September 9, 2019

Charlotte Grayland

This summer I was fortunate enough to spend a month as an invigilator for Sean Edwards’ exhibition “Undo Things Done” for Wales in Venice as part of the 58th Venice Biennale. It’s one of the most important events in the art world.

In order to secure the position of student invigilator I first had to fill in an online application form with information about myself and my work, alongside some photographs of my current artwork. Leading on from this I was then invited to an interview with the Arts Council of Wales at the University, in which I had to prepare a presentation on an aspect of Welsh contemporary art and also pitch my ideas for a creative project that I wished to carry out in Venice.

After this interview to my surprise and excitement I was offered the role! At first this seemed quite daunting, however once I attended the programme’s training weekend at Ty Pawb in Wrexham, meeting the other artists and creatives chosen, I was extremely excited and ready to get out there and experience Venice in all its glory.

Sean’s work on display at the Biennale

Once in Venice, alongside my other team members and invigilators (Jenny Cashmore, Esyllt Lewis and Carlota Nobrega) I had to greet and welcome visitors into the venue, introduce Edwards’ work and also carry out maintenance (caring for the exhibition space and the artwork itself).

Every week we would have free time which allowed us to experience the city and explore new places. I spent the majority of my time visiting the Biennale and all its art, as well as many other galleries scattered across the islands. To see the sheer amount of art from all across the world and all their different approaches was incredibly inspiring to my practice as an artist. I am sure that this new breadth of contextual knowledge will help not only to support my future studies at university, but also throughout my ongoing career.

I was able to experience the city as well as the exhibition in my spare time

Alongside working in the venue and exploring Venice itself, part of the Invigilator Plus Programme encouraged us to research, explore and develop a creative project whilst in Venice and on our return. This allowed me to investigate new themes and ideas in an incredibly inspiring and creative environment. Due to the platform that this opportunity has given me, I have the potential to show this work in a professional setting alongside the other creatives on the program; this will be the first time I’ve had the opportunity to show my work outside of my education to date. This is something that I have aspired to for some time.

The Biennale allowed me to meet lots of other artists and creatives

Not only did this experience give me moments that I will cherish forever, but it also allowed me to see the potential of what a career in art can be if one is successful. In terms of going forward, this experience has already given me multiple connections with other artists and creatives met through the Biennale, and also new connections back here in Cardiff. I hope that these connections and links will allow me to propel my creative career as an aspiring artist and open possibilities for future collaborations and artistic projects.