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Behind the scenes in the Learning Department

Published 7 May 2014

Two of our interns tell us about what life is like working in the Learning Department at the RA.

  • Every year, students from UCL’s Museum Studies programme are invited to take part in an internship in the RA’s Learning department, as part of their course requirements. This year, we’ve welcomed MA students Natalia Gorlenko and Isotta Inzirillo, who have been working with the RA’s Events and Lectures team and Access Programme respectively.

    Both students are required to spend 20 days working within an arts institution; their placements allow them to reflect on their classwork in a real-life context and to gain some practical experience that should feed into their studies. So, a couple of months into their internships, how are Natalia and Isotta responding to life in the Learning department?

  • Natalia

    “I’m originally from Russia, and have experience working as an art historian and curator there. However, I’m convinced that the role of the Learning department in a museum is crucial – meeting with visitors face-to-face and interacting with members of the public is a great way to make sure a curator’s message is being conveyed, and also a way of getting feedback about the activities of a museum. I’m really enthusiastic about observing and contributing to the work of the Learning department, and am proud to wear an RA pass around my neck!”

  • Natalia in a meeting with the Events and Lectures team

    Natalia in a meeting with the Events and Lectures team

  • “I’m finding out a lot about both the practical and creative sides to running an events programme in an arts institution, from managing our calendar to assisting at the events themselves. I am also doing some research into future exhibition event programmes, to see what kind of event might be introduced, who might be invited as a speaker and how best to make the event engaging for our visitors. I really enjoy our brainstorming sessions and appreciate that my voice is always heard. I’ve met a lot of people at the RA so far and everyone has been very kind in sharing their own experiences and encouraging me to keep going on my museum career path!”

  • An InMind event

    An InMind event

    Photo: Roy Matthews

  • Isotta

    “I’m an Italian student doing my Master’s at UCL. I embarked on my journey with the Access programme a few months ago, working with visitors with disabilities in a wide range of learning situations. It’s been an inspiring experience that surprises me every day and enables me to understand how art, my big passion, can really be accessible for everyone.”

  • Isotta assisting at a SEN workshop

    Isotta assisting at a SEN workshop

  • “I usually work behind the scenes in an administrative role, but the big highlight for me is attending the events, which I help promote. The Access events we run – InMotion, InTouch, InMind, Interact – are different strands of programming aimed at different access audiences, but all share in their name ‘In’, which stresses the idea of inclusion and participation. This is exactly what the Access programme at the RA seeks to create: a series of regular sessions that engage disabled visitors with art, encouraging them to reflect, discuss and create in a supportive environment. I’ve seen participants become stimulated and more confident, interacting with others and learning in a hands-on way. As well as this, participants and their carers and supporters alike enjoy the session and take something away from it. I think we can all learn from the way these Access events are run, in the spirit of inclusion rather than segregation.”

    Find out more about all our forthcoming events, our Access Programme and learn more about careers at the RA.