Research Intern at Bertz Associates

Experience Arts Internship Scheme
MA Shakespeare Studies, 2022

Francesca Rhodes - Work Experience Student Stories

Transcripts available on Youtube

Tell us a bit about your internship

Hi, I'm Frankie. I recently finished a Master's degree in Shakespeare studies at the University of Birmingham Shakespeare Institute and I now work as an Archive Assistant at Coventry archives. So the internship that I carried out in the spring was one of the College of Arts and Law Master's internships and it was for an organisation called Bertz Associates, and they're an Arts and Heritage group that run all kinds of things, like guided walks and events, podcasts and films, in Ladywood which is the part of Birmingham that I live in. And my role was as a Research Assistant, so they had a project called Women Between the Lines, which is exploring the histories of female role models from Birmingham or the vicinity and kind of putting together blog posts and events based on that research.

How did you find out about the internship and why did you apply?

So I found out about this internship because I get the Work on Wednesday emails from the careers advice service [Careers Network]. I find these really helpful for gathering all the internships together and I was excited about Bertz Associates because the place that they work is exactly where I live and they do a lot of projects with the Edgbaston Reservoir which is a place that I go to walk to all the time so I thought that that seemed perfect for me and also because it was going to involve a lot of research. I knew that I wanted to go into a research-based job in a museum or in an archive so that was another thing that I liked about it and I definitely went into it wanting to gain some more connections in the West Midlands. And what was really nice is that I was invited to a lot of networking events on the internship, so things at the Rep Theatre and the Ikon Gallery which allowed me to meet more people and get my name out there.

What did you gain from doing the internship?

So there were definitely a lot of skills that I gained from the internship, a lot of practical things that I now use in my job, for example I used the British Newspaper Archive to research women's history in Birmingham, now I use that at work every day and I help people at Coventry Archives to use it if they haven't used it before so that was really helpful. There were other things like I had never carried out a formal interview before and I did interview quite a few of the people for this organisation and that also linked quite nicely to my Shakespeare studies degree because I interviewed the architect Francine Hoban who designed the new Birmingham library that includes the Shakespeare collection. And I remained with the organisation as a volunteer, I helped Bertz with a youth group project that they had to do with the Tower Ballroom in Birmingham and that ended up becoming a podcast, so it was really nice to kind of stick around to do future projects with them.

What are your top tips for applying to internships?

So the main tip that I have for getting yourself an internship is just to try and make sure you know the organisation quite well before you apply and make that clear in your application. So what made my application stand out for Bertz Associates was that I was already passionate about the area that they work in, I'd been to the Edgbaston Reservoir and I knew why the heritage is so important here, so that's what made me stand out. And while you're on the internship just don't be afraid to volunteer yourself for new things so, there was an event that we attended where we needed a host for the panel and even though I hadn't done that before I decided to step up and do it and it was really valuable and a lot of people said that I did a good job and that's something I can take with me into the future and use it if I'm presenting at a conference in the future with the archive for example so you've only got this one opportunity so make sure you use it.


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