Volunteering with Canberra Contemporary Art Space: interview with Sharon Gallagher

This post is part of our short series of interviews with people who volunteer in the GLAMR industry (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, Records). The series began with our participation in #blogjune, but there are too many magnificent volunteers, places and stories to restrict them to just one month!

These stories will highlight the abundance of volunteering opportunities across Canberra, and showcase our local volunteer heroes. You can also find out how to volunteer!

Our fourteenth interviewee is artist, Shags (aka Sharon Gallagher), who volunteers with CCAS (Canberra Contemporary Art Space).

Canberra Contemporary Art Space is a space in which contemporary artists can develop daring new work. There are three CCAS gallery spaces in Canberra which host exhibitions by local, national and international artists. CCAS offers opportunities for networking and collaboration, while introducing audiences to exciting new ideas and media.

Shags, CCAS volunteer
Shags, CCAS volunteer

Tell us about you and your CCAS volunteer role…

As part of my mid-life crisis (or is that ‘peak in the all-life crisis’?) I decided to enrol in Printmedia and Drawing at the ANU School of Art. As part of a Professional Practices unit, we had to undertake either a residency in a high-school or do an internship somewhere of our choosing. Not being confident that I could wrangle a grunt of teenagers; and because the CCAS staff laughed at my dumb jokes when I first met them, I figured I may as well be among people who didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously. Fortunately, they took me in.

After my required time was up, I asked if I could stay on as a volunteer. Well, I must have dazzled them with my wit*, because they said yes.

*I can’t back this up.

What are the benefits of volunteering with CCAS? 

The international glory?

Seriously though, there are a number of benefits:

1. As I attempt to transition into an arts career, this real world experience will no doubt be invaluable. I’ve learnt all manner of skills. For example, how to hang lights (and stay on a ladder); that the bubble-side of bubble wrap goes on the outside of artwork; if you sit the gallery, the public expects you to be the local arts expert; what artists do as other jobs; what else an arts organisation does to stay relevant and engaged with the community; how much time and effort goes into organising an exhibition. This list goes on.

2. As a practicing artist, I understand what I can do to make life easier for a gallery; what’s important in an exhibition proposal (good documentation!); I get to practice talking about art; I feel more included in the arts community. This list goes on too. I’ve really learnt a lot just by having my ears in the room.

3. The quiet pride in knowing you’re helping an organisation, that you inherently care about, to succeed.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your volunteer role?

I just really like hanging out with the people who work there; they’re delightful, hardworking, multi-skilled, driven, charming nutters.

A close second is de-installing and packing up exhibitions, prepping the walls and installing the next show.

Was there anything that surprised you when you first started at CCAS?

The volume of work they get through with good humour.

Last year CCAS had 32 exhibitions at the Gormon Arts Centre (GAC) and Manuka. Now that the City space opened earlier this year, CCAS will have 41 shows in it’s 2016 exhibition program (pause to think about that. That’s A LOT!). This of course means: drafting contracts, liaison with artists/galleries/couriers, de-install/install, catalogue essay writing and design, marketing, organising and attending openings, doing their social pages wrap-ups, to name a few things.

On top of this, they also (take a breath here) write funding proposals, do budgeting, report back to their funding bodies, manage the members base, member emails, social media, organise resident recipients, host events and school groups, give advice on proposals, do archiving, keep statistics, attend other organisations’ openings, they’ve just set up corporate partnership … there are only three full time staff!

To help with all of this and more, they have a bookkeeper, an installation guru and two volunteers.

Do you have a favourite exhibition that’s been held at CCAS?

Oh my. There have been so many great exhibitions held in all their spaces. However, my favourite by far was Monster at the GAC in 2013 by the mind-blowing printmaker and pioneer, Erica Seccombe.

How do people express interest to volunteer with CCAS?

Firstly, ask yourself some questions: Do I actually like contemporary art? What am I hoping to learn? Why this particular arts organisation and not another? Am I certain that I can turn up when I say I will? Do I understand it’s not all about wine and cheese cubes at openings? (i.e. I’m ok with scanning old catalogues or filling in statistical spreadsheets).

Once you’ve done that, head over to their website for information about duties, benefits, requirements and who to contact.

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Summer hamper winners

We are pleased to announce that Emily C. won the Summer Health Hamper, and Brendan D. won the Elliptical Cross Trainer! We really appreciate the support we’ve received from wonderful local Canberra businesses for both the movie night and raffle hampers.

Vik, South Iceland by Elizabeth
Vik, South Iceland by Elizabeth

A big thank you to the Elizabeth’s Fund team, especially Beth and Phil. We haven’t got the final figures yet, but the fundraising really helped get Elizabeth to Iceland and to raise additional funds for her ongoing medical costs and living expenses.

As you can see from the stunning Vik photo above, Elizabeth’s Iceland ‘bucket list’ trip is well underway. She is in South Iceland at the moment (find out the background in our previous post).

Thank you to our Summer Fitness hamper sponsors:

Jigsaw Body Mechanics
Jigsaw Body Mechanics

Jigsaw Body Mechanics, Phillip: Jigsaw Body Mechanics is a fitness business focused on your health and wellbeing. Their skilled team can help you reach your fitness goals and increase your mobility/strength in a friendly environment.

Sweet Bones
Sweet Bones

Sweet Bones Organic Bakery and Cafe, Braddon: Sweet Bones makes organic vegan food which is inventive, cruelty free and most of all, delicious. Owners Emily and Russell Brindley have a passion for no frills whole foods. The café has a rustic, rock’n’roll feeling with a friendly local vibe.

At this stage we haven’t planned more prizes or events, but watch this space!

 

Spring into Summer with our healthy raffle prizes!

Do you love cupcakes and being healthy? Then this week’s double-trouble raffle hampers are for you! There are two wellbeing hamper prizes to choose from, or you could even buy tickets in both raffles.

These are the last raffles we are assisting with for the next little while, so make sure you’re in it to win prizes prizes prizes!

These raffles have been organised by Elizabeth’s Fund, with all proceeds helping towards her medical expenses and living costs. Our previous post gives some background about our fundraising and Elizabeth’s current ‘bucket list’ trip to Iceland.

Lots of cupcakes, lots of biceps!
Kynan Dencio from Jigsaw Body Mechanics with Sweet Bones cupcakes

Raffle One: Summer Health Hamper (RRP $300)

Three x one hour personal training sessions with Kynan Dencio, personal trainer at Jigsaw Body Mechanics (Phillip), valued at $270 (or if you prefer, you can use these sessions in group fitness classes at Jigsaw).

Kynan is an attentive and highly qualified personal trainer. He’s definitely fun to train with, as he’s also a mad comic book/Superman fan, makes his own movies and hosts a movie-review radio show.

Gift voucher from Sweet Bones Organic Bakery and Cafe (Braddon), valued at $35 (that’s enough for lots of cupcakes, as modelled by Kynan above, or other delectable meals).

Raffle Two: Elliptical Cross Trainer (value $300)

A donated Cross Trainer, second-hand but in excellent condition.

Ticket details

Raffle tickets are $3 each or 4 for $10. You can choose whether to buy tickets in just the Summer Health Hamper, or the Elliptical Cross Trainer, or both!

Tickets are available from some Elizabeth’s Fund representatives at the National Library.

We will be in the National Library’s foyer at Wednesday lunchtime (16 September, 12:15-1pm), other times to be advised. Otherwise, please email us at canberralibrarytribe [at] gmail [dot] com if you would like paypal details.

Both hampers to be awarded on the afternoon of Wednesday 16 September.

With thanks to our sponsors:

Jigsaw Body Mechanics, Phillip: Jigsaw Body Mechanics is a fitness business focused on your health and wellbeing. Their skilled team can help you reach your fitness goals and increase your mobility/strength in a friendly environment.

Sweet Bones Organic Bakery and Cafe, Braddon: Sweet Bones makes organic vegan food which is inventive, cruelty free and most of all, delicious. Owners Emily and Russell Brindley have a passion for no frills whole foods. The café has a rustic, rock’n’roll feeling with a friendly local vibe.

Stay tuned for future fundraising events, and thank you for your support.

Pamper hamper winner

We are pleased to announce that Nicolette S. was the lucky winner of this week’s Pamper Hamper! We are very grateful to be able to share such excellent prizes, especially from local Canberra businesses.

Lake Mývatn by Elizabeth
Lake Mývatn by Elizabeth

Grateful thanks to all our lovely raffle-ticket buyers and kind business donors – our previous fundraising helped towards Elizabeth’s Iceland ‘bucket list’ trip (find out the background in our previous post). Elizabeth has had a whirlwind few days in North Iceland and will also be spending some time in Reykjavik and Helsinki before she travels back home.

All proceeds from future raffles help towards her ongoing medical expenses and living costs.

Thank you to all our Pamper hamper sponsors:

Anna Comerford, psychic and natural therapies
Anna Comerford, psychic and natural therapies

Anna Comerford: Anna is a registered naturopath and offers a range of healing modalities.

Moosie Soy Candles
Moosie Soy Candles

Moosie Soy Candles: Brooke makes her soy candles and melts by hand here in Canberra. The Moosie Soy Candles facebook page shares a new scent each week.

Real Chai, made for chai lovers
Real Chai, made for chai lovers

Real Chai: Anthea makes delicious premium chai tea blends right here in Canberra. Real Chai sells at many of Canberra’s markets as well as selected outlets across the city.

Tomorrow we’ll let you know about our next double-trouble bumper raffles, a Summer Health Hamper plus a separate raffle for an Elliptical Cross Trainer!

Volunteering with ACT Heritage Library: interview with Michael Hall

This post is part of our short series of interviews with people who volunteer in the GLAMR industry (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, Records). The series began with our participation in #blogjune, but there are too many remarkable volunteers, places and stories to restrict them to just one month!

These stories will highlight the profusion of volunteering opportunities across Canberra, and showcase our local volunteer heroes. You can also find out how to volunteer!

Our thirteenth interviewee is Michael Hall who volunteers for the ACT Heritage Library (we previously interviewed another of their volunteers, too).

Michael Hall, editing the ACT Memorial database
Michael Hall, editing the ACT Memorial database

Tell us about you and your ACT Heritage Library volunteer role…

I started in 2006 working on the ACT Memorial website which commemorates Territorians who have served in wars and on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions from the Boer War to Afghanistan. As a local historian I had already been researching Territorians who had served in World War 1 and had provided names for the ACT Memorial for that conflict in 2006. Since then I have been adding and updating names for the Memorial and researching the stories of the individuals who are commemorated on the website. Over the years I’ve written numerous stories which the ACT Heritage Library has published on its ‘Stories from the ACT Memorial’ website.

What are the benefits of volunteering with ACT Heritage Library? 

Access to the wonderful resources of the ACT Heritage Library; its books, photos, maps, ephemera and collections and the support of the Library in publishing the fruits of my research.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your volunteer role?

Being able to tell the stories of individuals who have served their community and to have them available to the public. In particular, being able to help the families of those people on the Memorial tell their stories.

How did you choose the subject matter or which archives to work on? Do you need to be a specialist in that area?

In 2001 I was helping put together a booklet on the naming ceremony for Canberra (which occurred on 12 March 1913) as part of the Canberra & District Historical Society’s commemoration of the centenary of Federation. Looking at images and film taken on the day I became curious about the people attending the ceremony and the soldiers and light horsemen on parade. The naming ceremony was two and bit years short of the Gallipoli landings and I wanted to know if any of those present served in the war. There is very little material about the local involvement in World War 1 so I began searching. Having a solid knowledge of local history was an advantage.

Do you have a favourite insight from the archives or collections that you work with in your volunteer role?

People seem to think that Canberra has little history. ‘The Road to Peronne’, one of the ‘Stories from the ACT Memorial’ on the ACT Heritage Library website, is about a World War 1 soldier, George Potter, who sacrificed himself to save his mates. He lived across the road from where I grew up. Sometimes history can be very local.

How do people express interest to volunteer with ACT Heritage Library?

Formally, by applying to the Librarian in writing, including a resume and reasons for wanting to work in the Heritage Library. This allows the Librarian to match individual skills to the current set of tasks available.

Pamper hamper raffle tickets for sale

Do you love being pampered? Then this week’s raffle prize is for you – buy a ticket (or 4!) for the chance to win a Pamper hamper (RRP $200). This raffle is being run by Elizabeth’s Fund, with all proceeds helping towards her medical expenses and living costs. Our previous post gives some background about our fundraising.

Kex Hostel (Reykjavik) by Elizabeth
Kex Hostel (Reykjavik) by Elizabeth

We are thankful for your support for our movie night and previous raffles that have fundraised towards Elizabeth’s ‘bucket list’ Iceland trip. She is currently enjoying Iceland, and we are looking forward to seeing her when she returns.

Just some of the lovely Pamper hamper
Just some of the lovely Pamper hamper

Pamper hamper (RRP $200)

One hour session for naturopathic or psychic services by Anna Comerford, a wax melter burner kit from Moosie Soy Candles (wooden burner, tealights and lots of scented ecosoya melts), and two big tins of tea from Real Chai (Real Chai Original and Real Chai Chocolate spiced tea blends).

Raffle tickets are $3 each or 4 for $10.

Tickets are available from some Elizabeth’s Fund representatives at the Library.

We will be in the foyer at Wednesday lunchtime (12:15-1pm), other times to be advised. Otherwise, please email us at canberralibrarytribe [at] gmail [dot] com if you would like paypal details.

The Pamper hamper raffle will be drawn on the afternoon of Thursday 10 September.

With thanks to our sponsors:

Anna Comerford: Anna is a registered naturopath and offers a range of healing modalities. She is based in Canberra and is highly recommended (her generous donation of a one hour voucher is for a session type of your choice – not shown in the photo above!).

Moosie Soy Candles: Brooke makes her soy candles and melts by hand here in Canberra. The Moosie Soy Candles facebook page shares a new scent each week (her generous donation of a melter burner kit is only partially shown in the photo above).

Real Chai: Anthea makes delicious premium chai tea blends right here in Canberra. Real Chai sells at many of Canberra’s markets as well as selected outlets across the city (her generous donation of two tins of chai means you can try both original and the chocolate blend).

Stay tuned for next week’s Summer Health Hamper as well as an Elliptical Cross Trainer!

A flock of Wings of Desire

Thank you to everyone who attended the Wings of Desire screening (held on 25 August), bought raffle tickets, donated jewellery, and shared information about this event!

Ticket sales (for the movie and raffle hampers), boutique sales (donated jewellery) and refreshments raised just over $1000 in profit to go towards Elizabeth’s Iceland trip. Wow! We are as happy as a horse cavorting on pastureland near Haukadalur! (see image below for this phrase to make more sense…)

Horse Iceland photo on Iceland flags
Iceland map remixed from taivasalla’s photo [original horse image credit: Iceland Haukadalur by “taivasalla” Niklas Sjöblom (25 August 2007). Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareALike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).]
Thank you to all our sponsors, especially Madman Entertainment for allowing us to screen Wings of Desire, and to the National Library for providing the theatre space.

Prizes prizes prizes
Family fun hamper

Juliet F. was the delighted winner of the Family Fun hamper! With thanks to our sponsors, Lake Burley Griffin Cruises, Lindsay & Edmunds, Madman Entertainment, and Canberra Classic Corn.

Batman of Impact Comics and booklets from the Conservation Council
Treasures from Impact Comics and Conservation Council

Lorraine L. was the overjoyed to win the Treasure Trove hamper!

The Treasure Trove hamper was created with grateful thanks to Impact Comics for donating a beautiful and brooding Batman statue and gift voucher, and to the Conservation Council, ACT Region for donating Treasures of the ACT region booklets (get it? Canberra treasure! Loot!). We also had an anonymous donation of a cardboard treasure chest and two Scandinavian necklaces (you can see Batman wearing this jewellery in the photo).

With thanks to our sponsors:

Impact Comics is one of Australia’s largest comic book retailers. Their shopfront in Civic is a wonder to behold, but you can also buy through their website and create standing orders for particular series. Their timely weekly imports from America make sure you can get the latest goods – usually arrive on Fridays, less than 48 hours after they go on sale in the U.S.A. They also sponsor local Canberra roller derby so you know they’re awesome!

Conservation Council, ACT Region represents community environmental and sustainability groups in the ACT Region. Their current campaigns address cat containment and environmental protection laws. Publications such as the Treasures of the ACT region booklets are a great way to learn more about Canberra’s natural environment.

We really appreciate all your support. A very special thanks to Beth (organiser), Phil (poster and ticket designer), and jewellery sellers/ushers on the night and raffle ticket sellers. A big thank you to the thoughtful and quietly dedicated team of Elizabeth’s Fund volunteers who helped make this ‘bucket list’ travel possible through events such as this screening.

There will be several more excellent hamper raffles over the next few months, which include a Pamper Hamper, an Elliptical Cross Trainer, and a Summer Health Hamper. More details will be released soon, as these hampers continue to fundraise towards Elizabeth’s living costs and medical expenses.