My first day at Ikon gallery has been more of an eye opener than I expected. I gained a placement at a gallery in order to gain a better understanding of how it operated as a business, who makes up the team and how they move forward with future exhibitions and reaching out to the wider community.
My experience at Ikon so far has taught me that education and equal opportunities is very important to their gallery and I have witnessed a few ways in which they focus on these aspects. On the day of my placement there was a primary school group that came in to have a tour of the current exhibition, which was lead by Simon, head of the learning team and I got to shadow him to see how he educated a young audience. Simon told me he usually leaves the tours quite broad to avoid the children switching off and as I watched him lead it I noticed the majority of the time he was quite interactive with the children, asking plenty of questions about the artwork to keep them engaged and to stimulate their imagination. The actual guided part of the tour was kept quite short and the children had plenty of free time to explore the works on their own, but were still encouraged to engage with the work as worksheets were given out to get them write creatively about the work. It has been quite useful to see how the exhibition can be communicated to a young audience.
In the afternoon I was set the task of doing some research on an artist being featured in the next exhibition. Before starting the research I was encouraged to look through the catalogues and essays they had available for the current exhibition so that I could see how the research would be used in context. This helped frame the way in which I carried out the research task and I believe it developed my own research skills.
Later on in the day I got to sit in on a meeting with Simon, who was carrying out an interview as research for the next exhibition. This was quite a valuable experience as I got to see a formal meeting being carried out and to listen in on a discussion on a area of art that I am quite unfamiliar with. The artist was the main focal point of the meeting but it developed into a discussion of marketing and how they could help each other out to promote the up coming exhibition, which was interesting to observe how to network and negotiate.