Reflecting on my year as a UQ Art Museum intern

19 Dec 2023
Two people sitting at a desk and smiling
Kinnane Communications Intern Shirin Mirshafiei with UQ Art Museum Advancement Manager Dr Alex Tuite. Photo: Louis Lim.

This article is written by UQ Bachelor of Advanced Humanities (Honours) student Shirin Mirshafiei, who worked as part of the team in 2023 as our Kinnane Communications intern. 

As 2023 draws to an end, I’ve had the chance to reflect on my wonderful internship experience at UQ Art Museum. This year, I’ve been fortunate to join a cohort of seven UQ student interns, each contributing to different departments of the Museum, from curatorial, to education, communications and administration. 

This year, as the Kinnane Communications intern, I worked closely with Dr Alex Tuite, the Advancement and Engagement Manager at UQ Art Museum, on a variety of communications projects, and learned about the current Advancement practices in place.  

Alex has been an incredible mentor who has offered her guidance and expertise in these areas, while giving me the freedom to explore different research topics and build confidence in my skills. From developing news-style articles, to social media content, and monthly e-newsletters, I have had the opportunity to enhance my writing skills across a broad range of communication channels.  

These tasks also extended to interviewing current interns and staff members, to gain insight into their experiences in different specialisations of the Museum and sharing their valuable perspectives through the Museum’s online platforms. 

Internship highlights 

One rewarding experience during my internship involved collaborating with the Engagement team on event-based campaigns like Wear it Purple Day. This annual initiative young rainbow individuals, aiming to create more empowering and inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ youth. 

Researching and writing about this initiative across various online channels provided a unique opportunity to work alongside the engagement and marketing staff from other places within the University. Together, this collaboration offered a nuanced understanding of effective communication approaches within the arts provided practical insights into the specialised area of writing for arts audiences.

Internship outcomes 

Working under the mentorship of the UQ Art Museum team has been an integral part of my personal and professional growth. I have gained so many meaningful experiences that will undoubtedly shape my career pathway in arts communication. The connections I have made along the way have made this experience invaluable, and I am grateful to be part of a dynamic team who is dedicated to making art more accessible to diverse audiences in the UQ community and beyond.

In 2024, I am excited to be joining the visitor engagement team as a Mediator, where I can apply my experience in a visitor-facing environment. I’m also looking forward to all the amazing programs I know the team has planned. 

The Kinnane internships are provided through the support of Paula and Tony Kinnane, whose bequest provides for Art Museum internships for UQ students. We are grateful for their support and for the life-changing opportunities it allows us to provide for students pursuing careers in museums and galleries and the arts.

An audience watching a panel discussion
Visitors attend a panel discussion for Wear it Purple Day, which Shirin worked on as part of her internship.