Rebecca is an Exhibitions Assistant for a fine art logistics company. She is a graduate of both the BA Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics and MA Religions and Theology courses at Manchester.
Here, she talks about how her master's course helped her gain the experience she needed for her current role.
On what I do
I work as an Exhibitions Assistant at Constantine Ltd, a provider of fine art logistics for private collectors, museums and galleries.
My role involves organising fine art logistics for international exhibitions.
On how I got into my job
After studying Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics for my undergraduate qualification at Manchester, I wanted to further my studies and gain greater work experience in a department and city I'd grown to love.
I knew that I wanted to forge a career within the arts, and the MA allowed me to gain an insight into the academic thought and organisational practice at the heart of the industry. The University is also a cultural campus that encourages students to experience and contribute to activities within the arts.
Whilst studying for my MA, I worked in various capacities at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, John Rylands Library and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust (in Manchester Central Library), which are all linked to the University.
My experience and qualifications helped me gain an immediate Curatorial and Collections internship at the Ben Uri Gallery in North London before I went into my current role.
I believe that the opportunities the MA afforded were key to me gaining the right skills to swiftly secure a job within the arts.
On gaining practical experience at Manchester
As part of my MA, I took an Institute of Cultural Practices module, which allowed me to work as an Oral History Assistant on a Heritage Lottery-funded (HLF) project at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust.
The module entailed attending lectures, working at a placement organisation and writing a 6,000-word reflective essay.
It was a fantastic module that allowed me to work with staff at the Education Trust to deliver the Legacy of Ahmed exhibition and with Ananna (Manchester Bangladeshi Women's Organisation) to deliver reminiscence sessions to community members as part of a HLF project.
I also sought out voluntary roles in the gallery and museum context. I volunteered as a loans out assistant at the Whitworth Art Gallery and gained invaluable experience assisting the registrar.
I also volunteered in the Manchester Museum's study space and the Whitworth's Collection Centre on Saturday mornings.
In addition, I acted as student representative for my year group, and enjoyed both giving feedback to members of staff from my peers and introducing prospective students to the department on open days.
There were many opportunities to develop both my academic and interpersonal skills at Manchester.
On studying Religions and Theology
The Religions and Theology department offers a unique MA qualification compared to other institutions, as it encourages contextual, comparative and interdisciplinary research.
For my dissertation, I had an interest in how contemporary art encapsulated both old ideas and current concerns. I sought to offer a definition of the contemporary sublime based on an analysis of new media art exhibited in a temporary exhibition at The Lowry (in Salford Quays).
I was interested in analysing contemporary evocations of the sublime in digital print, installation and interactive installations in relation to previous evocations of the sublime in art history.
I was (and continue to be) interested in exhibitions that place differing artists and artistic forms in dialogue with one another and thereby challenge audiences to consider both shared themes and divergences.
The Religions and Theology department encouraged my interdisciplinary dissertation and guided me through my analysis of religious, secular, post-modernist and art historical resources.