AMaGA ACT internship prize
The internship prize is an award for high performing students in the ACT undertaking an internship in the GLAM sector as part of their university studies.
Many of us in the GLAM sector got our start interning – a rewarding experience that can also be hard work! Each year, the ANU runs internship programs through the Centre for Art History and Art Theory and the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies. Interns work in GLAM institutions all across Canberra, gaining valuable experience and also making a positive contribution to the sector.
In recognition of this hard work, each year the ACT Branch of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) awards two high performing interns a prize. The prize consists of a one-year membership to AMaGA and a gift voucher for The Curatoreum.
We would like to congratulate Carl Vail and Yiran Wang on being awarded the 2022 AMaGA ACT Internship Prize.
Carl and Yiran spoke with Sheridan Burnett of AMaGA ACT to discuss their experiences as interns and share their plans for the future.
|Carl Vail||Yiran Wang (photo not supplied)|
Carl Vail, Masters of Art History and Curatorship, interned at Drill Hall Gallery, ANU
What did you study at university? I’m studying a Masters of Art History and Curatorship, and have degrees in law and languages (Spanish and French).
Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship? I interned at the Drill Hall Gallery at ANU. The best part of the internship was working closely with the staff and drawing upon their knowledge and expertise, and gaining invaluable practical experience. This included exhibition installation, where I handled a variety of objects, including bark paintings, photographs, and drawings; researching works in the collection and writing wall labels; preparing conditions reports and reviewing loan agreements; and assisting with the commission of a work of art, where I got to meet with the artist in their studio.
Why did you decide to undertake study in the GLAM sector? I have always been passionate about art. It was one of my year 12 subjects, but I didn’t continue with it my undergraduate studies. After working as a lawyer for several years and spending all my spare time reading about art, going to exhibitions, as well as volunteering at a State Gallery, I decided it was time to pursue my first passion otherwise I would never get around to it. So I moved to Canberra to study art history at ANU.
What are your plans now that you have finished university? I’m currently finishing my master’s thesis and working at the Office for the Arts. I plan to work in the GLAM sector for a few years, ideally transitioning from policy to a curatorial role, before studying a PHD.
Yiran Wang, Masters of Museum and Heritage Studies, interned at WeLand Art Centre in Lhasa, China's Tibet Autonomous Region and a contemporary art museum in Beijing.
What did you study at university? I studied Museum and Heritage Studies at ANU and completed my master’s degree at the end of 2022.
Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship? I completed two internships during my graduate studies, first at WeLand Art Center, a private art museum in Lhasa in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region then at a contemporary art museum in Beijing.
I believe that many people will be curious about my experience in Tibet, this internship was also an unforgettable experience for me. Tibet has a completely different nature, culture and humanity from the mainland, so every art project I worked on was very meaningful. It’s hard to pick the best part, but highlights include:
- taking over the artwork-sharing channel named “Daily Art (每日艺术)” on “RED”, one of the most popular social media platforms in China.
- working on plans for two documentaries, where we took cameras and drove to many townships around Lhasa to collect inspiration and interviews with local Tibetans.
- the Skull Wall Land Art Project that I submitted to ANU as my internship assignment. This project was initiated and conceived by the founder of WeLand Art Center, and is to reconstruct the abandoned ancient dormitories for the monk in DaMu temple and transform them into a building that combines land art and a hotel, most notably the meditation room in the building, which is planned to invite artists from different countries to come here to create art related to the philosophy of life.
Why did you decide to undertake study in the GLAM sector? I’ve always loved all the things about art, history, and culture, and whether in my leisure time or on a trip to a city, I spend most of my time in museums, historical sites, or art exhibitions. But I used to think I could only take them as my hobby. It wasn’t until I was about to end the undergraduate program that I suddenly made up my mind to try to make my hobby a lifelong career, maybe it will be great. By the way, I studied hospitality management as my undergraduate in Switzerland. That may sound unrelated to galleries and museums, in fact, after several internships, I was surprised to find that these two majors have many common underlying logics, which has been very helpful during my time running the bistro, hotels and carrying out activities in the WeLand Art Center Tibet.
What are your plans now that you have finished university? I am now working as an artist assistant to the famous guqin player Wu Na. The art of music is a new challenge for me. After many years of experimenting with improvised guqin performance and combining guqin with other contemporary art. Wu Na founded an online guqin educational institution, she hopes to combine spiritual practices and traditional culture with guqin playing and convey to the public. I am also trying to translate her course into English, hoping that more international audiences will also become interested in this ancient Chinese instrument.
I believe I will back to Tibet and hope to continue to do something for Tibetan art. In any case, I am pretty sure I will always continue in areas related to art and cultural heritage.
We would like to congratulate Madeleine Tan and Riley McPherson on being awarded the 2021 AMaGA ACT Internship Prize.
Madeleine and Riley spoke with Sheridan Burnett of AMaGA ACT to discuss their experiences and interns and share their plans for the future.
|Madeleine Tan||Riley McPherson with two bark paintings by Mathaman Marika depicting the 'Wawilak ceremony'.|
Madeleine Tan, Masters of Museum and Heritage Studies, interned at CartoGIS.
What did you study at university?
I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Anthropology and Ancient World Studies at the University of Melbourne before moving to Canberra in 2021 to complete a Master of Museum and Heritage Studies at ANU.
Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship?
I interned at CartoGIS Services who maintain the Asia-Pacific Maps Collection at ANU. My role was to completely catalogue and reorganise the Australian maps collection as there was no comprehensive list of what it contained. The best part about this was the knowledge that the work I was doing for my internship would set the structure as to how the collection would be accessed once my internship was completed. It was therefore my job to create a system that was functional, efficient and intuitive, and I am very grateful to have played a role in the maintenance and accessibility of a small part of an actual collection.
Why did you decide to undertake study in the GLAM sector?
I took a few archaeology subjects throughout my undergrad and although my degree skewed more towards literature and history, I found handling ancient objects a fascinating and deeply humbling experience. When life stalled in Melbourne in 2020 and I found myself reconsidering my career plans, the GLAM sector made the most sense considering my interests in heritage, history and culture.
What are your plans now that you have finished university?
I am commencing a PhD at ANU through the Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Research stream this February. In my thesis I hope to combine all the skills and knowledge I have gained across my degrees and focus on the relationship between tourism, heritage and culture through an anthropological lens.
Riley McPherson, Master of Art History and Curatorial Studies (Advanced), interned at Drill Hall Gallery, ANU
What did you study at university? I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Art History at the University of Melbourne. After working for a year, I decided to return to study and do a Master of Art History and Curatorial Studies (Advanced) at the ANU.
Where did you intern and what was the best part of your internship? I interned at the Drill Hall Gallery, a contemporary non-commercial exhibition space on the ANU campus. The whole experience was extremely rewarding and I learnt so much and was exposed to aspects of the art world I hadn't seen before. Probably the best part was just the mentoring from the gallery staff, who were so generous with their time in terms of facilitating my interests and goals, and just discussing all aspects of the sector and art world.
Why did you decide to undertake study in the GLAM sector? I have always loved art and come from an artistic family, so when I pivoted from law to art history it wasn't too devastating a blow for them! After studying art history and really focusing on that academic/research side for my undergrad, I decided the best choice would be to do further study which was more vocational and had some practical aspects which would allow me to move towards working in museums and galleries. The internship component was one of the main reasons I chose this Master's program.
What are your plans now that you have finished university? I technically still have my master's thesis to go before I am finished! But I am taking a year off then pursuing uni part-time as I started a new job as Studio Coordinator with a First Nations art centre on the NT/WA border. This was actually an opportunity which I came across as a result of interning at the Drill Hall Gallery and meeting others who had worked in remote art centres. I feel incredibly lucky to have found this highly rewarding role, and I truly don't think it would have happened without my internship and the experience it gave me.