Lydia Cline, our Arts Administration Intern, reflects on her time at Turner Sims as she finishes her internship…
My name is Lydia Cline and I am a third year History and Film Undergraduate at the University of Southampton. From October 2018 to March 2019, I was the Arts Administration Intern for Turner Sims. Every Friday I walked over to the venue and received an education in how to run an arts venue packed into seven hours.
The general make-up of my working week consisted of supporting the day-to-day management of the venue. As a centre for the arts in South-East England, Turner Sims is a dynamic hub of creative energy, and is never silent. There are always people popping in to practice, to collect or deliver something, or to prep for an oncoming artist. These tasks were balanced alongside longer-scale projects that benefited the venue like researching and compiling lists of past hires or researching organisations supporting the elderly (so that Turner Sims can develop future community engagement projects) and creating case studies to summarise previous education projects. I also was able to tailor the internship specifically to my own creative interests, and was allowed to write reviews for concerts I attended and create games for the Friends of Turner Sims Newsletter. I really enjoyed getting to balance my day according to the tasks I was given, as I saw fit. Additionally, every time I finished a project I felt that I was helping the venue which gave me enormous pride in my work.
Working at Turner Sims as an Arts Administration Intern taught me several essential skills that will no doubt help me in my future career. I have really enjoyed working in an arts venue, and working at Turner Sims has confirmed for me that I would like to go into the arts field. Working on education case studies allowed to see how interesting the world of Arts Outreach is. One of the highlights of my time at Turner Sims was getting to attend a Board meeting, wherein the Board established that increasing arts learning and engagement is something that Arts Council England (and therefore many arts organisations around the UK) will be striving towards. So being an Excel Intern has helped guide my career goals. Not to be downplayed is learning to adapt to office life. Student life is largely flexible and chaotic; for my first two years of university I went a bit mad with freedom and was not waking up till 1pm many days a week. Knowing I had a full working day on Fridays made me a lot more organised with my ‘free’ time this year, and will probably make my transition into the working world in a couple months less of a shock to the system. Additionally, learning how to use office technology like transferring phone calls, using photocopiers, writing minutes, and online programs like Agresso will be indispensable skills for the future.
My advice to any student about to complete an Excel Southampton Internship is to definitely apply! You can use this opportunity to suit you. This is a time when you are working with organisations who are there to teach you, so always think about how you can use this experience to build up the skills you need. Also, never be afraid to say that you don’t understand something. As an intern, you get the unique experience of being in a professional working environment but still a trainee. Ultimately, I wholly enjoyed my time at Turner Sims. I thoroughly recommend the experience.