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Natalia Muñoz-Rojas

Natalia is the Enriqueta Harris Frankfort Curatorial Assistant at the Wallace Collection, on a two-year fellowship from the Centro Estudios Europa Hispánica for the study of Spanish art outside Spain.

Her job involves many aspects of curatorial work, from dealing with the technical aspects of putting together exhibitions, to researching the collection and writing catalogue entries, with a particular emphasis on Spanish art.

"I chose Warwick for my History of Art course for two main reasons; the first was, of course, the Venice term, and the second was that Warwick is close enough to London to be able to visit galleries and exhibitions easily, without needing to live in London.

"At Warwick it was probably the module studied with the curators at Waddesdon Manor that gave me the greatest inspiration for seeking a career as a curator. I loved the hands-on experience of working with the collection, thinking about objects other than paintings, and finding out about their materials and workmanship. Many of these things have been applicable to my current post as well.

"I greatly enjoy the contact with the public that my job involves and I had the chance to develop skills in communicating about art when I worked as a Gallery Assistant at the Mead Gallery on campus. We had briefing sessions about the exhibitions and we were invited to openings where we met a wide range of people, and through this I became more confident about speaking to gallery visitors.

"I studied for a MA after graduating and then joined Christie's as an intern, and then worked as maternity cover, gaining experience in dealing with the behind the scenes work on sales, writing catalogue entries, researching provenance, learning how important good conservation is, and discovering that looking at the back of a painting can tell you so much about its history. There you will often find labels from sales, old exhibition stickers, and even the original label from the canvas supplier or framer. I was able to work both on Old Masters and on 19th century, and learnt a great deal.

"My advice for people starting out is to be flexible, there are many careers in museums and galleries that involve aspects other than curation. There are opportunities in museum development, in education and in publicity that give you experience of working with artists and with collections and these can be just as rewarding."