MA Studentship at The Hepworth Wakefield: Fruzsina Vida (2022)


Fruzsina Vida was the recipient of the Hepworth Wakefield Studentship 2021/22.  Here, she reflects on her experience working with the gallery during May/June of that year.


External view of THW across the weir

View of The Hepworth Wakefield building, designed by David Chipperfield Architects (Photo: F. Vida)

I am grateful that I was chosen for an internship at The Hepworth Wakefield, where I represented the University of York's History of Art Department.

Named after the famous British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, The Hepworth Wakefield is one of the most significant institutions in the UK that collects and exhibits modern and contemporary British art. It is based in Wakefield, the birthplace of Barbara Hepworth. The building was designed by David Chipperfield Architects, and its forms were heavily influenced by Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures. During my time at the gallery, I felt privileged to spend my time in the building.

For my internship, I worked closely with the Exhibition and Collection team. Interim Curator Abi Shapiro, Exhibition and Collection Registrar Eleanor Dobson, and Gallery Manager Karl Vickers welcomed me from the beginning and made me feel like one of the team.

When at internal meetings, the department gathered to discuss ongoing and future exhibitions, I gained an overall understanding of the collective work of the board.

At the beginning of my time at the gallery, I learned about the collection database. When acquiring a new piece of work, it is essential it is recorded correctly. This allows the museum to keep a record of every single element in the collection. As part of my internship, I created new entries and updated data in the collection index.

The Hepworth Wakefield has an incredible archive. It collects documents on artists in connection with the gallery and data on past events and exhibitions. I carried out research for an upcoming show on ceramics, among other tasks, about the so-called ‘Sculptural Turn’ when ceramic artists started to create less functional and more organic works in the 1970s. It is my honour to have been able to participate in the embryonic stages of a future exhibition. Even the tiny information I gathered throughout my time in the archive will have added to the upcoming show. Furthermore, I wrote descriptions of ceramics by Lucie Rie, Betty Blandino, Elizabeth Fritsch, Colin Pearson and Halima Cassell.

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Condition checking fluted vase by Lucie Rie (Photo: F. Vida)

Besides that, I wrote loan requests to museums about objects for future exhibitions.

I communicated with the public and replied to enquiries from professionals from other institutions to organise visits to the museum’s archive.

While working in the store, I learned how to write acquisition notes when getting hold of a new piece. Furthermore, I practised handling artefacts and created condition reports. This allowed me to work closely with the collection and physically connect with art objects in a way that otherwise would not be possible.

Shelves stacked with picture frames

Paintings in the store (Photo: F. Vida)

The internship allowed me to work in different departments in the museum. I spent a day with the Public and Learning Team for my request. Working with Public Programme Manager Charlotte Morgan, I proposed ideas for public programmes and events in connection with exhibitions. I am excited to see if any of my concepts will be implemented.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a professional team and contribute to The Hepworth Wakefield. I enjoyed every moment of my placement, and I could not be more grateful for the kind welcome I received from every member of the Gallery. I look forward to using the professional skills I have gained during my time there, and I will always be proud to say that The Hepworth Wakefield helped me start my career.

Two sculptures in front of a large window

View from the gallery and museum interior with sculptures by Barbara Hepworth (Photo: F. Vida)

Profile photograph: Dorian Cypres

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