2 Weeks Working at a Small Arts Organisation

Vienna Kim, Creative Consultant for Label and President for the School of Art History, recounts her winter internship at Fife Contemporary Art & Craft. Vienna wishes to be a leader in the avant-garde fashion movement in her future, and strives to constantly break down the barriers between fashion and art. Find her on Instagram at @bennakim.


Two weeks. Two weeks doesn’t seem like a lot of time to get plugged in to a small arts organisation like Fife Contemporary Art and Craft, does it? And yet despite the short time frame, I managed to get involved with such a wide variety of ad-hoc tasks and duties that I actually ended up gaining a much broader insight into the daily workings of a small arts organisation than I had originally anticipated. Fife Contemporary Art & Craft is a not-for-profit arts organisation whose office is based in St Andrews, although they work across Fife. They put on a couple exhibitions a year, distribute artist grants, and put on events and workshops to support local artists.

 

 I barely had time to settle in on the first day before I was destalling a Robert Callendar exhibition at the Lochgelly Centre on day two. I was driven over to Sea Loft, home and studio to artist Liz Ogilvie, to pick up a few crates before we sped over to Lochgelly to pack away Callendar’s petit cardboard creations that replicated debris washed up by the sea, and large pieces of cardboard boats. It was my first time gaining a practical, hands-on experience with artwork. Artists and museum workers hate people like me, who are so enthralled by the surface texture of artworks that it takes every atom in my body to resist touching the works on display. So this was a fitting task for me. However, it was also a side of the art world that students such as myself aren’t usually exposed to or taught about, so it was a very special insight.

 Packing away Rob Callender's artworks

Packing away Rob Callender's artworks

A few days later, Diana, the director for Fife Contemporary, and I travelled in the wee waking hours to Kirkcaldy, to meet with artist Jeremy Hutchison for his upcoming exhibition to be held in the Kirkcaldy Galleries in March. After collecting the necessary preparatory coffees and teas at the museum café before our meeting, the three of us sat to discuss the exhibition concept and layout, and watch some of Jeremy’s film works. Being a big-picture creative thinker, I loved hearing about Jeremy’s approach to his practice, the way he desperately wants to engage on a personal level with the people he works with for his pieces to address employability and labour needs, and the creative methods in which he wishes to portray these relationships to the wider public. I came back buzzing with ideas for my own creative projects.

 

The other days in the office involved compiling a social media plan and list of accounts that Fife Contemporary could follow in order to broaden their outreach, audience and influence. I sent out press releases for upcoming events that will be held to accompany the ongoing exhibition of Jasleen Kaur’s works currently being held at the St Andrews Museum. I rummaged through the organisation’s storage room to update the stock list on publications currently being held in inventory. And I stuffed envelopes. There was quite a bit of envelope stuffing. I love stuffing envelopes. (There’s a genuine meditative appeal to the practice—I highly recommend this job to the next intern.)

 Jasleen Kaur at the St Andrews Museum.

Jasleen Kaur at the St Andrews Museum.

Overall, what I loved most about being at Fife Contemporary is seeing the way the organisation wants to create authentic relationships with the communities in Fife via the channels of art and craft. Each exhibition comes with a series of activities, symposia, and workshops for both adults and children, giving visitors a deeper knowledge and engagement with the artworks they come into contact with. The organisation also hosts workshops and activities to support local artists in their practice and assist in developing certain skills that may come of use along the way. It is a charity whose work I wholeheartedly believe in, and it has been such a joy to work with Diana, Arlene and Stephanie for these past 14 days! I look forward to seeing them around the town’s arts events in the future. Goodbye for now and thank you!

 Last-minute fun in the Activity Room at the Jasleen Kaur exhibition in the St Andrews Museum.

Last-minute fun in the Activity Room at the Jasleen Kaur exhibition in the St Andrews Museum.

Words and Images by Vienna Kim.

Fife Contemporary art holding a Thinking, Making + Matter symposium on the 17th Feburary, exploring fine art and craft practices, and how they are becoming more interdisciplinary. Tickets are only £7.50 for students and include lunch and refreshments. Get your tickets here.