Learner Internships

Can you help our Art learners gain valuable industry knowledge and experience?

Dunedin Fringe Festival 2018

Our senior Bachelor of Visual Arts learners are required as part of their course to carry out 15 hours’ work. Internship opportunities need to provide the learners with insights into a career within a relevant creative industry.

What's involved

Interns will relate their tertiary learning to the workplace, and are expected to develop a range of skills that they will need in transitioning to industry upon completion of their studies. Examples include helping with curating, exhibiting, marketing, events, funding or conservation.

The 15 hours do not all need to be carried out in the same week, or for the same industry organisation, or in Dunedin. The learner work is unpaid, but the organisation needs to provide a valuable learning experience for the learner and actively supervise what they are doing.

Learner benefits

Learner interns at the Blue Oyster Art Project Space had this to say of their experience:

“It’s one thing being in the studio and another to exhibit yourself. You need to know how galleries work.” 

Kimi Rindell

“You develop relationships with people working in the industry.”

Jasmine Rule

Contact details

The Dunedin School of Art contact lecturer is Alex Kennedy. If you are interesting in hosting an Art learner, please make contact.

Examples of past learner internships

Aigantighe Art Gallery
The Aigantighe Art Gallery has provided valuable workplace experience for Dunedin School of Art students.

The Aigantighe Art Gallery was founded in 1956 and is renowned today for its rich public art collection, innovative exhibitions, and inspiring education programmes. Three upstairs rooms in the Edwardian house hold temporary exhibitions of works all sourced from the permanent collection, while a modern extension enables the Aigantighe to show major exhibitions sourced from outside the collection, ranging from group shows of local artists to touring national and international shows.

Two Dunedin School of Art learners on placement with the Aigantighe in 2017 gained experience at the gallery's front desk, checking the location and condition of artworks in the collection, and helping with the de-installation and installation of exhibitions.

Hamish Pettengell, Exhibitions Curator at the Aigantighe, says:

"It was great to have students here to give us a hand and to pass on some of our own skills and help them. It was mutually beneficial."
Forrester Gallery
Volunteering at the Forrester Gallery has helped two students learn about installing an exhibition.

The Forrester Gallery is housed in a spectacular neo-classical building originally constructed in 1884 for the Bank of New South Wales. The Forrester, which is funded and administered by the Waitaki District Council, offers the Waitaki and wider region a varied and exciting exhibition programme, houses a growing collection of artworks significant to the region, and stands as an icon of Oamaru's unique whitestone historic district.

The Forrester Gallery does not currently host a formal internship programme, but is keen to hear from senior Bachelor of Visual Arts learners who want to learn about Gallery practice – exhibitions, programming and education. Past learners have worked as volunteers learning about exhibition installation techniques and going on to become casual paid staff members while completing their Master's qualification.

The Forrester Gallery has a close relationship with the Dunedin School of Art hosting exhibitions and programmes as well as hosting these learner volunteers.

One of our art learners has contributed to development of a new marketing brand.

Art learner Aicha Wijland carried out her work placement with Dunedin web design firm Firebrand. Aicha worked on a client project to help create a consumer-facing brand for a New Zealand company. 

Rebekah McNutt, Marketing Manager at Firebrand, says: 

Aicha was a great asset to the team over the two days she was here. Aicha worked on a task creating an icon set for a client of ours who is selling live lobster to China and in order to do so establishing a brand presence there. She was able to use her illustration skills to come up with a fantastic end result in just two days.

Aicha's icons have been used by the company on printed promotional brochures distributed in China, and in social media posts on China's WeChat. They are also likely to be used on a new company website. 

Blue Oyster Art Project Space
Blue Oyster Art Project Space appreciates the reciprocity of benefits through having Art learners as volunteers, interns and work-placement learners.

Blue Oyster Art Project Space in Dunedin is a not for profit art gallery operated by a charitable trust. It exists to enable emerging and experimental artists, writers and curators to work free from commercial restraints in an innovative and experimental environment. The Trust aims to broaden an interest and understanding of contemporary art by providing a diverse and energetic forum for critical dialogue around a yearly programme of exhibitions, projects, events and publications. All exhibitions and events are free to attend, the space offering an environment of criticality, community, support and learning.

Grace Ryder, the current Director, says that the space has hosted countless Art learner volunteers to date. Last year Sam Mitchell helped establish a library, to make their artist books, publications, zines, films and records available for people to use in their back room. This year another learner, Emily Crossens, has been working on a database of the library so that more people are aware of this library resource and can easily access material. Two other learners, Jenny Hercus and Lara Nicholls, are currently undertaking work-placements at Blue Oyster, working on marketing, promotion and hospitality, for example distributing posters around the city, and helping at exhibition openings and events.

The gallery always values volunteer support; the learners help the gallery while the gallery is also helping the learners. Grace understands that having learners volunteer is a really big learning opportunity for them, giving them a behind the scenes introduction to the industry and to the local and national arts community. 

Dunedin Fringe Festival
Volunteers, including from Dunedin School of Art, help make the festival a success.

The Dunedin Fringe Festival aims to bring experimental contemporary art to a wider audience and to support the work of emerging artists. Dunedin Fringe is an annual event which happens every March. The Dunedin Fringe Festival attracts established and emerging artists from throughout New Zealand and overseas; independent artist events form the backbone of the Festival. Dunedin embraced the 2018 Dunedin Fringe Festival with over 27,000 people attending 90 artist and festival-produced events.  

Volunteers are essential members of the Festival team, with a team of over 50 who perform a range of roles prior to and during the Festival. The volunteers include learners from the Dunedin School of Art, including some doing their course placement. Volunteers' tasks include distributing programmes, administration, and helping backstage and front of house.

2018 festival administrator Katrina Thomson says:

"It's very important to have volunteers because there's a really big workload to put on the festival. Funding is limited, so we rely on the support given by volunteers in the community to make it a great experience for Dunedin."

Contact us

If you’re not sure what to study and would like some guidance, we’re here to help. Feel free to chat to us directly about any questions you may have.