As a cornerstone of the RWA’s commitment to education and access to the arts, we are proud to offer quarterly work experience placements to students from Year 10 through to university.
Throughout July, we have been delighted to welcome three work placements students to the RWA, joining us from both local schools and further afield, including Wells and Weston.
Students have engaged across the RWA with all departments from exploring the Permanent Collection with our Curatorial Technician to joining our Customer Services Assistants on the Welcome Desk. They have assisted our Front of House Manager to administrate the details of sales from our annual Secret Postcard Auction, filed press clippings with our Marketing Manager, learned about the “business” of the arts with our Head of Development, and worked alongside our Events team to put on a couple of big dos.
Central to their experience has also been taking the time in the Main Galleries to explore and engage with our current show, Jamaican Pulse, to which they were tasked with drafting a 'critical exhibition response'. They could use any medium to do so and could choose to answer questions set to them or ask their own questions to produce a unique multi-media response.
Here is some of their work:
Niamh, The Blue School, Wells
'A group of pieces by Leonard Daley in the Methuen Gallery captured my attention as elements of them, most of all in his oil-on-canvas painting titled Problem, reminded me of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The puzzling together of different drawings gives the images more depth. Another of his pieces, Love is Not Talk Love is Kindness, is also a poignant piece in my opinion as it has quite a dystopian style of imagery. However, it seems like the people pictured are fighting against that control which is showing the connection with Jamaica’s history.
The Jamaican Pulse exhibition is truly impressive. Work exhibited in the galleries shows a whole spectrum of media – from filmography to sculpture. Due to the fact that it is highly diverse, one could spend hours looking at the work and still keep noticing new, obscure aspects to the pieces.'
Syd, Worle Community School, Weston
'I love Nicola Thomas’s Carol #3 and Ann #2. I think the concept and the meaning of this artwork is beautiful. Both of these artworks feature portraits of actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The surface is black and it barely reveals the etched image, forcing the viewer to come nearer to identify her “beautiful” features. These artworks were completed in 2013.
Another favourite of mine is the Portrait of Esmé by Albert Huie. I just love the detail of this portrait – unlike a lot of the artwork in this exhibition, it is very innocent and pure.'
Stella, St. Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Bristol
'Matthew McCarthy, School Nah Teach Us. I was first drawn to this because of the bright, poster-like features of this piece. It made me reflect on how, particularly in the western world, the curriculum for history often may focus on white British or American politics, and if African and Jamaican history is focused on, the only features highlighted are slavery. And while slavery is a very important thing to learn about, there is still a need for other features of Jamaican and African history to be explained, and it isn’t as if history lacks these topics of interest, so it’s a shame that more people don’t learn about them in school.'
We believe strongly in the importance of work experience placements in enabling young people to consider and engage with the possibility of a career in the visual arts. If you are a student aged Year 10 to university age, why not consider applying for a work placement with the RWA? We are currently recruiting for our Winter 2017 term (January-March 2017) – more details on our website here.