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My Leadership Experience for my Gold Arts Award at Brighton Museum

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I have been part of two different projects that happened at Brighton Museum, Photography Club (co-lead with Photoworks) and ARTIST ROOMS Gilbert & George exhibition.

I used both of these as evidence for my leadership skills for my Gold Arts Award. The Gold Arts Award is a level three National Qualification with UCAS points.

For the Photoworks project I was part of a young person’s photography club. I took pictures of other young people, always obscuring their face in some way in each picture. We also went to different events in museums in London such as the Barbican and The Tate.

At the Barbican I was part of a group of people from Photography Club who lead on taking pictures of the different people attending a special event for a new photography exhibition there. We took their pictures and printed them there, giving the participants the option to either take the pictures with them or leave them there so we could put them on the wall.

During a book event at The Tate we set up a photo booth area for people to use, with four different backgrounds and props for people to use. The participants could either take their own pictures or have us take pictures for them and we asked them to use a hashtag for the photographs they posted on social media so we could have an online photo album for the event.

Leading these two projects was daunting at first, since I am quite a shy person but I found that once I got there and got into the projects it was a lot easier to be able to lead and talk to the public.

Once we were finished with our photoshoots and we had chosen the best photographs, we then had our pictures shown on the balcony at Brighton Museum.

During this project I learnt a lot about photography, mostly how to have an appreciation of it. Before this project I honestly didn’t really care for photography much, ‘anyone can take a picture’ I thought. Although it is true that anyone can take a picture, good photography is actually a lot harder than it looks: angles, lighting, location, models, etc. It can be a hard task to take great photographs.

I found the project really rewarding, through it I acquired a new appreciation for an art form and started to learn how to become skilled in it myself. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t also hard, many times I had photoshoot days where I didn’t like any of my photographs and that made my part in the project feel hopeless. But it was worth it in the end, to see my work displayed next to my friends and to have been part of something I greatly enjoyed.

With the Gilbert & George exhibition, The Museum Collective for Brighton Museum put together two different events for the exhibition.

We spent a while researching Gilbert & George’s work and lives and event planning. We went to The V&A Museum in London to observe one of their Late Events so we could understand how they worked better and become inspired by it.

Charlie's Talk

Charlie’s Talk

Once the exhibition was open we had our Free Day, which was a day event at the museum where we put on free different activities. We had Deadly Serious Sewing were people could sew a patch for the quilt we made for the exhibition. We also had the Collective member Charlie do a talk in the exhibition about the works and also another Collective member, Colin, did a dance inspired by Gilbert & George in the exhibition and in the 20th Century Gallery. I was in charge of photography and filming for the event where I photographed Charlie’s talk and the sewing and then I also filmed Colin’s dance. From the Free Day I learnt a lot about event planning and leading in being in charge of photography. With Photography Club although I was leading there were also other people doing that same thing as me, whereas with this I was solely in charge of photography and was the only photographer there. Being the only photographer was definitely daunting but again I found it easier once I got more into it and it let me feel more confident in my leadership skills.

Then we had our Late Event, #TITILate. This event took place after the museum was usually closed and at this event we had many different activities such as a silent disco, a quiz, photo booth, talks, sewing, etc. For this I was in charge of photography and filming again. I helped document the event for the museum. This time I had had more experience with being in charge of photography for an event and although this event was a lot bigger than the Free Day I wasn’t so nervous about it this time. Photographing the Late was a lot of fun and helping be a part of the event was great.

Silent Disco

Silent Disco

During this project I learnt a lot about event/activity planning. It helped me learn what works and doesn’t work for events like these. Such as at #TITILate not so many people brought any drinks and instead opted for the free water, so now I know that it’s probably better to have a small selection of drink available for people.

While I did really enjoy taking part in this project I also did have some problems. Such as not many people going to Charlie’s talk on the Free Day or sometimes we had difficulty coming up with activities that could work.

Overall from being a part of these projects I learnt a lot about being more confident, both in myself and my skills as both a photographer and a leader. Working on these projects was a great experience that I enjoyed so much and would love to do again.

Jacob Burbidge, Museum Collective member