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Staff Spotlight: Gemma Kirby

Meet our new Education and Community Practitioner in our latest Staff Spotlight.

Your role at the Corn Exchange? I am one half of the Education and Community Practitioner role situated in the Learning Centre, sharing the role with Jess.

What is your work background? I am an artist and have worked in a variety of roles including undertaking freelance workshops for the Corn Exchange. I have delivered community arts workshops for years and supported children at Hungerford Nursery & Family Hub and Chilton Foliat Primary School with creativity and art projects. In addition, I have assisted in delivering courses for parents who need support with their self-esteem and confidence (BOOST) and parenting (The Incredible Years). My background is Public Art and Design and I have completed murals for public places, including for the Corn Exchange panto many many moons ago!

Where did you work before the Corn Exchange? Before this I worked as an after-school club Play Leader at Chilton Foliat School, where I continue to run the after-school Art Club twice a week. I have also worked for Hungerford Nursery & Family Hub, West Berkshire Council’s Intensive Team/Connexions for about 10 years as a careers adviser and supporting vulnerable young people aged between 13 and 19 to keep engaged in Education, Employment and Training.

What does a typical day at work look like?
My hours are 9.30am – 2.30pm, Monday to Thursday, mostly in the office or delivering workshops.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I have only been in the post for about a week but I am already enjoying it! I like the creativity, working with people of all ages, something different every day, being able to create new workshops… and everyone at the Corn Exchange has been very welcoming. Coming from a stint of being freelance and working a lot from home it has been lovely just to be among people again.

What inspires you to do your job?
Inspiring confidence in other people’s creativity, using art for mental and physical wellbeing, working with people, making people feel welcome, hopefully to fulfil my ideas of lots of community-based workshops… my mind is a carnival!

What advice would you give someone who wants to work in theatre/the arts?

I have always worked in either the arts or social care and have always been poor… but happy.