On March 9th, Gary and I had our professional meeting at the Kerlin Gallery, with Elly the Registrar and Lee, the archivist. We sat down with them to discuss their work and roles at the Gallery. Going into this, Gary and I had previously discussed rather than having the interviews go as formal interviews with questions, we would rather direct the interview as more informal; by sitting down with Elly and Lee, and have more of a discussion between the four of us. We felt that this way, it would allow us to cover everything and it would also allow for more flow of conversation.
Before this interview, I was not previously familiar with the role of a registrar so I was interested in learning more about it. However, having previously completed a student placement at the National Photographic Archive, I was interested in learning about what kind of role Lee’s job plays at the Gallery.
I was surprised to learn how much of the role of the archivist and registrar overlap. Lee Welch’s role covers doing in house photography of all of their artworks; he covers the documentation side of things. These artworks are then given a stock code and put into an ‘artist folder’. They use a system called Artform which is a databse that compiles all of the data which is input in relation to each file. This allows the Gallery to keep track of all of their artworks, and this is used only by galleries. When it comes to a system which is customer based, they use Artbinder. This is specificially made with the intention of letting customers take a look at the artworks they are interested in. Here, the works are put into categories and when one is selected, all of the relevant information about the piece is shown. The design of this was made with UX in mind.
When it comes to research behind the artworks, this falls more into Elly’s role. She also deals with the care and handling of their artworks. The Gallery has 2 storage spaces, and she works very closely with the technician in these spaces. As the Gallery is only made up of seven people, each of them take on small roles quite often to split the workload between them. While they do have an abundance of works, Elly told us that there is a very good outflow-inflow of works and pieces do not tend to stay with them very long. A lot of the pieces are a one-ff and the artists they house do not normally work with editions, therefore the pieces that they show and sell can be considered quite rare.
Both Elly and Lee emphasized the importance of international relationships. They help their artists build foundations, and a lot of times, this involves showing/selling their work internationally.
We even got the chance to ask Rosa, in charge of the Gallery’s social media, a few questions. She told us that with the role of Instagram, she always strives to get as much engagement as possible. They also aim to keep their Instagram much more informative rather than funny, which she mentioned a lot of institutions will do to try to get more engagement from people.