31 July 2017back

Creative Internships Blog Week 42

Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

It makes me smile to think about the version of myself that started the internship almost 2 years ago… It’s funny how much you think you know about something, only to look back and realise that you were so young and knew so little of the world. I suppose I’ll read this in a few years and smile again.

Reading back over the first A&B Cymru blog that I wrote way back in September of 2015, I realise the extent to which I’ve changed. My first desk, work e-mail and induction into a file sharing system seem to have delighted me then. I seemed surprised to find the arts operating in the business world - I guess I have to come to find that the whole world operates in such a way… and back then, I was an ‘artist’ through and through - now thanks to the experience I’ve gained, I have changed my opinion of what art is and what it can be.

“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action” - Herbert Spencer, 1820-1903

I used this quote to start my first blog and in many ways, it seems to have become more relevant as time has gone by. I originally used the quote to describe my enthusiasm for putting everything I had learnt at university into action, but in fact this internship has educated me in a field that is all about creating action. I have learnt that fundraising is the step in the creative process that allows ideas to become reality and being involved in making things happen has been incredibly rewarding. Looking around The Gate today, I feel true joy to see those tangible things that I have helped to make happen. I feel empowered to apply fundraising to my own ideas and have come to feel that fundraising should be a part of every arts degree – just as important as how to make work is how to make that work happen (as Spencer rightly concluded, long before I did).

I have always been interested in understanding how the world around us works and I have always learnt best from doing – this internship has met both of those needs perfectly. As I correctly guessed in my first blog, I have focused my time on fundraising but like to think I’ve learnt about the rest of the process too. I have seen the ideas of artists be transformed into an important international exhibition and prize (and all the practical details of what needs to happen to do this…) and at a time when it seems community assets and connections have been decreasing, I have learnt not only how to keep an organisation resilient and sustainable but also the incredible power of community arts to counteract some of these contemporary challenges. I have made so many meaningful and enriching connections with others right across Wales and beyond and will be very sad to say my farewells.

This internship has undoubtedly shaped my past, present and future, and in conclusion, all that I can say is thank you- thank you A&B Cymru and the passionate staff there, thank you to both the organisations I have worked with and thank you to all of the funders who have supported this internship programme. Thank you to my many mentors and all of those I have worked with, who have helped me and offered advice and insight and thank you other interns who have always been there for support. Importantly, thank you Wales for welcoming me here and all that you have given me – this is a beautiful country and it has been a pleasure to contribute to the arts here. 

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