Danielle Blackburn (Drama, 2nd year)
University of Birmingham Arts and Law Events Internship, Spring/Summer 2013
My internship involved organising and administrating the 2-week 2013 Taiwanese Cultural Heritage Summer School and a 5-day international Conference for the Ironbridge Institute, where I also chaired conference panels. Tasks involved researching and emailing delegates and sponsors, creating and administrating Excel databases, updating the Dropbox and WordPress sites, writing budget breakdowns and event reports and ensuring the smooth-running of the events to schedule.
I enjoyed seeing large scale events develop from ideas into reality and the responsibility given to me to achieve these results. This is because I learnt a lot more from the challenges that faced me and that you can’t please everyone when working in events. One thing you organize may please some, but not others, but I learnt not to take it personally as some things are out of your control.
I gained skills in administration (databases), time-management (running events), eye-for-detail (creating the handbooks for the conference and summer school), creative flair of language (the blogs), confidence in communicating professionally on the phone or via email, research skills (researching sponsors and relevant companies of UNESCO sites and museums) and evaluative skills (interpreting budget breakdowns and writing an events report).
I think the most invaluable experience would have to be the office administration: databases, document-writing, blog-updating, report-writing and budget-breakdowns, as they are all very interchangeable. This experience has also been balanced nicely with actually running the events themselves, with all the challenges and queries I had to sort out immediately. This experience will particularly benefit me in applying for festival intern jobs, as I would like to eventually work in Birmingham’s festival scene, which requires practical, hands-on experience of live events.
“Danielle was a brilliant intern, totally exceeding my expectations. She took all the tasks that were asked of her on, and worked really well as one of our team. She coped with some difficult scenarios – the rest of the team were abroad for two weeks early on (we were delivering a conference in Taiwan) and Danielle kept everything running smoothly here in Birmingham.” Caroline, Arts and Law Events Manager