BLOG: Internship at Plymouth Arts Centre

Susan Hamston


By Susan Hamston


Having been involved in the practical and creative side of making art, I was lacking an understanding of how an Arts Centre runs: from funding and curating to marketing and installing exhibitions. This was an opportunity to fill in the gaps and support my own practice.


I began with a small research project in the archive of Plymouth Arts Centre, looking at significant curators, artists and events which shaped the last seventy years in anticipation of next years 70th anniversary celebrations. Looking through the attic turned up some interesting material including a scrapbook which had been started in the nineteen fifties and documented the first solo exhibition by a woman artist as well as newspaper articles about the Arts Centre through the sixties.


Next up was the live streaming of Take A Part’s Social Making Symposium, which brought together practitioners of socially engaged art to discuss their projects and share information. In between helping out with the hospitality, there was the opportunity to sit in and listen to some of the speakers who are doing fantastic work with vulnerable and marginalised people as well as with children.


Following this was the installation of Heather Phillipson’s eagerly awaited exhibition TRUE TO SIZE. Working alongside staff from PAC and the Arts Council Collection I assisted with the installation of this complex show which incorporated sculpture, audio and video elements. This was an area of particular interest, and it was good to get some technical tips and a quick lesson in art handling from the ACC technicians.


Through this internship I have also attended meetings to discuss project funding, listened to artists talks and received some much needed computer training. This has helped my own practice by giving me new contacts, a better understanding of what is required when making my own funding applications and a greater skill set.


For any practicing artist or someone wanting a career in arts administration, doing an internship is a way of gaining knowledge, support and experience in Contemporary Art.

Susan Hamston is also an artist and about to start a Teaching Assistant placement at Plymouth School of Creative Arts. Visit Susan’s website here:


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