Jennifer Zielinska

Jennifer graduated from BA Culture, Criticism and Curation in 2012. She currently works at Victoria & Albert Museum, London, as Friday Late Programme Coordinator and you can follow Jennifer on Twitter.

In your experience, what was the best thing about the course?

I studied Fine Art at foundation level and knew that I wanted to work in the arts industry but didn’t want to be an artist, so for me the diversity of the course was invaluable to help figure out what I did/ didn’t want to do. The subjects covered were really dynamic and in addition to research and writing, the course was structured to incorporate modules that were more practical, like how to pitch project proposals, website design and photography, amongst others. We were encouraged by our tutors to work independently and make decisions about the subject areas we wanted to focus on, and tailor the course to our own personal interests, which was really beneficial in the long-term.

What did you most enjoy about the course?

Despite having grown up in London, I found studying at Central Saint Martins dramatically changed my perception of the city.  The first year involved numerous site visits to National Trust Properties, tours of art collections and gallery spaces I hadn’t realised even existed.  Throughout the course this type of practical research was actively encouraged which I loved. It was a great opportunity to get to grips with London’s cultural scene, learn about different industries within it and ultimately it opened doors for future collaborations.

What would you say your biggest personal achievement was as a BA Culture, Criticism and Curation student? 

Our final degree show was a lot of fun to do. With a group from our course, I co-curated an exhibition, ‘Don’t Take Me Too Lightly’, with a fictional 11 year old wunderkind, Claudia Elfazanni Howat. The exhibition was a constructed classroom through which we investigated the myth of the child genius with a collection of curated school desks and a series of talks and workshops that ran throughout the exhibition. As part of the show, we hung a six year old’s drawing next to the artworks of David Shrigley and Gary Webb, to question the position of the curatorial education framework we were part of.

Can you describe what your current job is? 

I coordinate the Friday Late programme at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The programme is a monthly event on the last Friday of every month. I curate the content that includes artists, architects, designers, musicians, DJs, workshops, talks, films all around a certain theme or subject area. Alongside this, I manage the logistics in delivering the event on the night, everything from building installations to arranging for bins to be collected at the end of the evening.

What do you most enjoy about it? 

I feel really lucky to be able to collaborate with an eclectic and dynamic mix of people each and every month. It’s exciting to be able to come up with projects, often unconventional ones that rethink and reposition the role of the museum and its collection at both a national and international level.

Does your experience as a graduate of the BA Culture, Criticism and Curation course help you in your job, and if so, how

The course provided an insight into various subject areas from pop culture to 18th century architecture that have proved invaluable when planning and researching the themes for Friday Late and thinking about their contemporary cultural context. Studying at Central Saint Martins also provided me with access to a rich and vast network of creative practitioners, from illustrators to fashion designers, who I have since collaborated with and invited to be part of the Friday Late programme.