Blog Archives

Ruairi’s Work Experience Blog

Today we have a guest post from Ruairi, a student who has just completed his work experience with us.

Today has been my first day at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum for my work experience. Although I haven’t actually been involved in any sort of work related tasks, it has been, all in all an interesting day. I have had a guided tour around the museum in and around the site meeting the staff and memorizing the locations in which I will be working in the future. I was shown the various exhibits around the museum as well, for instance the Elements exhibition which had some very interesting exhibits like the temperature panels which, as the name suggests, projects temperatures from certain environments around the world such as the Arctic and tropical rainforests.

Today I have been doing varied work. For instance, in the first half of the day, I was painting a play area for children in the Studio. And in the second half of the day I was photographing historical artefacts for the Herbert website. But it was raining outside so I had to put the camera in my bag and at the end of the day, I forgot to take it out! So I was completely oblivious to the fact that I was holding some very expensive equipment on the way home!         

On Wednesday, I was continuing painting in the studio. Which was nice because I saw the progress that was being made inside it. The paint colour was supposed to be brown but it looked a lot more like a pinky sort of colour.           

On Thursday morning I was helping out in a presentation to a primary school. It was about the book “Why?” by Nikolai Popov. Which is about the pointlessness of war…. Which is an odd topic to be discussing with primary school students but they handled the topic quite well and they looked like they enjoyed themselves.

On Friday morning I was helping out in the archives (or the History Centre). I was mainly tasked with finding documents underground and handing them to the people looking for them. But the most interesting thing was seeing a letter written by Anne Boleyn to the Lord Mayor of Coventry and another letter written by Queen Elizabeth the first to the Lord Mayor of Coventry regarding Mary Queen of Scots which had been amazingly well-kept.  And that afternoon I was doing odd jobs for the Front of House receptionist: putting posters up, taking posters down, restocking shelves, etc. which wasn’t as boring as it sounds, actually.
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Life Afloat….

The exhibition An Inland Voyage: Life on the Coventry and Oxford Canals features the evocative photography of Robert Longden. It opened at the Herbert on the 26th June and Exhibition Officer Dominic Bubb caught up with the curator of the exhibition and great grandson of Robert Longden, Stephen Pochin.

Name: Stephen Pochin

Occupation: Father, artist, photographic re-toucher, curator

Can you tell us a little about the exhibition?

Robert fortunately caught these working scenes just before the waterways were transformed into destinations for leisure. In so doing, he has left us with a precious document, of the people and their uniquely (for this country at least) intertwined domestic and working life.

How did the idea for the exhibition develop and how did you come to work with the Herbert?

I was never that interested in my family history or in the ancestor worship that usually comes with genealogical research. As a child I was always aware of Robert’s archive, but it didn’t occur to me that it would have any wider relevance. Then a couple of years ago I turned 40 and became a father, and last year my mother commenced medical treatment. As I reconsidered my role in life, my family history took on a new lustre, and I began to see Robert’s work in a newly resonant light.

I thought the archive deserved some public exposure. Being an artist and photographer myself helped me to appreciate both Robert’s technical achievements, and the means required to restore and re-present the archive. Read the rest of this entry

Our new Flickr group

In the run-up to Face to Face, our upcoming photography exhibition, the Herbert has launched a new Flickr group. Woo-hoo!

Why’s that good for you? Well, all images uploaded to the group will appear on an in-gallery screen for the duration of the exhibition.

Face to Face features a series of large-scale ape portraits by photographer James Mollison. We’re encouraging participants to use their cameras to explore some of the exhibition’s themes, particularly those surrounding our relationship with, and our treatment of, the natural world. This is also an excellent opportunity to try your hand at animal portraiture!

To join or find out more, visit:

We hope to see you (and your pictures) there soon!


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