Fellowship, Mentorship and Volunteer Placement Program – a recipient’s experience

The 2020 Fellowship, Mentorship and Volunteer Placement Program opens on Wednesday the 26th of February. Ahead of the 2020 round of grants we asked past recipient and gallery technical officer at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Jeremy Kruckel to share some of his experiences from his mentorship at the Art Gallery of NSW.

How would you describe your experience to a friend who doesn’t work at a museum or gallery?
It’s like going back to school to learn all the practical things you will actually use rather than the fluff and filler. It’s intense and you learn so much, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun and in the end, it just makes your own job much easier.

Did anything unexpected happen during your placement?
Yes. I was so quickly welcomed into the group by my peers. I didn’t have to stand back and watch everyone do the things I was there to learn. I was invited to jump right in and get my hands dirty (figure of speech, my hands were clean, and I had gloves on) no matter what the work was. Which really helped with the learning process.

What was the most surprising benefit from the program?
So much knowledge! So many great people! My mentorship program ran for two weeks, but by the end of day four I think my brain was overflowing. I just tried to pay as much attention as I could and wrote as many notes as I could. The breadth of knowledge that my peers tried to impart was incredible, all of them so skilled in each of their areas.

Did you learn anything new about yourself through the experience?
Yes, I think so. I didn’t fully realise the extent of my role as the Gallery Technical Officer until I started visiting various departments of the AGNSW. Many people were surprised I was seeing them and learning from them after having just come from a different department, with the limited number of staff members at the WWAG a lot of these roles fall to me. Photography, Conservation, Installation, Storage, Collections, Databasing, Programs, Lighting. I had always joked that I wore a lot of hats but didn’t realize just how true and how many that was until this mentorship.

Did you set any goals for yourself during the placement? How are they going?
I just tried to learn as much as I could and connect with as many people as possible. Almost everyone I met gave me their contact details should I have any questions down the road about things related to their roles I can just contact them. So far so good as all of those that I left outstanding items with have gotten back to me with more information on various subjects. It’s much easier to bother the person via email once you have met them in person.

And finally, what advice would you give a person doing the program in the future?
Do it. You will learn so much and have a blast at the same time. It’s like going to work but you have a whole team supporting you every step of the way, and issues are resolved right away, and when you go back to your own position you feel excited and refreshed and you can start applying all the new skills you learned.

About the Placement Program

Fellowships offer senior staff from NSW museums and galleries the opportunity to undertake a placement at an international cultural organisation. Up to $6,000 is available to spend two weeks at the host

Mentorships are a valuable professional development opportunity for emerging and mid-level museum and gallery staff to spend two weeks with a state, national or smaller, more specialised organisation. Applicants can choose to spend two-weeks at the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW), Australian Museum or Sydney Living Museums and State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales. Applicants can also arrange their own placement host. In 2020, M&G NSW will offer up to $3,000 for each Mentorship placement.

The Volunteer Placement Program is a great opportunity for anyone giving their time and expertise to a small or volunteer managed museum, or Aboriginal cultural centre in NSW. Volunteers can choose to be placed in the following organisations; Hurstville Museum & Gallery, the State Archives and Records of NSW, or choose to undertake a tailored disaster preparedness and recovery focused placement. Alternatively, applicants can arrange a placement with an organisation of their own choice. In 2020 up to $1,500 is available for each Volunteer Placement.

Applications close 5pm, Thursday 2 April 2020

Find out more here

Previous PostNew online catalogue designs revealed by Trove and State Library of NSW
Next PostGather – a new space for Aboriginal communities to connect with their cultural heritage