Second blogpost of the day – pleas and opportunities

And now for part 2:

Some pleas first.

If you’re a current student you’ll have been receiving emails asking for volunteers to be student representatives. Huge thanks to all those who’ve come forward. We are still in need of volunteers from our post-graduate programmes in Museum Cultures, History of Art, History of Architecture, and History of Photography. The student rep role is a vital and rewarding one. You are the person who other students go to with feedback on their programmes, which you then bring to two staff-student exchange meetings per year. A staff-student exchange meeting, which is attended by programme directors and administrators and by yours truly as head of department, is a really meaty and useful affair, during which students set the agenda and lots of issues of real relevance to your studies – from assessment and communication to placements and classrooms are discussed. Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before – there’s training and online resources available from the student union. Being a student rep is your opportunity to get to know other students on your courses, and to have an impact on your studies and how they’re run and organised. If you’re interested, please contact our admin team on

Another excellent way to get involved and meet other students is by helping out with the department’s student society, the History of Art Society. A small group of students is starting to put together a programme of events for this year – watch this blog for more. But they’d like more people to come forward to be part of the society steering committee. Students on all of our programmes, undergraduate and postgraduate, are welcome. If you’re interested, please contact Tammi on

And now for the opportunities!

Installation by Cathy Wilkes, British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

The School of Arts is delighted to announce an exciting opportunity to all current students – this year’s round of applications for two Steward-Research Fellowships at the Venice Biennale 2020, running between 18 May and 29 November 2020. The Biennale alternates between an art and architecture focus; in 2020 it’s architecture’s turn. The successful candidates will be responsible for making their own travel and accommodation arrangements, but will be given a travel grant of £1600 for a period of one month towards these and other expenses. The successful candidates will work four days per week over a one-month period as an invigilator in the British Pavilion, and on the remaining three days they will focus on their own research project. The British Pavilion will be presenting The Garden of Privatised Delights – the exhibition will engage in the current debate around ownership and access to what we perceive as public space. The curators will transform the British Pavilion into a series of immersive spaces, offering a fantastic opportunity for students, researchers and early stage career artists to engage in the process. Students from all programmes across the School of Arts are encouraged to apply. There is a briefing session about the Fellowships led by Laura Broderick and Ros Fraser, the Fellowship’s Programme Managers from the British Council, on Thursday 21 November at 6pm-7.30pm in CLO B01 [Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7JL]. We shall also be joined by one of last year’s Fellows. Our guests will be available to answer any questions you might have about the Fellowships. Applications are due by 2pm on Friday 29 November. Please, send them to For any queries please contact Dorota Ostrowska at The Info Pack is also available on this link.

For the past three years we’ve been sending students to Venice on these fellowships. You can read great blog posts by the two 2018 fellows, Uli Gamper and Danilo Reis.

My brilliant and innovative colleague in the School of Arts, Mari-Paz Balibrea, organises the Arts Employability Programme. You are warmly invited to come along if you want to explore your options for employment after you have completed your degree and are wondering what kind of work you can do with a degree in Arts. I’m hoping some of you were able to go along to the Careers workshop and the Industry and Alumni Panel last week. Upcoming events include: Going Global Workshop, 15 January (very topical – working abroad, working in Europe after/despite/around Brexit, changes to regs around working in the UK for international students); Industry and Alumni panel, 18 February; and Global Talent panel, 20 February. See the posters around the School of Arts building for more. Booking links will be available closer to the date.

You may not know that Birkbeck has a partnership with the renowned Institute of Contemporary Arts. The ICA offers a limited number of Blue Memberships to Birkbeck students. Perks of this membership include free entry to their important programme of exhibitions of contemporary art, discounted tickets to films, talks, concerts and performances, with no booking fees; free monthly Members’ film screenings in their beautiful cinemas; and a 10% discount at the Bookstore and Rochelle Canteen (very yummy). Please sign up here.  More information on the ICA Blue Membership and the list of member benefits can be found here.