Internship Case Studies

These are some case studies that show the variety and quality of the internships offered to Arts and Law students.

Arts Administration and Marketing Intern with Motionhouse Dance Theatre Company

Motionhouse take on interns for 3 essential reasons: they are committed to working with local education providers and communities; they increase resources during high-intensity projects (such as The Voyage); they bring a fresh approach to the company.

jess-rogersJess Rogers (Drama and Classical Literature and Civilisation) was an Administration and Marketing intern at Motionhouse from 30 May to 25 July 2012. This was a bespoke internship created in partnership with the University of Birmingham.

A brief overview of Jess’s role was: scheduling activities, planning the dancers’ weekly schedules, administration of the vast database, actively supporting The Voyage (signing in and out participants, assisting in the management of the 150 community performers), research into US touring venues, producing education packs, administrating the company website, social media analysis, and even spending some time rehearsing with the professional dancers!

During the application process, applicants were asked for real life (competency based) examples of their IT skills (data inputting, formatting etc), team working experience, their strength of personality, problem solving skills, and (importantly) their knowledge of the company itself.

Some tips for applicants to arts administration internships and graduate roles:

  • Get plenty of voluntary and work experience!
  • Research into arts funding bodies and understand how organisations are supported and assessed.
  • Create a strength of character and understand how to deal with people – be emotionally aware.
  • Arts careers are often ‘portfolio careers’ - there’s no single route in and it’s a personal journey - it can take 2 years or 10 years.

Jess’s thoughts:

“I’ so glad I did it!”

“I’ve learned how to work in an office and how people interact and contribute towards a central goal. I now understand how an arts company can work so closely to their dancers. I also learned that you need to really want to work in the sector and that you have to be fully committed to the organisation and its goals.”

“I came into the internship with an open mind, but I was very surprised to meet the dancers and I didn't expect everyone to be as friendly. I was apprehensive about living on my own away from home - but haven’t felt alone at all. I’ve commuted to Leamington Spa every day from Selly Oak but this has been made worthwhile as I’ve been doing something valuable in a real company.”

“I’ve improved my emotional intelligence and self awareness thanks to working with different people from a range of backgrounds. I’ve also improved my organisational skills and now feel confident to ask questions - being inquisitive shows your dedication and interest.”

“Without the UK Professional Bursary I wouldn’t have been able to afford the travel costs, along with my rent, bills and food costs.”

“I don’t envy my friends who have been travelling for the last 2 months, I think an internship is more valuable.”

Development Intern with Maverick Television

Maverick take on interns in their development department due to the nature of the industry that is based around contract work and short-term projects. The department also hires interns to support team members in writing and developing proposals for new television projects.

lucy-vernon-maverickLucy Vernon (American and Canadian Studies) was Maverick’s Development Intern from 2 July to 27 July 2012. This was a bespoke internship created in partnership with the University of Birmingham and facilitated by Paul Woolf, Head of Development at Maverick and proud Birmingham alumnus.

Lucy was responsible for researching and writing proposals and participating in run-throughs of programme ideas (see image). She also worked as a runner for a Maverick show being filmed in Bristol and also spent a day observing an edit for a CBBC programme.

The role demanded a fair amount of independent working while coming together regularly with the rest of the development team to discuss conclusions and ways forward. One of the best elements of working in this area is the chance to be creative, not only in suggesting and developing ideas but also in the way you work.

Some tips by Maverick for applicants to television development and production roles:

  • Work experience, skills and attitude are the three most important things.
  • Internships and work experience are the first step on the ladder – many former interns now work for Maverick.
  • Nothing is secure in the TV industry. Maverick employ very few full time staff and many people work on a contractual basis, so you are almost always on the lookout for work.

Lucy’s thoughts:

“My main achievement is that I have been asked on to stay an extra three weeks after my internship, which has made me very proud.”

“In a few months time when something gets aired on TV, I can be like, “I helped make that happen!”

“Without the UK Professional Bursary I wouldn’t have been able to afford my travel to London every day.”

“I have learnt how to work to deadlines and how to take criticism constructively. When I am asked to change something I have done or do some extra work, it is not an attack on me; it’s just that it needs to be done right.”

Work Experience with Oundle International Festival

The Oundle International Festival is a professional music festival held each July in Oundle and the surrounding area, attracting a growing audience from the local community, and further afield. The programme includes jazz, folk and world music alongside classical repertoire, and related programming in other art forms. This year the festival took on two work experience students from the University of Birmingham.

Ellie Shouls (English Literature and Music) and Sarah Woolhouse (Music) were with the festival between 9 and 22 July and their roles included: working on reception, answering phone calls, creating promotional leaflets, flyering, assisting in the running of concert events, liaising with artists and managing stewards, setting up and taking down events, and acting as runners for staff.

Festival organisers had spent a lot of time creating detailed itineraries for Ellie and Sarah, and this made sure they could hit the ground running and really get a lot out of the experience. Ellie said, “It was nice to feel properly involved in the team from the moment we arrived, and I felt that we were given a high amount of responsibility which enabled us to feel useful, whilst not being given tasks that were out of our depth.”

Ellie’s thoughts:

“Although I'm still not sure exactly what field I want to go into, this opportunity has given me a wide base of experience and knowledge that I feel will put me above other potential applicants when I come to apply for a graduate job.”

“It was good to have the UK Professional Bursary to cover the cost as it would have been hard to do the placement without it.”