Trainee curator Imogen Crarer successfully achieved her Gold Arts Award during her six-month internship at the Museum of Cornish Life.
‘I hadn’t heard of the Arts Award programme until I started at the museum, although it is well known in the arts sector. I was encouraged to take part and I’m so glad I did.’
Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England explains the Gold Arts Award as ‘a Level 3 qualification on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) designed for young people aged 16-25. To achieve a Gold Arts Award, young people collect evidence in an individual arts portfolio of their experiences of personal arts development and leadership of an arts project.’
Imogen explained, ‘for the Gold Arts Award, you have to develop an existing skill and learn a new skill. It helps if you pick something you are really interested in as it’s a lot of work. In my case, these skills were curatorial practice and creative writing – something I have enjoyed all my life. It was quite a challenge but I really wanted to achieve it for myself and for our wonderful museum, as completing the award in six months meant we would be the first museum in Cornwall to deliver a Gold Arts Award.
It was such a great learning experience for me and I had so much fun! It gave added structure and targets to my internship which encouraged me beyond my daily role to attend arts events and engage with lots of interesting creative people in a different way. I would encourage anyone who wants to develop their skills and is interested in the arts to look into having a go. You meet cool people and do cool stuff while learning new skills and getting a qualification along the way – what could be better!
Doing my Gold Arts Award has been hugely valuable for my C.V. It has helped my job applications to stand out as well as giving me lots of material for interviews, especially practical examples of project management and self-development. Although the Award is arts-based, the skills and experiences you gain are transferable to different careers, sometimes in ways you hadn’t anticipated! I am fortunate enough to be able to prove this directly. I have recently secured a Training Contract to become a lawyer with one of the biggest regional law firms. Throughout the application process I drew on my Arts Award experiences and during my final interview, I discussed how the process of learning my new skill of creative writing has broadened the way I think and work better, enabling me to approach problems creatively. My interview panel gave me feedback which noted this answer as particularly strong. I am proud to share this example to show that the skills you learn through a Gold Arts Award are transferable and useful within and beyond the heritage/arts sectors.
I am very grateful to the museum staff and volunteers for their endless patience and teaching me so much, and to Cultivator, Cornwall Museums Partnership and Arts Council England. Finally, thanks to the museum’s Community Engagement Curator and my Arts Award supervisor Isobel King for all your support.’
– Imogen Crarer
Imogen has a BA in History from the University of Exeter and a MA in Modern History from King’s College, London. If you want to see her Gold Arts Award exhibition ‘Curating Curious Cornwall’ and some of her other work, please take a look at her Facebook Live videos on the Museum of Cornish Life’s Facebook page (@musecornishlife).