Staff profile: Vania Gonzalvez, Participation Co-ordinator

Find out more about what it’s like to work at Southbank Centre through reading these case studies about our current members of staff. 

When and how did you come to work at Southbank Centre?

I started in December in 2015. I was working during the summer in California in a museum doing an internship, and they asked me what I would like to do when I get to London. I said there is a really cool place called Southbank Centre, and I would really like to work there. I was lucky enough to get a job as a Visitor Experience Host when I arrived here. I’m from Bolivia, so the accent was difficult when I first came here. I’ve now moved into a role that I really wanted, in the Participation team. 

What’s your typical day here?

There is not really a typical day as we are working on different festivals all the time. 

It’s a balance between the administrative jobs and running the actual events. I have to do a lot of admin to prepare things – there’s a lot of emails. But there’s also the fun part that really allows me to be creative. For example, for Strive festival I was able to really get involved in the creative side, creating the posters etc.

What do you enjoy most about working at Southbank Centre?

I love what they do and their idea of of making festivals for everyone. I really wanted to work for a cause, so I’m very happy to be working for an organisation that has one. And I’m very pleased that I’m working with great people who think like me. Everyone I’ve worked with so far has been great. Every day when I wake up I feel so pleased about going to work at this place.

How has your role developed over time?

It was a very short amount of time between working as a Visitor Experience Host and getting my current role in Participation. It was a great opportunity for me, and shows that the organisation is investing in their people. I know how hard it is to get a job in the arts, and I was very lucky that it didn’t take long to get where I want to be. 

What advice you would give to someone who is thinking about working here, or in the arts in general?

To persevere, to be proactive and to work really hard. You can’t just expect things to come to you. I did lots of projects by myself before I got this job. And I have done internships, and have studied. It is hard to get the official roles, but I worked a lot beforehand with immigrants on projects that I set up myself. You need to show that you’re different from the rest, that you’re motivated. It’s easy just to wait for things to come but you have to make it happen.


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