My name is Romane Teillet and I have been on an Erasmus+ placement with Castlefield Gallery since October 2020. I applied for the opportunity to gain further communications experience and improve my English. I wanted to participate in an exchange programme whilst studying at university but this was not possible. That is why after my Masters degree in Digital Communication in France, I tried to find a programme that was the most aligned to my professional goal and my level in English. I’m convinced that living in another country is the best way to build confidence in yourself and learn a language, and that is why Erasmus+ seemed perfect.
Even in the context of the pandemic, I was welcomed by Castlefield Gallery for a 3 month placement, which was then extended to 6 months. I had the opportunity to spend time working Front of House after the gallery reopened to the public in September 2020. This allowed me to try out simple phrases, and exchange words with the visitors to begin with. My job was to provide them with information about our exhibition Soft Bodies and to take their details for the UK’s NHS Test and Trace system. Although we had to close again, this first experience helped me work through my apprehensions and feel more confident.
Then I had the chance to participate in the installation of a new exhibition which involved 15 artists: Obstructions. I was able to go into the gallery for three weeks in order to help Aaron Pearce, the gallery’s technician, and Matthew Pendergast, the curator. I would like to thank Helen Wewiora the gallery director, and all the staff, for supporting me to continue to work in a controlled bubble, despite the lockdowns. I appreciated being able to get involved in the physical process of installing the new exhibition, and learn a different vocabulary. I also met some artists who came to install their art work and then talked to them via Zoom meetings.
At the end of the installation I started a new project. We had to reinvent a way to visit the exhibition online. I led on this, and I think it is my greatest achievement whilst at the gallery and the one I am proudest of. Each artist has a specific page for their art work, with images and a text to explain them. Moreover, thanks to Capture VR and their 3D exhibition tour, the mini-site is even more attractive. I should say, I would never have accomplished this without the precious help of Leslie, my French co-worker.
We spent a lot of time together working on digital communications to highlight each Obstructions artist and other events online. I was also happy to use my skills in graphic design, photo and video editing to create content. I have made this kind of content for our social media, the main website and the front screen in the gallery that allows passers-by to have a sneak peek of the current exhibition even if we are closed.
I also liked working with Jennifer Dean, our Communications and Audience Development Coordinator. Among the interesting tasks she gave me, I contributed to the redevelopment of our website. To be able to give advice and highlight what might be improved has felt really purposeful, and I have really enjoyed doing this. The experience will help me gain future work and perform well in my future career.
I am very grateful for this placement and the experience. The situation has been complicated but we have made it work. I hope to come back to Manchester in better times, get to enjoy the city more and see all of the members of staff at the gallery again.
I hope you enjoyed reading this! Thank you.