Lilford Gallery and Framers: Work Experience

Lilford Gallery & Framing is a local art gallery and picture framing firm.

The EP Team caught up with Carola D’Ambrosio, a second year History of Art student, on her last day of work experience at Lilford Framing and Gallery.

Carola’s placement stretched 2-3 days per week for three weeks, and encompassed a variety of tasks within the gallery, which is located in Canterbury.

Carola is thinking about a career as a gallery curator, and as she is unsure what she would like to specialise in, this work experience was the perfect opportunity for her to explore what working in an intimate gallery is like on a day-to-day basis.

Carola’s main task during her placement was to create an art show based on the theme of Fathers’ Day. She went through the gallery’s catalogue of work on their website (see here) and made a selection based on categories she chose.

She said: ‘I wanted to explore fathers’ multiple roles in society: the working man, the family man and male-hobbies. I also explored the subtheme of seascapes, as I felt this fit in well with the idea of a nostalgic family context: a father spending time with his children on the beach, sharing a family moment.’

Carola’s show brought together a range of artists, encompassing a variety of mediums including pen and ink, etchings, lino cuts, ceramics and paint. She reflected that ‘when you set up a show, the work shapes your decisions. The colours and shapes, and how they work together all influence you.’

When asked how she felt about her time at the gallery, she complimented the director’s flexibility with the dates of the placement and added:

“Everyone gets something different out of the work experience, depending on their needs and abilities. Putting on the show was a huge responsibility but also so much fun. It was intense, and I put 100% of myself into it. I kept working from home and made a selection that the director really liked. I learnt a lot.”

Carola was also involved in hanging, tagging and marketing the work via social media, as well as updating the gallery’s website. She had the chance to learn about silver jewellery making with Annie Lilford, daughter of the gallery’s director, who has a workshop located above the gallery, and spent some time in the framing workshop. Carola commented: ‘Framing is an art as well. It is very precise.’

During her time with Lilford Framing and Gallery, Carola visited the artist Sarah Crouch’s studio, and was very excited to be able to choose some of the ceramics to be sold in the gallery. She also spent some time in the Lilford’s Contemporary Modern Art gallery for the Solo show opening. This gave her the opportunity to interact with other students and network with art lovers.

The EP Team are very grateful to Dawn Lilford, Director of the gallery, for offering a placement with such range and responsibility. When asked about Carola, Dawn commented: ‘She’s brilliant. I’ve loved having her here.’


Previous Case Studies:

In 2015, three students were given the opportunity to undertake work experience placements within the gallery, which focused on curating, market research and even setting-up a new gallery in Folkestone!

Daniel Atkinson (School of Architecture) was tasked with reconisdering the layout of the gallery, focusing on both interior design and the display of artwork. As a result of his placement, the gallery rehauled the use of their space in the outside courtyard and created more circulation in the gallery rooms.

“I gained the opportunity to put my educational experiences into practice in the working world. This was the first project I have managed to do focusing on improving space.”

Meanwhile, Stephanie Harris (School of Psychology) was tasked with considering ‘why people purchase artwork’. As a result, Stephanie formulated a market research strategy and surveyed customers in the gallery. Through this, the gallery was able to gain an understanding of individual’s motivations behind potential purchases and a greater appreciation of why customers visited the gallery.

Lastly, Mizuki Matsui (School of Arts) was given the chance to assist with the launch of the new gallery in Folkestone. Utilising her prior experience in curating, Mizuki assisted with the display of the artwork, customer service, social media and general administration.

Beth Gibbs, Gallery Manager, commented that she ‘excelled at every task’ and ultimately, made a positive impact!