Whitchurch Silk MIll: voluntary student work experience

home_2Weaving or Museums Pathways
Whitchurch Silk Mill, The Edge Project and the Hampshire Museums and Galleries Trust are pleased to offer a number of exciting voluntary student experience opportunities taking place in 2014.

Whitchurch Silk Mill is a 19th century water mill that weaves English silk fabrics using 19th century machinery. The Mill is the oldest working silk mill in Britain, still weaving in its original building. As an historic attraction and centre for production of heritage fabrics, the mill is a hub for the local community and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Whitchurch have two pathways open to students wishing to gain experience in the area.

  • Weaving & Heritage Visitor Attraction pathway
  • Museum Collections Care & Visitor attraction pathway
    On the Weaving placement at the Silk Mill you will:
  • Learn the skills required to operate Victorian machinery. Including winding frames, warping drum, tappet and dobby looms.
  • You will learn the craft of threading up, the art of hand twisting, and weaving techniques.
  • You will have the opportunity to engage with product finishing – to include pricing, presentation and promotion. You will be given the opportunity to design a scarf for production and sale in our popular shop.
  • You will have the opportunity to learn about the operation of a visitor attraction, including meeting and guiding visitors, retail, answering queries and devising activities for families and visitors.

On our Museum’s Collections placement you will

  • Learn about the history of weaving at Whitchurch and of the process of silk manufacture
  • Take part in a guided group visit; evaluating the visitor experience and helping to highlight areas where the learning experience could be developed.
  • Assist in the development of interpretive materials across the mill
  • Learn about the challenges facing industrial heritage conservation
  • You will be given the opportunity to complete a project during the course of your placement – according to your preference for example: setting up an accession register and catalogue, writing a collections policy
  • You will have the opportunity to learn about the operation of a visitor attraction, including meeting and guiding visitors, retail, answering queries and devising activities for families and visitors.

Whitchurch  have a total of 5 placements to offer, across both pathways – the number of each that they offer on either pathway way will be dependent on the preference of the applicants.

These placements are voluntary

Placement Duration: 6 weeks
Hours: 9.30-16.30 Tuesday to Saturday

Saturdays will be spent working on the demonstration looms and interacting with visitors.

Start dates: Whitchurch have a number of fixed start dates for the 5 placements that they have on offer, please indicate on your application form which are most suitable for you.

Person Specification

  • Enthusiasm for textile production, with a particular interest in weaving and/or museum practice
  • Experience and/or knowledge of weaving or fashion and textile history
  • Creative, enthusiastic approach and willingness to learn
  • Flare for design/information interpretation
  • Awareness of museological practice and conservation issues relating to industrial machinery and textiles.

You must be able to meet the travel requirements of this placement. The placement will be based on site at Whitchurch Silk Mill, which is accessible via mainline station and local bus routes.

Application Procedure

Application is through a formal panel interview process.

Please email zoe.viney@whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk to request an application pack or for more information.

Closing date 31st March 2014.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview on Friday 11 April 2014.

Weaving pathway candidates will be asked to provide examples of their work.

Placement start dates
26 May 2014 – 4 July 2014
30 June 2014 – 8 August 2014
4 August 2014 – 12 September 2014
8 September 2014 – 17 October 2014

Image and text – Whitchurch Silk Mill.

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