Alumni stories


We are very proud of all the young people who have taken part in the Young Curators programme, and we love hearing about how they have continued to use and develop their skills and confidence.


Monica Mendoza Rifo graduated from Anglia Ruskin 2018 – BA Fine Art

‘For me the Young Curators program was an amazing experience, it helped me with my interpersonal skills and learning to work as a team to display work in the gallery for exhibitions.

‘I felt my biggest achievement on this program was displaying art pieces, group work and communication skills. The Young Curators program has been a key part of my future development in my arts practice as I have gained experience from displaying work and used this skill during my Fine Art degree in Anglia Ruskin University.’  – Monica

Many alumni have continued to study the arts and some, such as Robyn Bailey, have now graduated. Robyn completed her studies at Norwich University of the Arts in 2019, BA Fine Art, 2018, and then in 2019 completed an MA in Curation. Robyn is now a member of the board of directors of Creative Ways Harlow CIC, and will undertake training to support the Young Curators programme.

Robyn, Graduated BA Fine Art, Norwich, 2018

‘The Young Curators Programme showed me the significance of collaboration, community, and what it is to curate and network within such a notable gallery. Through the programme I was able to meet new people, form new friendships, and collaborate with like-minded individuals that also wanted to create exhibitions or gain insight into a possible career path. These connections have stayed strong to this day.

‘What I found to be most valuable about the program was that it took curation back to the basics of forming an exhibition and back to the act of making something happen and how. Most courses are solely based on theory, but we were lucky enough to be able to act on ideas and visions. We could feel rewarded in knowing that a certain characteristic of a show existed because you were able to turn an idea into reality.

‘Because of this programme my BA and MA applications were able to stand out and gave me the chance to demonstrate a distinct interest in art and curation outside of a university setting. Taking part in an external program conveyed a much sincerer interest in my fields of interest. To me, this program will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I became so much more confident in myself. I am so grateful to both Amanda and Hannah for the enthusiasm and support throughout my time as a young curator.’

Bristy, another graduate, has since worked at the Gibberd Gallery and shown her work locally.

Bristy, graduate in the arts

‘The Young Curators project offers a great deal of first-hand experience in the intricacies of both the creative and logistical side of putting together an exhibition. Over the course of eight months, we have been given talks on marketing, advertising, public speaking and more which was extremely beneficial- not just for the final exhibition but also in later projects and applications. Along with nine other curators, this project taught me how to work within a team and boost my confidence. Being part of the young curators project has been a very rewarding project that has continued to help me on my University application and various job interviews still to this day and I am very thankful for being able to be involved in its pilot programme.’ – Bristy

Courtney King returned to Young Curators as an alumna to help the group make a video promoting the project. She is currently working towards an arts degree.

Courtney King, Studying Fine Art at Loughborough University

‘The young curators produced an encouraging environment for me, building my confidence in my self within this field of practice. This development in confidence helped with my interview for university- I am currently in my 3rd year of university studying Fine Art at Loughborough university- and in the process of applying for Masters courses in curating in London. The young curators helped  me rise to a challenge and learn new skills that will help on my future career path.’ –  Courtney King

Egle Packauskaite studied architecture and has now graduated. She made time during her studies to visit the Young Curators and talk to them about the university experience and how the programme helped her make choices about her career.

Egle Packauskaite (left) graduated from Greenwich University 2018 – BA Architecture

‘Young curators has been incredibly helpful in developing my confidence, especially in setting up exhibitions independently. it’s been fun and certainly influential experience, which benefited me in my degree as well, particularly in planning end of year shows. young curators has also given me a chance to meet possible collaborators in my future projects’ – Egle

Molly is another graduate whom it was fantastic to hear from.

Molly graduated BA Illustration at Middlesex University in 2017

‘The Young Curators program was fantastically helpful to me, partly as a great introduction to curatorship and exhibition organisation (which was very useful during my degree show and subsequent exhibitions) and partly as a way to make some long lasting friendships at what was quite a transitional time of life.

‘The program was a great addition to my university application and was a real talking point at my interview- not many people have the opportunity to be involved in such excellent projects. I graduated from BA Illustration at Middlesex University in 2017 and I remain extremely grateful to the Young Curators program for the role it played in helping me to achieve that goal.’ – Molly

Freya recruited artists from Harlow to take part in an exhibition during her final year of university. She has also worked with the Gibberd gallery since graduating.

Freya graduated BA Fine Art, University of East London, 2015

‘The young curators programme was a great experience for me, I was on the first programme run and at the beginning of my degree in Fine Art at the University of East London. The programme really prepared me when it came to my degree show in 2015, as it had already taught me the processes from putting on our schools exhibition in a proper gallery space- this gave me so much experience and knowledge.

‘Since then have undertaken some internships in London galleries and was invited back to the Gibberd gallery in 2016 to be given a paid freelance curator job organising an exhibition about local businesses. I currently run many activities for children and adults with learning disabilities where I get to use my creative and management skills learnt from the young curators programme. I also run my own art and craft club for adults with learning disabilities.

‘Overall the young curators was a great experience and I made some great like- minded friends from the experience too.’

Jemma Skellett has recently returned to support the project by helping us interview the new cohort.

‘My time in the Young Curators programme helped shape who I am as a creative. Before my time here I really struggled to talk about my artwork and this shied me away from ever speaking of it. Since going on this journey I have gained confidence in myself and the ability to talk about my work. I have had the pleasure to work with a range of people, this is an excellent opportunity as I think this is an essential skill to be able to communicate with other people regardless what path you take. My favourite part of the programme was when I got to do all the practical sides such as learning how to handle and hang artworks. This has become very useful with future exhibitions as I have learnt to be realistic with what I can achieve with the ability to challenge and innovate how work can be curated. I would encourage other young people to leap at this opportunity as it a brilliant programme that gives people a chance to develop skills and confidence that they can take on forward with their practice.’-Jemma

Did you take part in Young Curators? Are you studying or working in the arts? Or perhaps you are using your transferable skills in a different way? Drop us a line at