Laura Sharp

Experience Arts Internship Scheme
BA Ancient History and Archaeology, 2021 

Tell us a bit about your internship.

Hello, my name is Laura I was a BA Ancient History and Archaeology student at the University of Birmingham. I graduated in 2021 and have since gone on to study Archaeology at master’s level at another UK university. The internship that I did was the Experience Arts Internship run by the Careers Network and my position was an Archival Intern at Winterbourne House and Gardens in Edgbaston.

My role as Archival Intern basically involved the accessioning and cataloguing of letters linked to the University of Birmingham's herbarium collection, which since this year had been stored away under the University and was recently recollected by the Winterbourne House and Gardens team. So, the task involves taking all of these letters putting them in an accessible cataloguing system and for further research so that we can find out more about the collection and the people who are involved in putting it together. 

Why did you apply to the Experience Arts internship? 

My main reason for applying for this internship was to gain more experience in the heritage sector. Experience when applying to heritage jobs is invaluable and unfortunately opportunities such as this internship are quite rare so as soon as I saw it on the Careers Network Internships website, I knew it was something that I had to go for in order to develop my skills in the heritage sector. Something that really appealed to me about this internship in particular was its emphasis on independent research and the building of a research database.

So through this internship I felt like I was really helping the wider picture and the wider message of what Winterbourne hopes to do as a place of local and historical significance and the herbarium is a very important part of the University and Winterbourne's history and so being able to work with the letters in the collection was a way in which I could aid the story of the place and the story of the herbarium itself.

What did you gain from doing the Experience Arts Internship? 

The Winterbourne House and Gardens internship enabled me to gain a lot of different skills in a lot of different areas, mainly owing to the fact that I was able to be quite independent in my role as an Archival Intern. Other than the obvious organizational and cataloguing skills, I was able to develop skills in conservation and how we can deal and handle with these really delicate letters, some of them 100 years old. Skills in conservation and how we can understand how to handle materials is something that you can only really gain through experience and that I can now take on into further places of work.

Another thing that I kind of gained from this internship was the understanding of what collections offices and interns do and how much work and skill goes into creating exhibitions, and also just the daily workings of a heritage site, how many people it takes to kind of bring this whole story of a place together and present it to the public in a way that's accessible and professional.


CV checking software

“I used the CV checker about five times before I submitted my final application”

What are your top tips for applying to the Experience Arts Internships?  

My top tips for students and graduates who hope to go on to get an internship position are to use the resources available through the Careers Network.

I used the CV checker about five times before I submitted my final application to make sure that all my relevant experience was on there and most visible to the employer to convince them that I was the right person for the job.

Another thing that I would suggest is make sure that you've practiced interview questions and skills because interviews are nerve-racking no matter how many of them you've done. Really make sure that you know the place and you know the position that you're applying for, and you are able to convince the employers and yourself that you are essentially the best person for the position.

When you get the position, I’d just say meet as many people as you can, take as much away from the opportunity as possible, and gain as many skills as you can and to put on your CV and really make the most out of what you've achieved through getting the position.


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