We are in week 7 of our summer internship! I can’t believe how quickly our time at the library has gone. We have completed our research and are now at the stage of planning the physical format and presentation of our exhibition. The hard part was seemingly over but it has been quite a task selecting the most significant points to include in our display from the body of information we have accumulated. We haven’t wanted to leave any of the information out, but despite our exhibition space consisting of four glass cases and six poster spaces, we cannot include it all. Consequently, we will compile a short booklet with the additional chronological information. My favourite part of this stage of the project plan has been selecting the images to display from our digitised collection.
Through the weeks, the individual aspect of this blog has incorporated cultural interests such as art and literature. This week however, I am going to talk a bit about my experience as an LJMU intern. Firstly, being accepted onto this internship has temporarily saved me from worrying about the daunting, limbo stage of finishing university and the “not knowing what you’re going to do with the rest of your life” shock. Because I did not have a graduate job awaiting, the internship has allowed me to stay in my beloved Liverpool for the summer and avoid working non-sociable hours in hospitality. So initially, for that, I was most grateful.
More importantly, as the internship has progressed, I have enhanced key skills as well as developing new ones; the new skills largely relating to IT, thanks to Jade. Prior to this internship I had a complete aversion to anything technological and insisted I was incompetent with computers. Through the process of digitisation for our online portfolio, I have come to marvel and what can be done and how easily, if you are just willing to learn! I can now use the different elements of Microsoft Office much more confidently, digitise images, edit them on Photoshop, and create and edit files. I realise how increasingly important it is to be tech savvy in many career areas, therefore this boost in IT knowledge has come at a right time for me.
Starting this internship just a month after my dissertation deadline meant my research skills had not completely switched off just yet. However, my dissertation was entirely self-directed. This job has been a close partnership. Everything, aside from the weekly blog, Jade and I have done together. We have practiced qualities essential for successful team-work. We always respect one another’s opinion, we compromise on differing ideas, we share tasks and equally contribute, and ultimately we get on with our job and work to the best of ability. We manage to do all of this whilst still having a good time and enjoying each other’s company.
The best part about this internship for me has been the books. In the first two weeks, I was in constant awe as we looked through the periodicals of the Aldham Robarts archives. The illustrations are stunning, with lots of interesting articles. It was wonderful to immerse myself in history and get a peek of another lifetime through the words and imagery of these beautiful books. I think it is fantastic that there are people such as the library team at Aldham Robarts that work to study and preserve this literature.
Through this internship, my cultural knowledge and interests have matured and expanded. I have always enjoyed art to some extent, but now I can say I actually know something about it and have a genuine interest. Last Sunday, I visited the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight for the first time. It was amazing to view in reality, some of the paintings that I had come across in the library books or online. Before this internship, I did not know who Dante Gabriel Rossetti was, and now I have a print of one of his paintings on my mantel piece!
Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, I have learned so much about the Victorian era, especially in relation to animals. Until now, I did not realise how influential the Victorians were for our modern society. Everywhere I go, I see Victorian buildings, references to prominent historical figures active in Victorian times, and Victorian art and literature. Above all, I realise the legacy of the 19th century in the form of attitudes towards animals and their welfare. My love for animals has grown with the Victorian appreciation for their beauty and intelligence being apparent. I also understand why Britain is so dog-mad, it all started with Queen Victoria!
Overall, this internship has provided me with a platform for my first step out of university, given me new skills and improved existing ones in the area of research, developed cultural interests, made me a new friend, and taught me a lot of new, interesting information. Thank you LJMU!