The Trainee Curators programme was set up to diversify the cultural workforce in Cornish museums and historical sites by offering more accessible opportunities to young people. In turn, diversifying the museums audiences and using their collections more widely.
In our new mini-blog-series, we share with you a behind the scenes look at what our Trainee Curators are getting up to now they are having to work from home, due to COVID-19. You can also keep up to date with them on their Twitter Page where they share regular updates and posts.
Next up is Lizzy Broughton of Falmouth Art Gallery…
With most of the world at a standstill due to COVID-19, my fellow Trainee Curators and I have been working from home for some time. I guess I should be used to it by now, but there are days when I don’t feel used to it at all. Mostly I feel I’m not doing enough and my productivity is questionable. I’m seeing so many people running marathons from their homes, learning new languages, taking up a new hobby, and I’m here mostly keeping myself sane with Animal Crossing and baking cookies.
Unlike the other Trainee Curators, I have not been as strict with keeping up a regular 9-5 Monday to Friday; with my mental health being pretty strained at the moment, managing my mental health has become my new full-time job. I do miss walking up to the gallery every morning and being in an environment where I am constantly surrounded by wonderful artworks and inspiration. I also miss popping into the pub after work and having a laugh with friends, you don’t realise how great it is to actually see people in person and have a chat until you’re forced to do it through screens and phone calls.
The work I have been doing from home has been interesting though. Before the lockdown I was taking regular trips up to Kresen Kernow to make scans of letters to and from various artists with links to Cornwall. When the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro closed its doors earlier this year, we at Falmouth Art Gallery took on the management of the Cornwall Schools Art Collection, and the letters I scanned were all correspondence to go with this art collection. At home I have been cropping and organising around 900 of these letters – including many from Barbara Hepworth! I had an interesting time reading how different artists expressed themselves and responded to the collection. These artworks were donated to, or bought at a reduced price, for Cornwall Council to send out to schools in the county for children in poorer areas to view and enhance their education in art.
We were planning to have an exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery for this collection in September to raise awareness of it, so schools might make use of it more often, as it is an incredible resource to be offered to the schools in our county. This exhibition is still set to happen and has not been scrapped, so watch this space! I am helping to plan this exhibition and doing tonnes of research for it in my time spent working at home, so it would be wonderful to see it all up on display post-lockdown.
Art has become more than just a hobby for many people during lockdown – it has become a way to vent their emotions and struggle with this turbulent time, and one thing I hope remains once lockdown is lifted, is peoples newfound connections with art and their new interaction with it.
Art is more important now than ever for helping to keep the country sane and motivated for the future.
Falmouth Art Gallery