Fine Art graduate Abbie Hunt has completed the British Council's Research Stewardship Programme at the 57th Biennale Arte.
Abbie spent one month in Venice as part of the Venice Fellowships Programme, in which she split her time between invigilating and answering queries from the public in the British Pavilion exhibition and expanding her own research on the artist Phyllida Barlow's work.
She reflected: "Entwining my research project with my stewarding duties made my experience so insightful. I focused on observing visitors' reactions and opinions surrounding Phyllida Barlow's Folly. I was already well versed in Barlow's career, therefore the experience contributed to my work as a form of practical research."
The October Fellows, of which Abbie was a part of, were a collection of students and volunteers from universities and organisations from across the UK. They were also the only fellowship month to meet Phyllida Barlow.
On meeting the subject of her research, Abbie explained: "It was a huge moment for me. Just days before we were set to go back to reality, Barlow visited the Biennale with her family and hadn't seen her own work since the opening in May.
"You read so much about an artist, they inspire your practice and you empathise with their work... I thought spending time with her sculptures was gratification enough but seeing her next to them in the flesh was the cherry on top."
Abbie is hoping to return to the gallery for a more technical position, as being hands-on and retaining the essence of practice is her preferred role rather than being the public face of the gallery as a steward.