MA Studentship at MIMA: Charlotte Chambers Farah (2021)

Charlotte Chambers Farah was awarded the 2020-21 MA studentship with the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA). Due to the pandemic,  the placement took place remotely but was nevertheless a fully immersive experience, as Charlotte reveals in her reflection on her experience, below.

My time at MIMA went by in a flash, and yet I was able to try my hands at many different strands required to run a cultural organization. Working remotely certainly required additional self-starter skills. Notwithstanding, I still felt part of a team as I was invited to (virtually) sit on weekly meetings, and had regular check-ins with assistant curator Helen Welford. I was provided with very clear and detailed tasks, as well as a virtual tour of the gallery which excitingly featured a Sonia Boyce exhibition, In the Castle of my Skin. It was empowering to work in a female-centric team and be exposed to the different roles required to run MIMA.

My first tasks were tailored to my LLM in Art Law and focused on copyright clearance. I sorted artworks according to their copyright status in a database, paying special attention to dates and limitation periods. Thereafter, I selected copyright-approved items for merchandise for the museum’s gift shop. Whilst I was not physically at the museum, this task enabled me to familiarise myself with MIMA’s collection, and discover both local talent and up-and-coming artists.

The internship also involved a great deal of research and writing. I enjoyed the creativity this required, and was pleased to see my work on visual artist Toby Paterson published in MIMAZINA (Issue 24, June 2021), the museum’s fabulous magazine destined for its local community. I also completed research reports on prospective artists for funding opportunities, which exposed me to different art mediums. Specifically, I left MIMA with a deepened love for modern and contemporary ceramic art, which was a welcome point of comparison to Richard McClary’s wonderful module on Ceramics Arts of the Islamic World at the University of York.

It was insightful to see MIMA’s rich and varied collection shed light on local talent and foster a regional sense of pride through its social outreach programmes. At MIMA, art is a powerful social tool, raising awareness on topical issues, as well as fostering solidarity within the local community in these uncertain times. Accordingly, I was tasked with researching environmental artists from the north of England in the aim of bringing forward  the collection’s focus on climate change. I also produced a research report on the Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), witnessing how, and why, the cultural sector interacts with governmental initiatives. The practical knowledge I gained, which helped me demystify the logistical side of the art world, was a great benefit when it came to completing my masters degree and writing my dissertation.

I look forward to hearing about MIMA’s future projects, and I hope to one day visit the collection and its team in the flesh!

View all students