Since beginning my University degree, I had always been interested in completing a placement year. The idea of working in the industry for 12 months, gaining valuable knowledge and skills useful for the workplace sounded like an amazing opportunity that I was determined to achieve.
Beginning in October 2020 and ending mid-February 2021, I contacted around 30 companies, both large and small, explaining what I was asking for, my circumstances and whether this would be something they could offer me. Out of around 30 emails, 3 people got back to me which, overtime, was very disheartening as a simple ‘No’ would have at least shown me they had received my email. However, the people that did reply were very kind and understanding, however due to Covid-19 especially, most business could not accept placements unfortunately. I have attached screenshots of the companies that replied to me below, these include, Farcroft UK, Britton and Storey and Weston Park Gallery.
After these companies declined, I then went onto contacting the National Trust for the Attingham Park Estate as this is where I have volunteered for a number of years now and where I had my first solo exhibition of my work. They were so helpful and wanted to accommodate me as much as possible but once again because of Covid-19 and workload they could not offer me a placement. This was really difficult as it was really my last resort as I did not want to bother them knowing I was already a volunteer. I have attached the email of this below:
This made things even more difficult to find, so I branched out to other areas of Fine Art to see what options there were. Finally, I decided to contact a company I completed some work experience with back in 2018 which I still regularly visited and kept in contact with, Ironbridge Fine Arts and Framing. I had already previously emailed them in regards to if they knew ant companies that would be interested in offering me placements in late 2020, however thought they would not be able to provide me with one as they are a smaller business. Even though I assumed this, I still went ahead with emailing them just in case and to my surprise the manager Sarah agreed to have a phone call with me to discuss it! I have attached this email below:
On the phone call, we discussed what my placement should and could involve, the hours and what would be the next steps if they did decide to offer me one. When I had given her all the details I could, Sarah said she would be happy to offer me a placement and that she couldn’t wait for me to start! This was definitely one of the best bits of news I had received in a very long time as, by this point, I had accepted that I wasn’t realistically going to secure a yearlong placement. This was not only because of Covid-19 but also achieving one in an artistic based subject is near impossible!
The details of my placement are:
- 10-month, 40-week unpaid placement (can be extended) at Ironbridge Fine Arts and Framing
- Currently my start date is 02/08/21 and end date would be around 03/06/22 but can be changed to whenever best suits me.
- The company specialises in printing. I will mainly be trained in their framing department (building, getting practically involved with orders and customers) as well as helping with running their gallery and with curation as well. Although I will not be specifically trained in the Printmaking aspect, I am hoping to help out with sessions and workshops learning more myself about how the business works. In addition, the company have also branched out into Giclée printing which I will be learning and assisting with artists original works for mass production. This is just some of what I will be doing over the course of minimum 10 months.
From here, I contacted the ADH Placement team and explained that I had secured this placement and what the next steps would be. Every person I spoke to was so helpful, supportive and congratulative of my questions and achievement. This made the process so easy and things began moving quickly with one of the placement team contacting the manager Sarah within a week or two to confirm. Luckily everything was confirmed, and I began the process of changing my degree to a 4-year sandwich.
Overall, the process of finding and securing a placement has been one of the hardest tasks I have had to do, and it is only because I was so determined to achieve one that I did. I am proud of myself for securing one especially in Covid-19 times, its something that will pose as great experience for my future and help me learn about how to run an art-based business – the pros and cons!