Internships at Two Temple Place: Emily Hewes, Events and Education Coordinator
In 2017, Emily Hewes joined Two Temple Place as our Events and Education Coordinator as part of a 7 month internship. Below, she shares her experience of being part of the team working alongside the development of our 2018 exhibition and helping to build a complimentary family and engagement programme:
"I was pretty intimidated when I turned up at the imposing wooden door of Two Temple Place for my interview, but intimidation quickly turned to amazement when I moved inside the building. Having grown up in London, I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of it, and was a little bit sad to have missed the previous exhibitions. While I initially found the big wooden door slightly formidable, the staff were anything but. This being my first ‘proper job’, I was nervous. However, the core exhibitions team of three and the wider staff were very encouraging and made me feel immediately welcome.
I started my internship at Two Temple Place shortly after quite an extended period of travel. I studied History of Art at the University of Glasgow, before immediately moving on to an MA at UCL in the same subject. After five years of studying I was pretty keen to escape. I ran off to Australia, where I lived and worked in a pretty eclectic selection of mundane jobs, including waiting tables, working on a banana farm and knocking doors as a salesperson - all of which had absolutely nothing to do with History of Art.
When I got back to London, I was keen to start working on something slightly more suited to my degree and to focus on what I wanted from my future career. I was immediately hooked when I saw the job advert for ‘Events and Education Coordinator’ at Two Temple Place. I had previously volunteered for the education programme at the Charles Dickens Museum while doing my MA, an experience which I had really enjoyed, and I was eager to get more experience in organising events. For me, both education and events seem to be working towards the same purpose - engaging children and adults with art and cultural institutions. I had always been interested in cultural history throughout my studies and thought that the exhibition, Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain, sounded both fascinating and a great opportunity for some really fun events and children's activities.
All of Two Temple Place’s exhibitions have been really interesting, focussing on specific topics that you won’t likely have seen in other galleries, set against the building’s undeniably ‘extra’ backdrop. In each exhibition, the building and architecture contributes and adds to the exhibition rather than overwhelming it. In comparison to the stark white boxes that most gallery spaces employ, Two Temple Place really does feel special.
My main tasks included: co-ordinating the education programme (which was run by theWholeStory); contacting schools and booking them into workshops; creating a children’s exhibition trail; organising family activities, weekend and school holiday crafts and assisting with the events programme. I really enjoyed working in a small team, as it meant that I got to experience many different aspects of planning, running and promoting an exhibition. I also really appreciated the opportunity to take ownership and responsibility over my various projects and get creative.
I researched and came up with various Jazz themed craft activities and produced instruction sheets before delivering the workshops. Among other things, I made a trumpet playing puppets; drums made out of paper cups an a harmonica consisting of two lolly sticks and elastic bands, which I was extremely entertained by (try it - it’s really easy and really loud!). The most enjoyable bit was that I then got to sit down with the kids and try out the crafts with them. I also loved peeking in on theWholeStory running their storytelling sessions: they really brought the exhibition to life, immersing the children in the sounds and stories of the Jazz Age.
One of my favourite parts of working at Two Temple Place was working with their committed team of volunteers. They were all really interesting people who I thoroughly enjoyed talking to and learning about what else they had done and were doing with their lives. It was a very rewarding community to be part of. They’re also a pretty prolific bunch; I’ve bumped into Two Temple Place volunteers at both my next jobs. They were all so motivated and engaged with the building and their excitement when introducing visitors to the beautiful architecture was infectious. When I tell people about working at Two Temple Place, I channel the volunteer enthusiasm, whip out my phone and google some images to show them how beautiful the building is.
My favourite part of the building itself is definitely the two beautiful stained glass windows in the Great Hall. Having a moment in the empty hall, when we were setting up in the morning or shutting up for the evening and seeing the light shine through, always felt very special. My favourite object in the Rhythm and Reaction exhibition was definitely the Chicken drum. This drum belonged to bandleader and drummer Joe Daniels; it had a chicken painted on its front, and during his act while playing “chick, chick, chick, chick, lay a little egg for me”, the drum would lay an egg out of a secret door. Comic genius!
After Two Temple Place, I went on to spend a year working at the RAF Museum on the public events programme there. I now work at the Barbican Centre on the membership scheme. In both these jobs, working in much bigger organisations, I have taken forward so much of what I learned at Two Temple Place. I really appreciated the opportunity to be creative and build my confidence in such a welcoming team. If you have the chance to be involved with Two Temple Place, then I really recommend you do it! Not least so you can impress people with photos of its beautiful architecture and proudly tell them that you work there."