to raise public consciousness of the underlying research questions through curatorial orchestration.

BIOGRAPHY

Karen Newman is Research Fellow (Digital Media) at Coventry University’s Centre for Disruptive Media, where she is developing a pioneering new centre for applied research and collaborative practice. Birmingham Open Media will bring together artists, computer scientists and researchers to produce new commissioned artworks and online interventions, exploring the impacts of emerging technologies on society and hacktivist culture.

Newman’s previous curatorial research outputs include award-winning commissioned projects with some of the most influential and exciting artists. She was Curator at FACT, the UK’s leading centre for art and technology between 2005 – 2010 where she contributed to Liverpool’s flagship Capital of Culture programme and commissioned Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s critically acclaimed multi-platform artwork Primitive, which toured internationally and resulted in the Palm d’Or winning feature film at Cannes Film festival, 2010.

In 2010 she curated Persistence of Vision, a group exhibition exploring the relationships between vision, memory and media which toured to Nikolaj Center for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen. Between 2010 – 2012 Newman was Curator at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool where her curatorial research outputs included exhibitions with Mishka Henner, Richard Mosse and Simon Norfolk exploring the mediatisation of conflict, which attracted national and international press and increased audience figures by more than 600%.

Open Eye Gallery:

Founded in 1977 Open Eye is an independent not-for-profit photography gallery based in Liverpool.

We are one of the UK’s leading photography spaces, and the only gallery dedicated to photography and related media in the North West of England.

Open Eye has consistently championed photography as an art form that is relevant to everyone. We promote the practice, enjoyment and understanding of photography by creating challenging and entertaining opportunities to experience and appreciate distinctive, innovative photographs.

As well as presenting a programme of international, high-quality exhibitions we also house a permanent Archive containing photographs from the 1930s to the present day.

We support established and emerging artists, developing practical, critical and professional skills among photography practitioners; we also offer training and development opportunities to people within our local community.

WATERFRONT GALLERY

In November 2011 Open Eye re-launched in a brand new purpose-built home in one of the city’s most prestigious and prominent new developments on the Liverpool Waterfront.

The gallery opens onto a large covered public square and is split over two floors. On the ground floor we present our international programme of cutting edge contemporary photography.  We also commission Wall Works – large-scale graphic art installations for the external facade of the gallery.

Our position at the heart of the regenerated Waterfront – next to the Museum of Liverpool and a stone’s throw from Tate Liverpool and Albert Dock – cements our commitment to the city and its vibrant cultural life. Read more about our history.

FACT:

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is the UK’s leading media arts centre, based in Liverpool. Offering a unique programme of exhibitions, film and participant-led art projects, we use the power of creative technology to inspire and enrich lives.

“Liverpool’s forward-thinking all-inclusive creative technology institution” Dazed and Confused

Our award-winning FACT building is home to three galleries (showing four exhibitions per year), a beautiful café operated by the team behind LEAF on Bold Street, a cosy bar, and three state of the art film screens (including intimate sofa-seated The Box), programmed by our cinema partners Picturehouse and showing the best in independent and mainstream film.

Showcasing ground-breaking new media art from across the world, our artistic programme has presented over 350 new media and digital artworks from artists including Pipilotti Rist, Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Isaac Julien.

“This is a gallery that allows digital artists to think like film-makers and have their ambitions realised in a professional environment.” Isaac Julien

Each year, our dynamic Community, Learning, Health andYoung People’s programmes offer exciting opportunities for more than 3000 individuals from all backgrounds and ages to discover and be inspired by creative technology, art and film.

As a centre for Research & Innovation, we work with partners across the creative industries, health, higher education and arts sectors to develop multi-disciplinary projects exploring the relationship between technology and culture.

Based in the heart of the independent Ropewalks quarter, FACT works in partnership with organisations and businesses help drive regeneration in the city. FACT is a member of LARC (Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium) and chairs the Ropewalks CIC.

FACT is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. We are proud to be part of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio and Liverpool City Council’s Arts and Cultural Investment Programme

 

TIME SHEET:

FRIDAY 31st JANUARY 2014  – Volunteer Induction

  • 3-4pm – 1 hour

WEDNESDAY 26TH MARCH 2014  – Volunteering at Toolkit: Seeking Space with Karen Newman Event

  • 5-8:30pm – 3.5 hours

WEDNESDAY 9TH APRIL 2014  – Invigilating Volunteering

  • 11:30am-5pm – 5.5 hours

 

Total time = 10 hours (1.6 days)

 

DEMANDS OF THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT:

Looking back over my learning objects, I found that I needed to reflect on the working environment, any demands that it placed on me and whether I met those demands.

This placement was obviously held in the Eastside Projects Gallery in Birmingham. The working environment offered little demand as it was obviously to health and safety checked to a professional standard, and I attended an induction day explaining company regulations and how to work within this specific environment. However, the only slight demand was that the location was unknown to me on the outset and so travelling to it and finding it offered a small challenge which I overcame through my preparation.

SKILLS GAINED/ENHANCED:

As a part of the volunteering scheme, I was able to encounter two types of volunteer roles which included Invigilating and helping out at art events. Both of these opportunities offered the completion of simple tasks including helping set up the gallery, welcoming members of the public, tallying visitor numbers, selling Editorials, Books and Catalogues to the public and handling entry money, keeping an eye on the gallery space, and helping with general required tasks.

During this opportunity, although I was able to encounter the dynamics of working in a team, increase some of my strengths, and challenge some of my weaknesses, I personally feel that this placement was neither challenging nor stimulating. This was not only due to the general, simple tasks, but as this gallery is not only small but was that of a contemporary art gallery, I soon found that I wasn’t as interested in this type of art than I am photography.

A list of mainly transferable (and some specialist) skills that I feel I gained or enhanced during this placement can be found below:

  • Communication skills
  • Organization skills
  • Initiative
  • Flexibility
  • Friendly
  • Open-minded
  • Patience
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