Teach Me To Communicate! (An Intern’s Perspective)

My first four weeks as a Communications Intern at Dulwich Picture Gallery have been a little busy to say the least. And so it is only now that I have found a moment to take long-overdue stock of what I’ve been up to.

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Entering the cut-throat world of arts marketing.

It began with databases. No sooner had I been introduced to the lovely team working in the Gallery offices, than I was charged with the task of sorting through some two hundred emails and adding journalists and members of the public to interest-specific mailing lists. I will admit that the task was somewhat repetitive, but useful, I’m sure, and undoubtedly vital training for any aspiring arts marketeer. Moreover, for me this was a moment of profound relief – I was sat at a computer in the Communications Department working on something that might genuinely benefit the Gallery. This was not going to be a three-month internship of perpetual tea-brewing!

Things started somewhat gloomily with spread sheets and databases....

Things may have started a little gloomily, with spread sheets and databases….

After this comprehensive introduction to marketing databases, the tasks have come to me thick and fast. The most significant project I have worked on over the last few weeks has been a marketing audit, for which I followed the guidance of the Arts Council’s Thinking Big initiative. This might sound a little dry, but essentially meant I was getting acquainted with the ins and outs of Dulwich’s marketing strategies from previous years, whilst also studying the communications techniques employed elsewhere in the arts and in heritage. As formative intern experiences go, what could be better?

The intern life is not all hard graft though, and the perks are not insignificant, particularly for an art lover such as myself. Last Wednesday, I jumped at the chance to attend a private, early morning viewing of The National Gallery’s Vermeer and Music show, complete with a personalized guided tour from the assistant curator. This was a brilliant opportunity to hobnob with people from other galleries around the city, as well as being a privilege to explore the, otherwise empty, Sainsbury Wing. Indeed, unlimited access to Dulwich’s own magnificent collection, and its current Crisis of Brilliance show, is another perk I’ve tried to make the most of as well!

I have also been involved in the burgeoning social networking aspect of the Gallery’s marketing. I have learnt that the term no longer refers just to Facebook and Twitter, but a host of exciting formats through which the Gallery can reach its audience in (at the risk of sounding luddite) a miraculous variety of ways. In particular I have had a hand in developing the Gallery’s use of the Huntzz smartphone app, and its ArtStack profile (for the latter, take a look at our profile by following this link – http://theartstack.com/users/signup/1DulwichPictureGallery). Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Ezra Konvitz, the innovator behind ArtStack, for a personal tutorial in how to harness the site’s power to expose people to new art.

...but brightened up as I was given tasks that required more creativity. (As here with the flexing of my Photoshop muscles)

…but brightened up as I was given tasks that required more creativity. (As here with the flexing of my Photoshop muscles. Did you spot the false perspective?)

In a sense, this brings me up to date in recounting my activities at Dulwich, if only really scratching at the surface. From now on, I shall be offering more regular, weekly updates of what I get up to at the Gallery. If my first taste is anything to go on, I’m sure I’ll be reporting back on an increasingly exciting variety of tasks!

About this article

Louis Boyd

About Louis Boyd

Hi! I'm Louis, recently graduated from the University of York with a degree in English and History of Art, and looking to make my way in the world of arts marketing.
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