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Leon Burman

Heritage Skills Student Placements 2022

By admin 16.04.2022

We are pleased to offer three 6-week Heritage Weaving Placements, 21st June to 29th July 2022.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund Preserving the Fabric project has funded the restoration and major improvements to Whitchurch Silk Mill, a Grade Two* listed Georgian watermill on the banks of the River Test in rural Hampshire.

We are now inviting applications from those studying woven textiles or anyone with experience or interest in working with textiles to apply for a six-week placement.

On our Weaving Placement at the Silk Mill you will:

  • Learn about the care and operation of our Victorian machinery, including our waterwheel, winding frames, creel and warping drum and our tappet and dobby looms.
  • Learn about our weaving capabilities. Depending on where we are in our programme and progress, you will have the opportunity, when required, to assist with specific tasks, for instance, threading up a loom, winding bobbins and pirns, warping and the art of hand twisting.
  • Learn about our brand, explore our archive and develop ideas for the development of Whitchurch Silk.
  • Discover how a working museum and visitor attraction operates, including meeting and guiding visitors, retail, catering, answering queries and devising activities for families and visitors.
  • We are committed to ensuring that you have a great experience but must stress that while you receive training and instruction this is in part a self-led learning experience. It is a workplace placement aimed to give you an overview of working within a heritage weaving attraction.
  • How many placements are on offer? We have a total of 3 placements to offer.

Placement Duration: 6 weeks, Tuesday to Saturday 21st June to 29th July 2022.

Hours: 9.15 am to 5.15 pm 5 days per week to include Saturdays, some time will be spent working on the demonstration looms and interacting with visitors.

What’s in it for me

  • Great work experience to add to your CV and contacts;
  • Learn about winding, warping and weaving on Victorian and early 20th century looms, and the care that we take of our heritage machinery;
  • £400 bursary;
  • Gain a good reference;
  • Apply the theory and practice gained during your studies in a working environment;
  • Time to learn organisational, management and personal skills, and develop an awareness of the Mill Brand and Team culture;
  • Discover more about the silk industry at one of only 4 silk mills in the country;
  • Develop skills of working with silk from yarn to cloth and products in our gift shop;
  • Experience working life in a busy working museum;
  • Gain valuable experience of dealing with visitors, customers and answering enquiries;
  • Produce samples for the Mill’s collection, helping to develop qualities and colourways;
  • Explore the Whitchurch Silk brand, archive and stories and help us spread the word;
  • Make new friends and enjoy working in heritage mill and all its activities;

Here’s what past placements have said

“One of my favourite and most interesting placements I completed at Whitchurch silk mill. I was at the mill for 10 weeks. I had a very hands-on and exciting experience.” Loughborough University Student 2015

“During my work placement, I not only learnt a lot about how the mill operates now but also how it has changed over time. I learnt some of the skills involved and had the opportunity to operate some of the machinery, including the power looms. This led to me gaining a job at the silk mill.” Winchester School of Art Student 2014

How to apply

Send your CV and a covering letter, which should include details about your interests, objectives and studies to Olivia Goldsmith weavers@whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk by 13th May 2022. Please do not send a design portfolio, but please do share links to your professional social media profiles if you would like to.

Interview date

Wednesday 25th May 2022, we hope to hold these in person.

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