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Ruth Monks

Hello! My name is Ruth and I am currently just about at my half-way point through an internship with Deco Publique. What a better way to celebrate than to look back on what I’ve been lucky enough to experience so far!

First of all, a bit about me. I’m studying Fine Art at Lancaster Uni, currently creating soft sculptures which play with ideas of the uncanny and human existence. I essentially make giant (creepy) dolls with which I ask audiences to play, hug, carry and take selfies. I think that art should be interactive and accessible! I want people who see my art to feel like they can be involved and have a bit of fun!

When I spotted an email saying that Deco Publique were looking for an intern, I of course applied straight away. I never expected to get the job, but found myself impatiently waiting for a reply because I hadn’t realised how much I wanted it! Before the internship I had been involved with arts events planning acting as President of Up North Arts and had volunteered at various events and exhibitions (Open Eye, Liverpool Biennial, Culture Liverpool, Kendal Calling etc). However, I’d not had an opportunity to experience the planning and delivery of major arts events and arts commissioning and so when I got the job, I was unbelievably excited.

People do not appreciate how much work goes into festivals like Vintage By The Sea and the National Festival of Making, but these events don’t just happen overnight. The team is working so hard all year round to make sure everything is in place and runs smoothly on the day.

During my time in Deco’s busy little office I have been working just a stone’s throw from the blissfully beautiful Morecambe Bay. Whilst I’ve been here, I’ve been fortunate to take responsibility for managing the Twitter accounts for the National Festival of Making and Deco Publique, which has turned out to be really lovely way of communicating with the brilliantly diverse range of people who have worked Deco over the years. I’ve also started developing Deco Publique’s new Youtube channel and have been helping to deliver their Facebook and Instagram content.

In the beginning I thought I would struggle getting to know everything about the hundreds of people who work with Deco, along with the catalogue of events they’ve delivered, but over time it has been a great opportunity to learn about and meet many people from the local creative community. I has been near impossible to stop myself building everything from the ‘Makers’ Market’ and from the accounts we show on the ‘Maker Mondays’ feature on Instagram.

Whilst at first I was concerned it might prove difficult to juggle work commitments with Deco alongside my degree deadlines, it’s turned out to be super refreshing taking a break from my uni work, experiencing the real world of where my degree might take me. And best of all, it has reminded me that I love what I’m doing.

Not only has it been a lovely experience, my internship has fed into my course in so many ways that I couldn’t have expected. Working with social media has taught me how to talk and write about the arts in a concise but interesting way. I’ve also been able to see how arts commissioning works which has hopefully given me loads of experience for the future of my artistic career.  

It’s not just office work either! I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the openings of ‘Horizon Line Chamber’ and ‘SHIP’, two amazing land art sculptures which have really put Morecambe in the spotlight. It’s been amazing to watch the development and delivery of these projects and all the positive attention it’s brought to the area. Talking to the artists and local people about the difference these sculptures are already making is inspiring.

As we move closer to summer, I’m really looking forward to meeting many more people and getting involved in the preparation work for an exciting summer of festivals. I’ll be making sure I’m at every event possible, meeting and hopefully getting to know the wonderfully diverse community of people who help Deco to do what they do.

I knew little about Morecambe before my internship, but now feel incredibly fortunate to have discovered this hidden gem. Some of my new favourite pastimes are right on the doorstep of my workplace; getting lost in the Old Pier Bookshop, seeing art at White Elephant Gallery, or just sitting on the prom with a book and some lunch.

Ask me about Morecambe now and I can go on and on about the real hope I have for the future of of the coastal town and I have no doubt that Deco Publique will be in the centre of it all. I have met so many people that have inspired me to embark on a career helping local communities to enjoy and become involved with art. I’m no longer fearful of the future beyond graduation, instead I’m excited and impatient to start working!

Ruth Monks

(stay in touch with Ruth on Instagram!)