Career pathways: Learning and Outreach Projects Officer

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My name is Tanya Whale, and I’m a learning and outreach projects officer. I am responsible for helping youngsters access the gallery collection, and also members of the public access the gallery collection, so schools and public groups. I do this by managing groups that come to visit and helping the freelance assistants deliver tours. About once a week I deliver a tour or a workshop myself. I’m also responsible for managing the education room, so I have to make sure it’s a safe environment to be working in, that there’s enough materials to be working on, and so I do stock checks and order materials. I’m also responsible for volunteers, work experience students, and I set up a youth forum so young people can start engaging with the artworks and help programme the forthcoming writers exhibition.
Q. What was your career path?
I started off with a degree in textile and surface decoration from Gray School of Art in Aberdeen, and then I went into a completely different career path, but I felt I was missing out on doing art, so I trained to be a teacher, did a PCSE, and then I was a secondary school art teacher for six years. But then I really felt I wanted to go back and get art trained, so then I did an MA at Winchester School of Art in art theory and practice, and I just painted for a year and had a studio, and it was fantastic. After that, I couldn’t get a job initially, so I did supply work and I worked at special schools, so like PRU schools, that kind of thing. I also started doing freelance art work, and I worked as an artist educator in the John Hansard Gallery and this gallery, and also participated in the Enquire project, which is run by engage, so it kind of got me interested in gallery education. I then heard there was a post so I applied for it so I’ve worked here for about a year, twelve months.
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