4 November 2013back

Creative Internships Blog Week 3

Jo Shepherd, Wales Millennium Centre



Since starting at Wales Millennium Centre, I’ve been able to join two different tours of the building. The first was led by an experienced tour guide, and the second was led by the Centre’s Strategic Director for Business Operations. Both tours were excellent, but they reminded me how many different ways there are to tell the same story. My tour guide from our Visitor Services team, Vanessa, did a fantastic job of giving me an overview of the Centre. She happens to be from Brittany. This seemingly irrelevant fact reminded me of the role that the Centre plays in the place of Cardiff, and Wales, on the international stage. My second tour with Jonathon Poyner, who oversees Operations, covered similar ground, but instead of focussing on the big picture, he told me all about the rivets. The frontage of the Centre is covered in hundreds of steel sheets held in place by thousands of rivets. It’s very important to him that those rivets do not rust or leave stains, to preserve the integrity of the building’s design.

My colleagues at Wales Millennium Centre are passionate about the building – its iconic design, its capacity to welcome, shelter and nurture so many people, its structure down to the last rivet. But they are even more passionate about going beyond the bricks and mortar (and steel, slate, and glass) to make this place a home for excellent performing art that is truly accessible to all. I had no idea how many free performances, outreach and education programmes the Centre puts on, not only in the building but in communities all over Wales, thanks to the generosity of supporters.

So what’s my story? What’s the big picture? Well, I’m originally from the US. I have a background in fine art and linguistics, and I love the arts, research and writing. I’ve worked in the past as a PA.  What I’m ultimately looking for is a way to use my experience and skills to do something that makes a difference not for just a small number of people, but in a way that contributes to a lasting artistic and cultural legacy. I know that’s a vision which my mentor at Wales Millennium Centre, Marie Wood, shares, and I’m thrilled to be learning from her.

So that’s my big picture. At the rivet level, I have been getting to grips with all sorts of things that are involved in the day to day work of fundraising, for example, learning how to update the database and the web site. In my first week I helped to write a funding application for an exciting project to send a children’s choir from Wales to perform in South Africa. I’ve already had the chance to work in all three key areas - individual giving, corporate sponsorship, and trusts and foundations. I’m looking forward to giving you another tour of my internship in a couple of months’ time, when I’ll have even more (riveting) stories to tell.

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