IMAC Award recipient at the University of Birmingham
Bachelor of Arts student and 2019 recipient of the IMAC Award Ruby Kerrison, recently returned from her month-long placement at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Ruby was based with the Research and Collections Unit and had the opportunity to develop her professional skills by working closely with the outstanding museums and collections on campus.
In consultation with collections staff, Ruby’s assignments included researching and writing an introduction to a Käthe Kollwitz’s print in the Barber Museum and developing a presentation and information sheet on a 13th century German arm reliquary also held in the collection. At the Cadbury Research Library, she was introduced to conservation methods and techniques for works on paper and assisted in the manual cleaning of historic maps. For the public engagement program at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, Ruby explored the collection archives to identify visually interesting objects to be used to illustrate postcards promoting the museum and its collections. Ruby also co-wrote an interpretation of a John Walker exhibition to be published in the student journal Research/Curate, and at Winterbourne House and Gardens, a beautiful Edwardian house in the Arts and Crafts style, she researched and wrote a blog post on a 19th century toy in the collection.
On weekends, Ruby had the opportunity to explore the rich cultural environs of Birmingham and managed visits to Oxford and London where she further pursued her interest in museums and galleries. Of her recent IMAC Award placement Ruby reflected:
The IMAC Award was an incredible experience …the broad range of projects within different departments and museums gave me a thorough understanding of how all these aspects come together. One of my favourite aspects of the award was being able to learn from museum professionals in a supportive environment, everyone was so generous with their time. Birmingham is a fascinating city and I felt like I was able to get so much out of it. My time in Birmingham has helped me better understand what careers in museums and collections look like and the array of possibilities within it.
You can read a full account of Ruby’s University of Birmingham IMAC experience on her blog.
The IMAC Award provides a unique international exchange opportunity for students between the University of Melbourne and the University of Birmingham. Recipients of the Award take part in a month-long placement working with the collections and museums of the partner university. The Award enables them to develop professional skills in collections management, enrich their studies and provides the opportunity to consider collections within an international context.
Image: Ruby Kerrison at the Barber Institute of Fine Art, University of Birmingham