Internships, Apprenticeships & Free Labour

Rosanna Croom, 1 July 2012

Session called by Rosi Croom
Attended: Ali Robertson, Rachel, Carrie, Hannah Drake, Emily Williams, Sarah Kingswell, Jojo Townsend, Roland Oliver, Lucy, Matt Graham

Whether it be called an internship, apprenticeship, placement or residency... how do we measure its value? should we be paid? are we entitled to a paid position afterwards? Is it a two way exchange? Who's responsibility is it to determine its value?

Qualities that we believed a decent internship should exhibit:

-Clarity in intention from both the intern and organisation.

-A positive, hard working attitude, pro-action from both parties.

- An organisation knowing its strengths and subsequently being able to relay it to its intern. IE: A receiving house type venue better equipped to educate interns in marketing & front of house management.

-Mutual responsibility. Both in the choice to allow the internship to happen in the first place & in the work taken on in the process. IS IT THE RIGHT THING FOR YOU?

-Flexibility in structure to allow people from all walks of life access to the programme...

to allow them to work around the internship for example.

- Quality control... is this stuffing envelopes or is this hands on?

Some believed it was not ‘fair’ for someone, who for example, has worked in admin, to have to be interned in arts admin when they already have relevant experience branded as something else or in a different sector.

Other believe that Arts Admin internships are just as valid as any other, for they equip people in the same ways for prospective jobs as creative industries do.

The Made In Bristol internship was brought up. While its promises and remits are admirable. Is it REALLY OKAY for someone to work for 12 months unpaid?

The point was raised that perhaps more needed to be done in the area on this front.

The Barbican internship in Plymouth is paid through various different governing bodies pooling their resources and it sounds very exciting and allows room for the intern to make mistakes!

Mentoring schemes that allow for companies and prospectives just HAVE A CONVERSATION a few hours every now and again seem like a good means of educating fledglings too.

Overall, each case of internship obviously needs to be taken into account, but if they are honest in their intentions, both from the perspective of the intern and the

oraganisation, most people agree that they do play an important part in the development of new practitioners. Provided a sense of responsibility is inherent in both parties... but don't expect a job at the end :)


quality, flexibility, control, responibility, attitude, free, Bristol, access, labour, bristol, mentor, admin, barbican, experience