Crafting your perfect Knowledge Exchange Placement – Tips for creative technical professionals

Jun 11, 2024

Since our Knowledge Exchange Placement Programme launched in January 2024, 24 technical professionals have successfully applied for a placement, totalling 500 hours across eight disciplines.

Clare Levitt, Workshop Manager, School of Art and Media, University of Brighton sits on the placement programme review panel and is a member of the Technical Council. We spoke to her to learn how creative and arts technicians could benefit from the scheme. In this blog she shares her top tips on crafting the perfect placement. 

When we talk about Knowledge Exchange placements in the higher education sector, most people immediately think of science placements in laboratories.

But there’s a whole host of untapped opportunities for technical professionals in the creative industries. Creative knowledge exchange placements help technical professionals expand skills, network with peers and bring back innovative practices to their home institutions.

For those working in arts, theatre, music production, textiles, and other creative fields within universities, these placements can be particularly enriching.

Whether you want to upskill on industry-standard practices and technologies in photography and filmmaking, explore specialist and historical methods and crafts, or enhance your media and production skills, there’s a wealth of opportunities for all creatives.

Here are some top tips and ideas to get the most out of these experiences, so you can craft the perfect placement opportunity.

Creative Arts Techniques in HE Institutions

    • Photography Studios and Fashion Labs: Discover the latest industry-standard equipment being used in photography studios or fashion and textile labs. Learn and share best practice in other technical resource areas, and see how digital learning suites are integrating new technologies like AI into their workflows.
    • Analogue Techniques: Visit institutions with robust analogue setups to observe and exchange ideas about traditional black-and-white and colour darkroom printing for photography, or 16mm film making.
    • Digital Methods: See how 3D Printing, body scanning, laser cutting, digital printing and other new technologies are influencing the fine art landscape and how this can be supported and integrated at your home institution.
    • Sustainable Solutions: Exchange ideas with colleagues about sustainable approaches to art practice, such as darkroom and alternative processing methods for photography like using using plant-based chemistry to develop and print film, using natural dyes for textile printing, weaving or knitting or reusing materials in metals, polymers and fine art practice.

Art Installation and Conservation in Galleries and Museums

    • Art Installation Techniques: Collaborate with gallery technicians at renowned institutions to learn best practices for hanging and installing artworks. This knowledge can be critical for ensuring professional and efficient exhibition setups.
    • Art Conservation: Gain hands-on experience in the conservation of artworks by working with museums. Learn techniques for cleaning paintings, repairing artefacts, and maintaining the longevity of valuable art pieces.

Enhancing Media and Production Skills in Production Studios or Arts Centres

  • Film, Radio, and Media Production: Spend time at institutions with excellent film-making, radio production, media production facilities and renowned institutions. Learn best practices and get acquainted with new equipment that can elevate your production quality.
  • Practical Experience in Arts Centres: For sound and production technicians, placements in HE institutions with arts centres offer the chance to gain practical experience. Share best practices and work on live shows to refine your technical skills in real-world settings.

Specialise in Historical Methods and Sustainable Practices with Artists and Fashion Institutes

    • Fine Art: Work with artists or institutions specialising in historical methods within the arts, such as wet plate collodion for photography or explore traditional crafts involving metals, stone, wood, textiles, and weaving to broaden your technical repertoire and ensure that heritage crafts can be kept alive.
    • Fashion and Product Design: Participate in material testing labs to understand new developments in sustainable materials. Learn from examples focussing on the latest in sustainable fashion and product design.
    • Sustainable Materials Research: Engage with research departments dedicated to finding alternative and sustainable materials for instrument making, furniture design, and textiles.

Knowledge exchange placements are not just about learning new skills; they are about fostering innovation, collaboration, and sustainability in creative technical fields.

By choosing placements that align with your interests and professional goals, you can bring back invaluable insights and techniques to your home institution, enhancing both your personal career and the educational environment for your students and colleagues.

Embrace the opportunity, develop your artistic practice and make your vital contribution to the creative industries visible.

For more information and to apply for a placement, visit ITSS Knowledge Exchange Placements.

These are open to technicians of all levels and disciplines including arts, architecture, science, maths, engineering, veterinary, life science, medicine, geography.

Find out more about University of Brighton’s Art and Media technicians on Instagram @uobartstechnicians