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Education Curator Teresa on Professional Development

Professional development can help make or break careers – we asked our Education Curator Teresa Cisneros to give her thoughts on the subject and offer some career tips for young professionals

Iniva Education Curator Teresa

Iniva’s Education Curator Teresa Cisneros

What professional development have you experienced and what helped you most in your career?

Back when I was studying for my MA in arts administration as part of the course we were required to undertake paid placements and through that I was able to meet people and build a network of contacts. After the placements I continued to do some volunteering with projects which were relevant to my interests, and from that experience I was headhunted and offered a job on the spot! I would say though, that it was due to my being around the sort of organisations in which I’d like to work, and asking questions.

Another thing that really helped my career – after several job interviews and not getting being successful – was to be persistent.  I emailed the director of a company I had applied to and asked very boldly for feedback as to why I was not given the job, and he actually replied to my email and asked for a meeting.  I then got a job!  So I guess it’s a little about leaving your mark, but also taking up opportunities when they are offered.  If someone is willing to meet you or introduce you to others this is great to develop your career. I don’t like to network much, however, it helps to be open to just meeting people, or asking people to meet me for a conversation.

Overall I would say that what has been key to developing my career were the paid placements and the volunteering I did afterwards, followed by having an assertive character…!

The Inivators

The Inivators, emerging young creatives who worked with Iniva to produce exhibitions and events in 2007-2011

What is your favourite thing about working with students / young professionals?

My favourite thing is when I don’t see them for some time and they drop by Rivington Place and we catch up on their careers or they come by for a coffee to ask for more advice. Whenever I meet students or artists I always say my door is open but very few actually take it up.

For instance, on the first Inivators project I did, I had seven students some of which are still in touch, one is an assistant curator at a major university collection in the USA, one is a graphic designer and another was going to become a personal coach for young people. And of course so many are now in real art jobs…which is most gratifying. I hope perhaps by working with me they learned just one thing that has helped them develop professionally.  I also really enjoy just talking to others and listening to what they think or how they see art, helping them out on their ideas for art projects, or providing them with contacts. In the end I guess my role is part advisor, part creator.


Education Curator Teresa on Professional Development

Untitled by Rusty Fox, from UEL exhibition ‘Its All Lies’

What are you planning this year at Iniva in terms of professional development?

For now – three exhibitions with university groups (University of  East London, Central St Martins and the University of Westminster), and I’m also hoping to work with an emerging artist who I’ve worked with in the past, he just received his first ACE grant so I’m feeling really proud of him.

I am also doing CPD with teachers from the largest primary school in the UK, Newport Primary School, with artist Aya Haidar. Aya is delivering a schools project working with parents, teachers and students. I am doing CPD with A Space (creative learning and support organisation) on how to use Iniva’s resource, the Emotional Learning Cards, and last but not least, I’m hoping to kick off a series of talks with an emerging arts collective… (this is professional development as I am hoping to support their first forays into public research…)!

Gallery Spaces and art institutions are great spaces for learning and skills development. With this in mind through our Learning Programme Iniva are developing a new strand of work focusing on the nurturing of the next generation of emerging artists.

If you are interested in learning how Iniva can work with you or your student, or if you’re an emerging artist who would like to have a conversation, please do get in touch with me at Teresa@iniva.org.