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Interview with an Intern: Rachel Wrigley

Tell us about your internship: What department do you specialise in and what kind of duties are involved?
As a performance intern I have been working with the Partnership Officer, Rachel Goodsall, to deliver the live events programme; this involves putting together all the information you need before an event, running and delivering, and then doing everything that’s needed after it. My role has been primarily artist liaison so I’ve been working to collect all of that information from the individuals and the partners that we work with. You’ll often find me talking to a lot of different types of people!

What projects have you worked on whilst here?
I’ve worked on loads – it’s been insane. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a wide range of projects from spoken word, dance, lectures - In the first couple of months, it’s been really difficult to get to grips with everything that’s happening here because there’s just so much!
It started off earlier on with LightNight, and straight after that came the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival – that was pretty intense; loads of really talented musicians with instruments I’ve never seen before. After that was Hope Street Limited’s Sense and Sustainability for FLUX Liverpool, which was kind of nuts – they took over the whole building! Then Writing on the Wall festival and Tmesis Theatre Physical Fest– it has been pretty intense.

Do you have any side-projects that aren’t part of your role at the Bluecoat?
As well as being an artist, I’m actually a co-director of the PAPER gallery based in Manchester. We're an Artist-Led gallery focusing on critically engaged paper-based works, and represent local, national & international Artists. We host regular exhibitions, and have an Artist in Residence & mentoring scheme amongst many other exciting things.

How does your internship tie into your career aims?
As an artist, I acknowledge that I’m gong to have to have some kind of paid position that works alongside that so working in the Arts is a nice compliment to it. This internship has acted as a really good stepping-stone towards that.

What is your opinion on the current Liverpool Biennial exhibition: James McNeill Whistler?
I’ve really enjoyed being able to look at his prints because they are absolutely phenomenal, but also the live programme it’s brought in with it – we’ve had speakers from the National Trust, Speke Hall, Professor Margaret McDonald from Glasgow University who was a renowned Whistler expert, but also we’ve had Paul O’Keefe, an actor, who perform an illustrated talk on the famous court trial.

What would you say your favourite piece is in the exhibition?
That’s tricky – obviously the Peacock Room recreation stands out without a doubt, but his prints; his smaller works have really stuck with me, especially Limehouse (Image courtesy of Liverpool Central Library)

What do you enjoy most about working here?
The range of people I’ve come into contact with whilst I’ve been here, and that’s not just including the staff, that’s including visitors who have come to watch the events – because even what they bring with them is their outlook on the performance, and it’s useful.
My best experience was Hope Street’s performance Sense & Sustainability – the sheer amount of different things that happened; we had dogs in the courtyard, we had people running up and down the stairs screaming and soaking wet, live chickens in the garden, swings in the hub – there was so much happening in one day that it stands out by far.

Why do you feel internships and apprenticeships are important? How do they benefit people in general?
For me in particular this internship has provided me with much more than any volunteer placement has done or ever will do, I think the amount of responsibility that people here are happy to give you once you’re within the system is so much more, and you learn so much more. Whilst I’ve been here, any questions that I’ve had or any things I’ve wanted to learn, everybody’s been happy to help facilitate that.


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