Megan has worked at The Hepworth Wakefield since January 2017 in her position as Visitor Experience Supervisor. We delve into her varied role at the ArtFund Museum of the Year 2017.
1. What does a typical day look like in the Visitor Experience team at Hepworth?
A typical day at the gallery starts with a daily briefing which covers the most important information the VE team need to know. Every day we have something different happening including visits from school groups, private tours and potential installation of artwork in the spaces.
We are then responsible for looking after our 10 gallery spaces ensuring the health and safety of all our visitors, upholding the gallery guidelines and most of all making sure our visitors enjoy their visit.
It’s also a fascinating learning experience as we are asked to develop our knowledge and understanding of the artworks on display. This is really beneficial as we can engage with our diverse audience on the subject of art. I think it’s what also makes us a very warm, friendly and welcoming team who work to pool our knowledge in all subject areas, learning from each other as well as our visitors.
2. What sort of questions do you get asked by visitors?
We get asked a variety of questions, mostly from people wanting know where things are, but also some that really challenge us! We’re often ‘why was Barbara Hepworth so fascinated with circles’. As mentioned earlier, we are a team that learn from each other and our visitors, so we find it really important that should a visitor ask us a question that we don’t know the answer to we work together to find the answer. If it’s something we can’t answer right away, we take their details and speak to someone in our Curatorial team who may be able to help us.
3. What are the favourite aspects of your role?
I’d say that one of my favourite aspects is talking to our visitors. Our subject is art, so there is so much you can learn from everyone when discussing their interpretations and impressions of an artwork. As a team we learn a great deal from the people that walk through our doors.
Another is delivering tours; imparting further information about Wakefield’s Permanent Art Collection and explaining why we as a gallery are immensely proud of Barbara Hepworth’s contribution to modern art.
4. Have you always held an interest in art?
Yes, from a very young age my favourite thing to do was draw and make things. I went on to complete a foundation degree in Fine Art at Leeds College of Art and then on to complete a Masters in Fine Art and Art History at the University of Edinburgh.
5: Which exhibitions have you especially liked since working at the Hepworth… and why?
It’s so hard to choose – every exhibition is a completely different experience and challenge. For example, the recent Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works exhibition was interesting for our team as most of our time was spent in the darkness of his installations witnessing our visitors’ reactions to his solid light sculptures. We all found it rewarding and reminded us on a daily basis of the excitement art can instil in everyone. I also really loved the Disobedient Bodies: JW Anderson Curates The Hepworth Wakefield exhibition. It brought so many different artworks and designs together which created some brilliant parallels between modern art and fashion including works from Sarah Lucas, Dorothea Tanning and Yves Saint Laurent that I would never have considered before.