Creative Professional Volunteering at Arc Centre & Gallery

Since the beginning of December 2017 I have been volunteering at Arc, under the supervision of Artistic Director Jacqui Wood. I picked this placement up through the University of Manchester where I am studying MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies. When I graduate I would love to go into a career which involves exhibition development/management, so when I was looking for a placement I was looking for one which would offer me an opportunity to gain some experience in this area. 
I chose Arc as my first choice because the role description included exhibition work, and while there were some great placements offered at larger institutions, I wanted to work somewhere that would allow me to make best use of my creativity, and also potentially allow me to take on more responsibility within roles. Arc has definitely lived up to this hope, such as having the opportunity to take on the libraries project/design.

The opportunities that Arc has provided me with have been wide and varied. From my first day, when I was asked to prepare for the new display at Stepping Hill’s Oasis Café, to being given control over the redisplaying of artwork from the ‘Where is the Heart of Stockport’ project at Cheadle and Bramhall Libraries. While at some points this has been daunting, the support networks at Arc, and the guidance of Jacqui and Senior Project Coordinator Annette have been much appreciated.

Arc has given me the opportunity to branch out and use my own creative flair to develop engaging exhibitions, both at Arc and in the Stockport Community. In the Bramhall and Cheadle Libraries project in particular, I was really given freedom to develop the exhibitions in my own way. This was a particularly challenging exhibition because it meant taking artwork which was developed for a specific exhibition space, and trying to make it fit into a new space (a much smaller space). In particular it was hard to find a spot to display one of the big communal pieces which was created during the ‘Heart of Stockport, Unpicked : Restitched’ Project. But I am so relieved that a spot was found for the piece, and it looks great in the entrance of Bramhall Library. Definitely take a look if you are in the area and take part in the Art Trail I developed to go alongside the artworks.

The positivity and friendly atmosphere of Arc’s staff, volunteers and participants, has really given me confidence, and everyone has been so supportive. I can’t imagine a better place to make my first steps into the field of public exhibitions.

By Rachel Dakin, Arc volunteer