University of Birmingham Arts and Law Events Internship, Spring/Summer 2013

Danielle Blackburn (BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2nd year)

My internship involved organising and administrating the 2-week 2013 Taiwanese Cultural Heritage Summer School and a 5-day international Conference for the Ironbridge Institute, where I also chaired conference panels. Tasks involved researching and emailing delegates and sponsors, creating and administrating Excel databases, updating the Dropbox and Wordpress sites, writing budget breakdowns and event reports and ensuring the smooth-running of the events to schedule.

I enjoyed seeing large scale events develop from ideas into reality and the responsibility given to me to achieve these results. This is because I learnt a lot more from the challenges that faced me and that you can’t please everyone when working in events. One thing you organize may please some, but not others, but I learnt not to take it personally as some things are out of your control.

I gained skills in administration (databases), time-management (running events), eye-for detail (creating the handbooks for the conference and summer school), creative flair of language (the blogs), confidence in communicating professionally on the phone or via email, research skills (researching sponsors and relevant companies of UNESCO sites and museums) and evaluative skills (interpreting budget breakdowns and writing an events report).

I think the most invaluable experience would have to be the office administration: databases, document-writing, blog-updating, report-writing and budget-breakdowns, as they are all very interchangeable. This experience has also been balanced nicely with actually running the events themselves, with all the challenges and queries I had to sort out immediately. This experience will particularly benefit me in applying for Festival intern jobs, as I would like to eventually work in Birmingham’s festival scene, which requires practical, hands-on experience of live events.

“Danielle was a brilliant intern, totally exceeding my expectations. She took all the tasks that were asked of her on, and worked really well as one of our team. She coped with some difficult scenarios – the rest of the team were abroad for two weeks early on (we were delivering a conference in Taiwan) and Danielle kept everything running smoothly here in Birmingham.” Caroline, Arts and Law Events Manager

Heartbreak Productions Internship, Summer 2013

Isabelle Taylor (BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 2nd year)

I applied for the internship with Heartbreak as I have a passion for theatre and wanted to gain more skills in the sector. I also specifically wanted to work with Heartbreak as they are such a unique company and I was very interested in their education department. The application process was really straightforward; I just had to email my CV and covering letter and I was then invited to interview.

During my internship I’ve mainly been assisting the summer touring productions (Alice in Wonderland; Romeo & Juliet; and Dracula) by creating props; liaising with the press; talking to venues to resolve ticket sale issues and working towards solutions. Working with professionals in a professional environment has been a really great experience. It’s nice to know what I’m doing has an impact and has meaning. I’ve built up confidence in an area I didn't know I had any real flare for, which has been a very nice surprise and has really boosted my confidence! It was hard having such a random schedule and being in different places at different times (although it was completely understandable with the pattern of productions as it was). This meant that there were a lot of relationships to build and manage throughout my time at Heartbreak but I felt I did this well.

The internship has really enabled me to hone my existing skill set and now theatre marketing is an option for when I’ve graduated as I’ve really enjoyed the experience. A degree is never enough (especially an arts degree) so doing as much extra-curricular activity as you can to widen and improve your skill set is so important. It’s so easy not to do an internship as you need to put a lot of time and effort into it, and a lot of placements are very competitive, so if you do get one it shows an employer that you have initiative.

“Izzy is a shining example of clarity and tenacity. She is very diplomatic and can always get the answer she is looking for, so she’s been a great example to all of us!” Maddy, Heartbreak Productions