The University of Birmingham’s Cultural Intern scheme offers a paid six-month work-based placement, with opportunities to gain high quality work experience at leading cultural organisations in the West Midlands.
From 2011-2017 Sampad was a host organisation for the scheme. You can find out more about the adventures of of our interns below – keep an eye on our website and social media channels for news about future opportunities!
Katy Wade: Cultural Intern 2011- 12
I started my cultural internship with Sampad, fresh from completing my MA in Heritage Management at the Ironbridge Institute.
I applied as Sampad was offering the chance to work on a dance leadership scheme for Moving Earth, a large-scale production which was part of the Cultural Olympiad. I had hoped to gain some experience in outreach and budget management… but what I got was a whole lot more!
Due to my background in history, I was lucky enough to be asked to help write an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new Sampad project called My Route which explored the migration of residents along Stratford Road in South Birmingham. The development of this application, alongside the running of the leadership scheme, gave me a chance to build up invaluable hands-on experience and acquire a range of relevant, new skills within the arts & heritage sector.
Sampad put a lot of trust in me and spent their time helping me to refine and develop my experience – something which is essential for graduates these days, if they want to gain their footing on the employment ladder.
After finishing my internship, I stayed with Sampad to write the second round application for My Route, while assisting with some of their other performances such as Midday Mantra, Mandala and Bollywood 100. After finding out we had successfully secured funding for My Route, I then had the pleasure (and challenge!) of helping to co-ordinate and run the project; one of the highlights in my career so far.
At the moment, I am still delivering heritage projects with Sampad part-time, and I also work as a Community and Learning Engagement Officer in Malvern on my other days.
I will be eternally grateful to Sampad for helping me to start my career, and can’t recommend the internship scheme enough. Apply!
Rosalind Fursland: Cultural Intern 2013-14
I’ve always had huge enthusiasm for the arts, and during my time as a Cultural Intern at Sampad I gained a broad range of valuable and exciting creative opportunities. I quickly felt integrated as a valued member of the team and was entrusted with numerous responsibilities. Highlights included supporting Sampad’s ground-breaking My Route project by researching the history of Birmingham’s vibrant Stratford Road and helping to plan the multi-sensory Taxi Tour which vividly narrated the story of the road, and brought history to life from within a brightly decorated taxi. I also gained experience in marketing, and helped to create engaging content for the social media activity surrounding My Route.
Some of my favourite memories were made working back-stage and front-of-house at diverse arts events including Asian Spring, Birmingham Mela, and Mid-day Mantra. I greatly enjoyed helping to edit Sampad’s writing competition anthology, Inspired by my Museum, and I also had the opportunity to interview the accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer Devika Rao for a newspaper article. Taking part in the explorative digital arts project Interactivos? Birmingham was a further highlight, which opened my eyes to innovative developments being forged in arts and technology.
Possibly the most significant experience in shaping my future career, nevertheless, was the opportunity to contribute to Sampad’s fundraising ventures. As an intern I became involved in the research and development stage of future Sampad projects, working in collaboration with the rest of the team in planning, writing and submitting proposals to both local and national funders. I found the challenge of fundraising and the opportunity to help in shaping projects from the early stages to be extremely rewarding.
My internship at Sampad not only provided me with a broad skill-set in arts practice, but also enabled me to develop numerous transferable skills, including teamwork, communication, planning, budgeting, and using my initiative. Overall, my Cultural Internship was a hugely beneficial experience, which has had a significant impact on my subsequent work.
After my Cultural Internship finished, I was appointed as Development Officer at Sampad which enabled me to further develop my skills in fundraising. During this time my responsibilities included researching new funding possibilities, developing and maintaining a fundraising database, implementing new strategies, commissioning a fundraising film and running a crowdfunding campaign. I successfully secured donations from both local and national trusts and foundations for projects including the reprise of My Route’s immersive Taxi Tour, the education project Words of Peace, as well as the outreach project ‘Birmingham – Brick Lane – Bangladesh’. These experiences were invaluable in enabling me to expand my knowledge of fundraising, as well as affirming my love of the arts.
Since leaving Sampad, I have completed my PhD thesis entitled ‘Theatrics of Modernity: Incidental, Impromptu, and Everyday Performance in Early Twentieth-Century Manhattan’, which uses literature and art to explore how theatre and performance infiltrated everyday life in the modern metropolis. I am currently working towards a Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and I intend to begin teaching English abroad in 2018.
Zoe Hawken: Cultural Intern 2015-16
It was great to work in such a diverse organisation and learn all about what it takes to go from initial idea to fully fledged project. Working with different people with different approaches to fundraising was a particular highlight for me and has been invaluable in my current role. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of how fundraising works in the cultural sector and my time with Sampad couldn’t have been more perfect, with conversations live with both the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council!
Since my placement at Sampad I have continued to work in charity fundraising and am now a Senior Development Executive at the Science Museum in London. I proactively seek out new funding opportunities as well as managing the relationships with existing partners. It has been fascinating seeing how a national Museum works and it’s been great to be a part of so many exciting galleries and exhibitions!