Jane Gleeson- BA Visual Culture 2016

We caught up with Jane Gleeson about her time as a Mature Student in NCAD and how that brought her to her career as a Gallery Event Manager

‘Artists tend to use creative solutions to address global challenges, so the industry is ripe for opportunity.’

Name: Jane Gleeson
Current Career: Gallery Event Manager
Graduation Year: 2016
Discipline: Visual Culture
Location: Dublin

What career path did you want to follow as a child? 

My interests as a child were varied. I used to plonk myself in front of cooking shows from an early age, but also gained great enjoyment from art classes, including stained glass and painting. 

Why did you decide to study at National College of Art & Design?

I completed a portfolio preparation course for entry to art college, but because my interest wasn’t in the physical creation of art, I was considering a CAO offer to study Journalism with French. However, I spotted an announcement about a new course at NCAD that seemed even more suitable: as Visual Culture was theoretical rather than practical, it allowed me to pursue my academic interests in the field of contemporary art and design.

How did you develop your career towards your current job / practice?

I was a mature student (23) when I enrolled in the BA in Visual Culture, so I tried to fast-track my way into the workforce by interning for various organisations including the Joinery multidisciplinary arts space, OFFSET creative conference and the Year of Irish Design 2015. 

In our final year we were given full creative license to launch a collaborative project that showcased our key areas of interest. I used this as an opportunity to launch an annual event in Galway City that brought nine creative minds together in a one-day symposium of talks designed to inspire our audience. In the space of four months I secured funding and sponsorship to host the event – it was a risk that paid off.

I now work as an event manager at Science Gallery Dublin. I’m also undertaking a Masters in Gastronomy and Food Studies, which has influenced my latest project, Guzzle, which has received funding from the Arts Council. It consists of gastronomy and visual culture publications, combining my interests of food, photography and design.   

What is the one experience during your time at NCAD that has informed you most in your career / work to date?

The aforementioned Galway-based project: Above the Fold. It equipped me with a wealth of practical skills, from social media management and event promotion to sponsorship and funding proposals. Over the course of three years, Above the Fold grew into a podcast series, a mentoring programme and various types of talks and events.

If you were chatting with current NCAD students today what is the one piece of advice you would offer?

Take advantage of your position as a student. Always reach out for support or advice as people tend to be generous with their time and are often willing to support students as best they can. Some organisations also run student-led initiatives by providing venues free of charge, so it is always worth sending that email and asking the question. 

Given the global turmoil and change accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, what in your opinion are the opportunities for those in creative industries?

It is said that the creative industry is one of the few industries that thrives in times of economic uncertainty. Artists tend to use creative solutions to address global challenges, so the industry is ripe for opportunity. Before the pandemic, cultural spaces throughout Dublin were consistently closing in exchange for hotels and overpriced student living spaces, so I hope that the times we are living in will lead to more affordable rates for artist studios and an easing of restrictions for events. We are already seeing exhibitions and gigs popping up in experimental spaces, so perhaps this is a sign of positive change to come. 

Portfolio Links:
Personal accounts

Twitter: @janegleeson

Instagram: @janegleeson_

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/jane-amy-gleeson

Latest project

Instragram: @guzzle.ie