In the summer of 2021 the Rylands Imaging team hosted the first Rylands Digital Collections Internship. The programme was a pilot scheme, responding to a request from a local BA Photography student asking if we offered any work experience opportunities. Social distancing restrictions (due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic) meant that we could not offer traditional in-person work experience in the photography studio. We recognise the challenges facing students trying to gain real work experience in the Cultural Heritage Sector, especially during these very challenging times, and we wanted to try to do something to help.
We came up with the Rylands Digital Collections Internship – an 8-week online programme for students and young people interested in pursuing a career in photography, providing space for creative exploration of digital collections, peer learning and support.
The programme comprised of:
- An introduction to digitisation and digital collections in the Cultural Heritage sector
- An opportunity to visit behind the scenes at the Rylands to create new photography
- A visit to the Imaging studio
- A creative brief inspired by the Rylands Digital Collections
- Developing presentation skills
- Developing skills in peer-to-peer support
- Developing skills in feedback and critiquing of photographic work
- Opportunity to publish a blog post and share images via the Rylands social media accounts
This was something new for the Imaging team and we have been working with the participants to evaluate the whole process and identify opportunities to develop the programme. The Imaging Team also gained a lot from the experience. It was a brilliant way to work together in a new way as a team. It was inspiring to learn from the students about their ideas and how they look at the collections. The process built confidence and skills for the team, as well as the students, in sharing knowledge and expertise. In the next blog posts we will see the brilliant photographic work created by the participants.