Student Placement Blog – Exhibitions

Student Placement Blog – Exhibitions

By: Marie Gibbons, Placement Student

I am currently undertaking my Masters at Liverpool Hope University in Art History and Curating and needed to complete a work placement. I had never been to The Atkinson before, but it appealed to me due to its eclectic mix of culture. Art exhibitions, film, museum displays, music and performance are just a handful of the events on offer. The diversity of The Atkinson and experience of working alongside the knowledgeable staff and dedicated team of volunteers made my placement a rewarding experience.

The Sefton Open was a large install with a very quick turnaround and allowed me to gain insight to critical decisions that need to be made under time constraints. All previous artwork previously exhibited in The Landing and Galleries had to be removed quickly, efficiently and stored with care.

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There were over 300 submissions for The Sefton Open this year and with the help of the Museum Manager, we all worked hard during the hand in and display of the art to ensure the most striking layout was achieved. The staff were friendly and helpful whilst allowing me to use my initiative when displaying artwork and assisting with different aspects of the exhibition. I gained valuable experience in logging artwork details in preparation for the catalogue, the art selection process, preparing work for hanging, installing the exhibition, helping to organise labels as well as assisting the public with sales and collecting work. The time management of this exhibition was crucial and my experience working on this exhibition has helped me to develop my understanding of the organisation required for an open call.

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Working on the exhibition that followed [Why Look at Animals?] was an interesting experience, partly because I was familiar with the late John Berger’s writing. His essay Why Look at Animals? explores our relationships with different kinds of species; from holding wild animals in captivity to their evolving roles in popular culture. It was incredibly interesting to see how his words could be transposed into a thought provoking exhibition.

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I worked alongside the curator Stephen Whittle, to help install the display and learnt all about the formulation of the exhibition. Some of the artworks are on loan and others are part of The Atkinson’s collection. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone, the insight into our relationship with animals is fascinating! The delicate macabre beauty of Forever and Ever, a taxidermy piece by Andrea Roe, is an unusual and thought-provoking element of the exhibition.

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At the same time as working on the Why Look at Animals? exhibition, I also helped to prepare two golfing exhibitions: Golf and Glamour, Fashion on the Fairway from the 19th Century to today and Hole in One. Golf and Glamour expanded my experience of chronologically displaying clothing items whilst Hole in One required a triple hang of golfing cartoons, special attention was needed in this smaller space to fit all of the artwork appropriately.

During my time at The Atkinson, I learnt the practical skills needed to organise and display an exhibition. I also learnt that different types of work require alternative hanging methods and problem solving becomes a crucial aspect of the display process. I would highly recommend a student placement The Atkinson.

Posted on 1 June 2017 under Exhibitions

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