The Tale of Two Tours

Earlier this year I realised that with only 2 lectures every week I would be spending a lot of my time at home reading by the desk, alone. I also quickly realised that I needed something else to keep me going and motivated, something completely outside of the academic world, which could give me energy and make me feel involved in London life. And thats when I discovered CreateVoice.

CreateVoice is the V&A’s Young People’s Collective. They is have a monthly meeting, tours and workshops, where you can meet artists and designers, get behind-the-scenes talks and meet other young people who are interested in culture and art. I love going to these social evenings, meeting film producers and experience designers, hear them talk about their creative process and their way into the industry. One of the best things about those meetings is the tours that take place afterwards, presented by other members of CreateVoice. And for the last couple of weeks I have been busy trying to learn how to be a really good tour guide.

My first ever tour was for the UCLU Museum Lover’s Society. I curated the whole tour myself and spoke in front of more than 24 people about “The History of Art and Design” at the V&A. I was so excited but also terribly nervous; I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to remember my notes and I worried if they would think the objects I picked were boring, or that I was boring to listen to. I wanted to be so perfect the first time that I forgot to relax and I got both shy and a bit intimidated. And although the tour went well, I didn’t really give the presentation I had wanted to give.

The second tour was a bit easier. The theme was “Photography” and the Photograph’s Gallery happens to be my favourite room at the museum! It wouldnt be a large group of students looking expectantly at me, but a smaller number of other CreateVoice members, some of which would be familiar faces. And this time, I also knew what I did well and what I didn’t do so well the first time around. Instead of being so worried about being able to remember everything I knew about the art works, I told my self to have fun; to tell the stories about the objects which I had found interesting while researching them and why I love them so much. The reaction I got this time around was a lot more smiles and even laughs, as I told these stories. And I think it was because I felt a lot more confident when I told them.

It was an amazing experience and I feel lucky to live in a city that gives me these kind of opporturnities that I wouldn’t have gotten at home. It made me proud to get to be a tour guide at such a big museum as the V&A and I have learnt a lot. It took a lot of hours of preparation and research, first in the galleries, then on my laptop searching information on the digital archives and back again in the museum to rehearse. I found out that problems such as time management, gallery acoustics, the size of the room and access to the object you want to show actually does matter when preparing a tour. With time I hope to become even better at it.

The whole thing has been such an exciting, challenging and absolutely brilliant experience! It forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot about how I work (and how I shouldn’t work).  The next time I do any public speaking I know to relax, smile and be myself with confidence because perfection is not what makes it good. It is the way I let my enthusiasm for the art works show through. *

 

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