29 September 2016
Summertime in Cambridge
Mavis (Wanlu) Wang, MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies, University of Leicester
As an important part of my MA course at the University of Leicester I did a two-month internship at Kettle’s Yard which was a valuable opportunity to gain experience in working with archive material.
My main task has been to appraise and catalogue Kettle’s Yard’s exhibition files from the 1980s to now, in preparation for transfer to the archive. Working with the Archivist Frieda has offered me a chance to develop professional skills such as doing research on archive material, cataloguing exhibition files, identifying preservation issues, and figuring out criteria for keeping materials of long-term value.
Dealing with the archive has also provided an opportunity for me to further develop a better understanding of curatorial practice and the process of exhibition production. It has helped me a lot with my personal research interest in exhibition studies, especially how exhibitions can shape the history of an institution and how it can affect the history of art. Reviewing exhibitions files from the early 1990s was a really a fascinating experience for me, as they are quite radical and very inspiring!
Apart from cataloguing exhibition files, I have also been developing an upcoming display called A Place to See Art as part of Kettle’s Yard 50th anniversary celebrations. The display will be installed at the Old Divinity School, St John’s College this October. It has been an interesting and enjoyable process discussing and selecting posters from all the past exhibitions at Kettle’s Yard with the curatorial team.
This summer in Cambridge with everyone at Kettle’s Yard will always be a precious memory from my study year in the UK, and it will always inspire me in my future career. Hopefully one day I can come back to see the amazing house and the brand new galleries, sitting in the café looking back at those days ‘when we were at 17 Mill Lane’…