Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London

Art, Identity, Migration

The Perks of Being an Intern

Lesser Ury, Berlin Street Scene, fashionable ladies, Berlin, 1920s

Lesser Ury, Berlin Street Scene, 1921

Since I have been part of the Ben Uri Gallery as an intern, more specifically as part of the Social Media and Web Team, I have discovered how much fun and how motivating working in a team is. In any work situation getting on well with your team is important: I was positively surprised when I found that we could be more than a team, we could be friends.

I first realised this while we were working together in the office, but our participation in Weekly Art Trips, trips we organised among ourselves, further strengthened this. Initially the idea came from Diana, part of the Research Team at Ben Uri, who started to organise and propose a weekly trip to a different museum or art gallery in London. After a group discussion, during one of our Intern Development Days, we decided to involve all the gallery staff – not just the interns.

The advantages of taking part in this initiative are many: we get to discover more of London, expand our knowledge about museums and galleries, and meet colleagues outside of the office. The opportunity to meet beyond the normal work environment is a really important aspect of this, as you start to develop more personal relationships with people who you usually only share workspaces and duties with or chat with during coffee breaks. Essentially, it is what some might call “networking” but what I call “making new friends”. However, not only do you have the opportunity to build connections, you get to discover new places and you do some really interesting activities you perhaps wouldn’t do by yourself.

Saatchi gallery, interns, discussing

One of the first Weekly Art Trips took us to the Saatchi Gallery. We (the Social Media and Web Team) met those from the Research Team and visited the Gallery as one big group. I had never been to the Saatchi Gallery before but I was happily surprised when I got there. I found it so forward-looking and dynamic; I think it acts as a very good springboard for many young, talented artists. On another occasion, I went with the Social Media and Web Team to Tate Britain – somewhere else I had never been before. It was, again, a great experience and a really lovely afternoon.

Since we have started to go on our Weekly Art Trips there have been many positive effects. Firstly, I feel a greater affinity with the other interns and I believe that this is thanks to us getting together and sharing our common passion: art. Ultimately, having this mutual interest means we are never short of topics for discussion and, by sharing our art-related opinions and experiences, we effectively increase our personal knowledge. But more than this, these trips are occasions which enable us all to share a nice and relaxing day off together.

Secondly, and on a personal note, these visits have given me the feeling that I am becoming more a part of London and its cultural life. They help feed my love of art while simultaneously benefiting my personal wellbeing. London is one of the greatest cities in the world for art and culture and getting to know everything, culturally speaking, is rather difficult because there is just so much and it takes a lot of time.

London can sometimes take your breath away: it’s a massive city and there are a lot of people moving at the same time – you can feel very small in this very big city or even a little bit lost in all the excitement. However, if you can find time for yourself, the time to do something that makes you feel better about and more comfortable within the city, you will start to feel more “part of the city” and part of its rhythm: if you can achieve this with your work colleagues, well then so much the better.

By Silvia Barreta

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