One of the ways the Getty Conservation Institute advances conservation practice is by offering yearlong graduate internships that provide emerging conservation professionals with the opportunity to translate their academic interests and training into professional work in heritage conservation.
Our graduate interns come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds that range from architecture and urban studies to fine arts training in painting and sculpture. Throughout the year, they work intensively on a project that fits their area of study and training, deeply exploring and engaging with the principles and practices of conservation.
During the program’s twelve months, graduate interns are exposed to multiple aspects of conservation practice, with each intern’s supervisor designing a program to allow him or her to have responsibility for a specific component of a project. Interns also learn best practices for managing a project team, in preparation for their roles as future leaders in conservation. Former intern Gail Ostergren says, “a lot of what I’ve learned in working at the Getty, I am carrying back out into work I’m doing with other heritage organizations. I certainly wouldn’t be nearly as productive a member of that community if I didn’t have the professional expertise.”
The internship provides an excellent opportunity for emerging professional to develop a network among peers and senior professionals. Upon arriving at the Getty, “the internship gives you an instant network,” says former graduate intern Ben Marcus. “There is always a really nice camaraderie among the interns. You have a lot of contacts going forward.” Ben’s peer network has led him to many opportunities after the internship, including his current position as the project manager of the GCI-ICCROM International Course on Stone Conservation.
After their year spent at the Conservation Institute, graduate interns go on to contribute in meaningful ways to the field of conservation. Former graduate intern Robert Thomson is currently working at the Presidio Trust in San Francisco to preserve and adaptively reuse this former US military base, now a National Historic Landmark District and National Park site. During his internship, he learned that “preservation efforts can’t be rushed. Deliberate and patient planning is essential to success. Cultivating stakeholder engagement and involvement is also essential” and requires “leadership and highly-developed professional competence. It’s a perspective that helps me on a daily basis.”
Former intern Elsa Bourguignon is a project manager at the French National Laboratory for Historical Buildings and is currently involved in a European research project focusing on developing a new family of inorganic consolidants for historic building materials. “The diversity of projects I was involved in and the fast-paced GCI environment made me learn a lot in a short amount of time. I still use today many of the skills I learned during that time,” Elsa says.
For Claudia Cancino, a Conservation Institute senior project specialist and intern supervisor, interns always contribute enormously to projects. “It’s a win-win situation. For the interns, they get the opportunity to be exposed to high-level work right out of school. For the GCI, we are contributing to the field of conservation by training emerging professionals.”
Applications for the 2015–16 year are now available. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2014. Learn more about the graduate internship program on the Getty Foundation website.