A lovely testimonial from our 'intern extraordinaire' Chloe Lanier who leaves us this week to start an exciting new job in Le Louvre-Lens.

My story with Young at Art has started a wee bit more than one year ago...

 

Freshly graduated with a Masters Degree in Management of Cultural Events, I wanted to have an experience abroad, in an English speaking country. Officially “to improve my English and my skills”.

Unofficially, to experiment, to challenge myself and to bring a change in my life.

And I have not been disappointed...

 

Thanks to the European Union, I first succeeded to have a grant for a 3 months internship. After weeks and weeks of researches on internet, I found Young at Art and their Director Ali gave me a chance.

I remember the first time I flew to Belfast. I was in the queue waiting for the flight to leave Paris, completely alone amongst Northern Irish people.....speaking to myself : “What I am doing here?! I don’t understand anything that people around me is saying, I can’t properly speak English, I have never been in Belfast, I have no idea about what my new job will be, I know nobody, I am alone. I am crazy”.

I really thought about escaping and running away from this massive queue of Northern Irish families coming back from Disneyland Paris with their bags full of Mickey’s ears, princess Elsa’s dresses and Woody dolls. But I didn’t. I followed my instinct and I stayed....

 

At that time, I didn’t expect that I would have had such a nice experience in Young at Art, and that after my 3 first months of internship, I would have struggled as much as I can to manage to have another grant and stay ten months more.

In Young at Art, I have been a Marketing Assistant, working side by side with the shiny and amazing Roseanne. I have learnt a lot about marketing. And the words “marketing campaign”, “PR”, “print”, “stakeholders”, “plans”, “website”, “social media”, “photographs”, “evaluation”, “targets”, “promotion”... have been part of my daily life. With Roseanne, I have learnt how to play with creativity and how to add “our own touch” to all the marketing projects.

 

My skills have improved a lot...and not only in the marketing field. I have given a 'wee' help to many other Young at Art projects: education, agency, Fighting Words Belfast, administration,... I settled and facilitated many workshops. And I realised that I really enjoy working for and with children. They are so spontaneous and sincere. We learn a lot from them.  I have also been really proud to have been in charge of the promotion of the Relaxed Performances - performances specially designed for children with autism during the Belfast Children’s Festival.

 

And indeed, I can’t speak about my experience in Young at Art without mentioning the Belfast Children’s Festival 2015. It was one of the most enriching experiences in my life so far. We were all excited to present to the public the achievement of more than one year of work. One totally crazy week: meeting artists, technicians, children, families... Learning, sharing, being resourceful...and overall, being amazed. I have laughed watching Narrow (Laika), been moved during Fragile (Onirica Mecanica), been curious seeing Happy Glimmer (Flop), rethought about my vision of friendship during Flying Cow (De Stilte) and cried at Constellations (Aracaladanza) - a couple of tears for the beauty, poesy and magic of this show. 

 

My experience in Young at Art has improved my skills (in terms of marketing and management of cultural, art and drama events but also in terms of understanding what we can do and offer to children in these fields), my English and my self confidence. 

 

But I want you to understand that Young at Art, for me, was not only a professional experience, it was an amazing personal experience. I have met the most loveliest , friendliest and craziest team in the world. Together, we have worked hard, built hopes, brought children’s smiles and creativity, danced, laughed,... My colleagues have become my mentors, my guides, my friends, my confidents, and above of all...my family !

 

So it’s with some tears and wonderful memories that I am leaving Young at Art. After this amazing year, I am coming back to France to be in charge of the exhibitions in the Louvre-Lens museum (an annexe of the Louvre museum open in 2012 in the North of France)... I hope to find there some 'good craic' too ;)

 

Anyway, Young at Art will still be in my mind and in my heart forever. If I could travel in the time, I would like to whisper to the wee scary French girl who was waiting for the plane in Paris airport one year ago, “Stop asking to yourself too many questions. Just go for it. Everything is gonna be more than just alright”.

 

So thank you, thank you Young at Art. 

Thank you to have let me be part of this wonderful family....