Farewell from Rachel

This week is a sad week for WiP as we say goodbye to not one, but TWO, valued members of the team. We asked them to sum up their experiences with us from the last 12 months. We now hear from Rachel – our wonderfully organised and incredibly busy apprentice!

Wow! Has it really been 12 months since I started as an apprentice? Time really seems to have flown by. Ruth has asked me to write up a blog about my experiences o­­­­­ver the past year, but how can I possibly sum up a year’s worth of amazing activities in one short blog?

I hit the ground running in August with a mini-Mystery Tour to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens. This was the first Mystery Tour that I organised with people other than the core WiP Team, which involved a lot more organisation on my part (most of which actually took place during my internship), but was a great deal of fun as we had a lot more opinions at the end of the trip. It’s a gorgeous little venue – one well worth a visit if you ask me!

Next up was the Summer Reading Challenge! Our task was to organise an event that would celebrate the end of 2016’s Summer Reading Challenge and the works of beloved author, Roald Dahl. We had a great time organising and delivering this event, and getting dressed up as our favourite characters (I chose to be Fantastic Mr Fox). I got to run social media for the day, which is always fun, and I was the official documenter for the event – a real privilege.

Then it was time to get started with My Style. If you don’t know what My Style is (where have you been?) then let me explain. It’s WiP’s pilot Arts Award programme that allows young people to access the award in a central location and offers them a chance to develop their own creative practice. It’s been extremely exciting to have the opportunity to work on a trial project, as well as getting to mentor some amazing young people and work alongside an incredible team of My Style Personal Stylists! It’s been just brilliant and absolutely amazing to see how it’s expanded – first to Kidderminster and next term to Wolverhampton!

One very special part of the My Style programme has been the takeover days! At the end of every term, we give our young people an opportunity to showcase their work to an audience. These never fail to amaze me as we get some absolutely incredible things to show off. My favourite was definitely the Harry Potter vs Lord of the Rings event where I got to conduct a version of the Mysterious Ticking Noise.

Next on the agenda was the Spooky Sleepover! What an awfully fun event this was, and how complicated was it to organise. Who knew that organising a sleepover required so much paperwork? This event was just fabulous from beginning to end. The trail was entertaining, the food donations we received were mind-blowing and the story-telling session at the end was great. To top it all off, I got to run around with a sheet over my head yelling ‘Boo!’ at opportune moments. A pretty surreal experience, but awesome all the same.

A multitude of smaller activities also took place over the course of my apprenticeship. We got to go and present a talk about the Arts Award on behalf of the Royal Opera House bridge organisation (which involved a trip to London), deliver a series of workshops in children’s homes and got involved with the Cultural Citizens project (through which I went to my first ever ballet!).

Our latest project is #LOL and whilst it’s only a few months old, it’s been a great journey. We’ve met some amazing young practitioners through this project and worked to plan and create some awesome stuff. It was with this group that the Animal Agents project happened. During this event I got to step back from my usual behind the scenes role and stepped up into being a performer. This was pretty terrifying and I would never have even dreamt of doing anything like that when I started out last year.

My favourite project though has definitely been the Adventures in Heritage blog series! Through this project I got to volunteer at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum one day a week and then visit a heritage site to review it for accessibility on another. This was a really great project as I got to utilise my writing skills for a regular feature and develop my photography skills on the side.

As you can see, we managed to pack an awful lot into my 12 month apprenticeship! Over this period of time I’ve developed a whole host of skills, and even gained some new ones, like performing a drama piece in front of a live audience (that’s definitely my proudest moment for sure). I’ve had an awful lot of fun and made some good memories. I am very sad that my apprenticeship is coming to an end – it feels like the end of an era! – but I’m very happy to be heading off to university, something that I didn’t think I’d actually ever do.

So thank you, WiP, for all your help and support. It’s been awesome!