Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Creative NZ funding fires up Glassworks internships

Te Whare Tūhua O Te Ao New Zealand Glassworks (NZG) has received $48,000 funding from Creative New Zealand to facilitate its 2024 internship programme.

In a statement, NZG – the national centre for art glass – said it was committed to nurturing the next generation of glass artists and fostering innovation in the field.

The 10-month NZG Internship offers an opportunity for graduates in glass and those aspiring to pursue a career in art glass to enhance their skills in a supportive and well-equipped professional environment.

The NZG Internship is an educational work placement that caters to those looking to gain hands-on experience in glassmaking and glass education, in addition to enhancing their own proficiency in a well-equipped glass facility, NZG said.

“The successful applicant will engage in a diverse range of roles, including that of a glass technician and glass teaching assistant.”

“They will receive comprehensive training in the safe operation and maintenance of glassmaking equipment and will be involved in the daily operations of a busy glass facility.”

Internship period – the NZG Internship will run from February to December 2024.

Eligibility – the opportunity is exclusively available to New Zealand citizens or individuals with New Zealand residency status.

As part of this extensive training, interns can anticipate a wide array of responsibilities, such as assisting professional glass artists, collaborating within a gallery setting, engaging in cold glass working, and managing industrial equipment use, maintenance, and health and safety.

“They will have the privilege of interacting with the general public and are thus encouraged to exhibit enthusiasm and passion for engaging with people,” NZG said.

“Applicants are expected to possess a strong work ethic and be self-motivated. Interns will have the option to participate in classes as teaching assistants or students, depending on their areas of interest and abilities.

“This internship is tailor-made for graduates of the UCOL art/glass program or individuals with similar experience who have developed a certain level of skills and expertise but lack sustained exposure to a professional glass facility.”

NZG’s vision is to become the central hub for art glass practice in New Zealand, celebrated for innovation and excellence in the field. They aim to provide a platform for the community to explore all aspects of art glass, inspire and empower glass artists, and advocate for a sustainable sector.

The internship programme was born out of the need to bridge the gap between recent graduates and working glass artists. Art glass is a unique craft that requires substantial time and experience for emerging artists to establish themselves professionally. By offering an intensive programme that combines practical experience in a hot glass studio, mentoring from seasoned artists, and professional development training, NZG aims to empower interns to build resilient careers as confident and independent glass artists.

The selection panel for interns will comprise professional peers within the art glass sector, including Scott Redding, director of New Zealand Glassworks (NZG), Dr Kathryn Wightman – artist and senior lecturer – Glass and Visual Arts at UCOL / Te Pūkenga, and Philip Stokes – master glass blower / artist. Their combined expertise will ensure a thorough and equitable evaluation of applicants based on the outlined criteria.

Mr Redding expressed his gratitude for the ongoing support of The Backhouse, NZSAG (New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass), and The Blumhardt Foundation.

“It’s third-time lucky for the Glassworks and its internship programme. We were unsuccessful with two other funding applications in the last 12 months, but with the ongoing support of The Backhouse, NZSAG, and The Blumhardt Foundation, we were determined to keep applying and not give up on this important internship programme,” he said.

“With little to no education in glass blowing in the country now, it was imperative for NZ Glassworks to step up and fill the void. We are proud to offer the only long-term programme for any aspiring glass artist in the country.”

Mr Redding said the internship opportunity was a significant step towards fostering talent and innovation in the art glass sector.

Full details including the application process and application form are available through the NZ Glassworks website.

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