Internship Check-In Part 1: Education and Development Assistants
The Textile Museum of Canada is dedicated to mentoring emerging arts and culture professionals. This week, we caught up with two of our colleagues, Karina Roman and Jordan Fee.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Karina: I’m an emerging writer, curator and researcher, also a former early education teacher back home (in Lima-Peru).
Jordan: I grew up in a small town called Almonte, which was once significant for the textiles that were produced there. Nowadays I think Almonte’s main export is Hallmark Movies. Since moving to Toronto, I’ve developed a passion for contemporary ecological art and for topics surrounding the social and cultural histories of food and wine. You can often find me in one of the city’s newly-minted wine shops, supporting small businesses and learning something new at the same time.
What is your job title?
Karina: Education Assistant.
Jordan: Development Assistant.
Describe your role in a few sentences!
Karina: I am involved with programming workshops and educational activities that the Museum offers. This includes doing research and community outreach, making craft kits, leading tours and workshops. Ah, and touching textiles!
Jordan: My job is to assist the Executive Director & CEO in developing strategies to fundraise for the Museum. This means that my day-to-day responsibilities vary quite a bit, from writing grant applications to contacting individuals and corporations about potential partnerships with the Museum.
What has been your favourite or most rewarding project?
Karina: The first workshop I led, which was for a group of participants from the Newcomer Women Services in Toronto. It was an introduction to cross-stitching and the group was just amazing. Even though we had the limitations of an online platform, it turned out to be a friendly gathering place. We sang Happy Birthday to one of the teachers that joined us, and after some stitching our session turned into a chatty Show and Tell of the many skills these women had. Some were beginners in cross-stitch but pros in other textile techniques that reflected the heritages of their own cultural backgrounds. It was so much fun.
Jordan: I’ve only been with the museum for a short period of time, but I felt very lucky to have contributed to this year’s Annual Appeal, which was sent during in December. Working on this project made me feel like a part of the team and provided me with great insight into the diversity of our donor pool.
What skill or professional competency have you had a chance to work on the most?
Karina: Adaptability. Not in a conforming way, but rather learning to adapt creatively to the quick changes and demands the COVID-19 crisis has brought. The Museum has been impacted by the crisis, but it is wonderful to work with a team that is responsive and that manages these issues with care. I have been learning from them.
Jordan: Budgeting is not necessarily a skill that I possess when it comes to my own personal expenditures. However, I’ve been privileged with developing and reviewing budgets for a wide variety of events and projects, which has given me a lot of insight into the financial and administrative branches of museum work.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Karina: This year I graduated from the Visual and Critical Studies at OCAD U, so I hope to continue my practice in research and art writing. Doing my Master’s is my plan for that. But I definitely can see myself involved with projects related to community building and care, within or outside of the arts field. In an ideal scenario, I would be collaborating with non-humans, learning to read coca leaves and adding some more textile skills.
Jordan: Currently, I see two prospective paths for my career; the first is staying on the development train, perhaps obtaining an Arts Management degree, and becoming a Development Coordinator/Manager in a medium-to-large-sized institution. Alternatively, I could see myself delving into the world of museum publications, ideally in a similar institutional setting. Last year, I was lucky to work under the Manager of Publications for the Art Gallery of Ontario, Jim Shedden, who inspired me to seek more work in that field in museums.
What do you do in your spare time?
Karina: I read and highlight tons of words while I’m at it. I must confess, I’m a very slow reader! I don’t have an intellectual mind that absorbs plenty of texts a month, but I do enjoy spending time with my book companions. Otherwise, I talk to my plants, play with my lap loom, and burn some goodies during my baking attempts.
Jordan: I worked for a number of years at Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market, so one of my favourite things to do is cook. I’m also an avid lover of wine, so I often spend time either reading about the history of wine production, the economics behind its distribution, or simply drinking it. I recently started a monthly newsletter that tries to introduce people to new wines at small, local wine shops. Aside from that, I enjoy reading historical non-fiction and hanging out with my two kittens, Bisou and Poppy.
Edited for length and grammar.