My traineeship: challenging, inspiring, humbling

Posted by: Karl Taylor on Jan 14, 2015

My time at Artsadmin is nearly over and the wide world awaits, so I’ve been asked to reflect on my experience and let everyone know what I’ve been getting up to over the past year.

I’d had an eye on the position for a few years whilst studying at University. Artsadmin has worked with some of my favourite artists over the years and paid on-the-job training is unfortunately still very rare in this field. So obviously I was pretty thrilled and stunned when I was told I’d got it.

Working here has given me the confidence and abilities to work on a much larger scale than I would previously have thought possible. In my first week I began working on Museum of Water, a major installation at Somerset House and by the end of the year I’ve somehow become responsible for co-ordinating and helping to programme Home and Away - London (Ailleurs en Folie - Londres), a four day festival in Belgium as part of the European Capital of Culture. It’s been bewildering and surreal at times; I’ve found myself topless and reciting water poetry, dancing around the office in a giant vagina costume, carrying a 100m rope across a beach at 5am in the morning and celebrating a successful show by dancing to a rapping Texan drag queen.

In terms of what I actually do, my time has been split between managing artists’ projects and working with the advisory team to support artists.  When working on projects my roles have included gathering and processing all marketing materials and tech specifications, booking travel and accommodation, planning recees, being the main point of contact for artists and representing the project and artist to industry professionals. With the advisory team I’ve attended dozens of advice sessions and workshops where members of the team give free advice to artists. I also helped select the seven artists to receive the 2014/15 Artsadmin Artists' Bursaries, reading 280 applications and sitting on the panel to argue for who I felt should be selected.

It’s hard not to feel like a fraud and that suddenly one day everyone will realise that you have no idea what you’re doing, but everyone says that feeling never goes away even after 30 years so that’s reassuring (I think). Saying that, it’s an incredibly supportive atmosphere; the way the year is structured and the endless support of the people I work with meant I never felt out of my depth (maybe occasionally) and meant that I contributed to some unbelievable projects and accomplished things that I am incredibly proud of.

The traineeship has been one of the most creatively challenging, inspiring and humbling learning experiences I have ever had. I can’t recommend it highly enough and to be honest, am very jealous of whoever gets it next year.

If you’re thinking of applying yourself I guess my only advice would be to only apply if you are genuinely excited by the work Artsadmin presents, so do some research before you start. Other than that it’s the general application stuff: read the brief carefully, get someone else to read your application and bribe the interviewers before you submit it.

Good luck!


Applications are now open for our 2015 Traineeship. The deadline for applications is midday, 9 February. Click here to find out more and apply online. 

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