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Cornwall Museums Partnership

Meet the 2022 Trainee Curators

We’re delighted to introduce our 2022 cohort of Trainee Curators.

Isobel, Fran, Dan, Emily and Penny have taken up roles at five of our partner museums in the last month as our third cohort of Trainee Curators. This programme is generously funded by the John Ellerman Foundation, Arts Council England, Cornwall Council, and Cultivator Cornwall. Each Trainee is hosted by one of our partner museums for a year, providing much-needed capacity to those museums as well as superb on-the-job training for the trainees. The cohort is facilitated by Programme Producer Claire English, who coordinates joint training opportunities, study visits within Cornwall, a 4-day trip to London and provides mentoring and coaching for the trainees over the year.

If you’re interested in following the Trainees’ journeys, you can follow them on Twitter @CornwallInterns and keep an eye out for guest blogs from them over the year!


Isobel, Museum of Cornish Life, Helston

Born in Botallack – on the cliffs West Penwith, Isobel grew up in a creative and performative household as her parents were founders of the Lafrowda festival and organisers of the 2000-2004 Ordinalia plays in St Just.

Isobel completed a BA in Dance at the University of Surrey, during which time she undertook a voluntary placement with South East Dance in Brighton and co-directed a student dance company. Curious about history as something that can be engaged with today through events and performance Isobel was awarded an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship MA in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage which focussed on discussions surrounding Intangible Cultural Heritage, and included an anthological field trip project in Zagreb, Croatia.

Since graduating she has become a Cultivator Graduate Client and completed China Plate Theatre’s Optimist producing programme. She also worked on the recent performances of the Ordinalia in St Just in 2021 and created her own heritage-inspired dance work with her collaborative company Skuffuffle.

In her spare time, Isobel teaches and organises events for Shindig Cloggers, a folk dance group in St Just. She enjoys taking Lindy Hop and Salsa classes, embroidery and knitting and playing the Ukulele – or just taking her lurchers Elsie and Jasper for a walk.


Dan, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro

Dan grew up in Cornwall, on the outskirts of Camborne. He attended the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham and completed a BA in History, with a dissertation in American politics.

Following that he studied for an MA in International Heritage Management & Consultancy with the University of Exeter on the Penryn Campus. Here, Dan was able to develop his interests in interpretation, tourism and museums as inclusive spaces. Dan is also interested in the enriching and rejuvenating role that heritage can play in local communities.

Since then Dan has been volunteering for English Heritage giving guided tours of the Keep at Pendennis Castle in Falmouth.

In his spare time, Dan is very keen on playing and watching Cricket, as well as exploring the Cornish landscape and coastline.


Fran, Bodmin Keep, Cornwall’s Army Museum

Fran comes from a village near Oxford. She completed a BA at the University Birmingham in Music and after volunteering in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and at Duke’s Auctioneers she decided to undertake an MA in Art History and Curating.

Specialising in the ethics of working with sensitive material, Fran continued to volunteer at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and West Midlands Police Museum, alongside curatorial placements at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Grand Union Art Gallery.

Fran enjoys playing the Piano and the Tuba, taking up a place in Bodmin Town Band since moving.

In her spare time, Fran likes drawing, making and sewing – creating her own clothes.


Emily, Falmouth Art Gallery

Born and raised in Cornwall, Emily started helping out in the family-run shop on Falmouth high street from a young age. She completed a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute with an interest in contemporary painting and conservation. During this time, she volunteered for a Buddhist Art Studio based in Cumbria, building sculptures for temples.

After university, Emily travelled to Japan and lived and worked there, learning the language and gaining a unique insight into Japanese culture. Upon Emily’s return to the UK, she undertook a volunteering position at Falmouth Art Gallery, working on projects including audio descriptions.

Alongside this, Emily worked in a floating boat restaurant, ‘La Peniche’, producing social media and supervising. She also completed a course in chemistry for conservators.

Emily enjoys being outdoors and is a keen runner and snowboarder – when she gets to the snow. She enjoys practising yoga, baking and is currently taking life drawing classes at Falmouth University.


Penny, Wheal Martyn China Clay Works, St Austell

Penny grew up in Eastbourne but regularly visited Cornwall with her family and eventually moved to the county after graduating.

Penny undertook a BA in Geography at Royal Holloway, with a specific interest in human and imagined geographies.

Taking a gap year in New Zealand teaching and travelling, encouraged Penny to train as a teacher at Plymouth Marjon University and she continued to teach at Primary schools in England and New Zealand.

Taking up painting and working on art exhibitions opened up the pathway of working in museums for Penny. Watching how audiences interacted with exhibitions and shared their stories led Penny to become a Citizen Curator and undertake a volunteering placement at Wheal Martyn.

Penny still paints regularly and enjoys walking her golden retrievers, Trevor and Merlin.

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