As our marketing intern Andrew Meredith comes to the end of his 6 month employment with Lighthouse, we invited him to reflect on his time working here and how it has helped him learn new skills and gain confidence for his next step into the world of arts marketing. Here's what Andrew has to say ...

With a creative career, intentionally avoiding the daily slog of 9-5, I have been pleasantly surprised by my ease and enjoyment of adapting into the regular routine of office life: thriving both within and outside of work. Currently training for my 4th Marathon and working on a series of murals in the South West, my motivation to achieve has only been heightened by successes within my Marketing Internship at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts.

After two and a half years of working part time jobs alongside my arts painting career, I was left with little experience of ‘real life’. Deciding on a break from the struggling artist lifestyle, that inevitably followed a degree in Fine Art, I was intent on finding a position that played to my interpersonal and organisational strengths within my interest of the arts. So, it is no coincidence I have found myself enjoying a role within marketing at the largest multi-space arts centre outside of London.

Preceding Lighthouse my time had not only centred on my own painting practice, but also included a series of community projects and the hosting of art exhibitions and events - from within established galleries to the re-use of empty buildings. From these experiences I realised both my strengths and weaknesses that lie within marketing: the inability to express my own work through words, but the effortless ability to advertise group shows and events. To make a serious career in the arts my marketing needed honing, to refine the transferable skills I own into a productive talent.

Sitting at a computer for the majority of a day was a daunting prospect at first, however I embraced the initial challenge of settling into the office and soon learnt to relish in the structure a professional environment provides. The constant stream of emails was an unfamiliar situation, compared to the usual admin of grinding rocks down to pigment and mixing paints, however I switched my canvas to computer and realised that office life allowed my creativity to shine in a different light. Through copywriting and content editing I have demonstrated creativity alongside organisation, producing a range of printed and digital material to deadlines. Working through the stages from marketing intern to officer duties I felt an accepted and a valued member of the marketing team.

I soon realised I already held many of the skills required to work efficiently and successfully market for an established arts charity. Initially tasked with assisting the marketing of exhibition ‘Quartet’, by internationally renowned artist Ineke Van Dal Wal, I effectively helped promote the show and accompanying talks. From writing the press release to assisting with the social media campaign I was given an insight into the Press, Communication and Digital roles played here at Lighthouse.

As my confidence grew and my productivity quickened I have been introduced to more challenging tasks, becoming ever more involved in key processes. Notably I have had the pleasure to create two season brochures, enjoying the challenge that comes with working almost 200 visiting companies and artists. I also walk away with the experience of creating and actioning marketing plans within budget, adapting copy and images as required for a wide range of material, while briefing and working closely with a designer.

The internship has offered more than just a simple glance into marketing within a professional arts centre, and rather has prepared me with the necessary skills and confidence to take my marketing career further. I now venture into the summer with more than a simple studio set up, returning to my own painting practice fully equipped to professionally market my own creative endeavours.

Published 12 July 2018