STEP Interns – Where are they now?

V&A East project
August 8, 2022
Pictured here the full STEP cohort including Andrew and Rebekah delivering their group project at the Great Get Together in 2019. 

The STEP programme is a Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park initiative to create employment experience and opportunities in the creative sector for early-career creatives within the four Olympic boroughs of Hackney, Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets. Delivered in partnership with A New Direction, the STEP programme is both a placement and mentorship scheme, with placements at V&A East as well as the BBC, Bow Arts, Worldwide FM to name but a few. V&A East has participated in four iterations of the programme, placing Curatorial Interns within the team, focused on developing the curatorial knowledge of these individuals.

As the current curatorial intern for the project, I have been lucky enough to have a hand in developing research reports on maker and object histories, developing my production skills by working on museum Lates and working as project coordinator for the V&A East Youth Collective. Importantly the role has scope to work on various areas of the project, allowing me to explore my interests to develop my career and curatorial practice.

So, I virtually sat down for a conversation with two of our previous STEP interns, Rebekah Hundeyin and Andrew Adedipe, to discuss the impact of their placements and how they are getting on now in their respective careers. 

What made you want to work as a Curatorial Intern for V&A East?

RH: After completing some work experience at an arts and heritage consultancy during uni, I quickly realised marketing wasn’t for me, but I still wanted to gain some experience in other roles in the sector. I enjoyed visiting museums and galleries during my travels and was fascinated by how exhibitions were put together, so I wanted to explore this more. I knew very little about what curatorial teams did, so this seemed like a great opportunity to gain experience and find out exactly what curators do. The role seemed varied, which was important for me as I was at the very start of my career and didn’t know exactly what it was I wanted to do, so by taking part in the internship I was able to try different things and figure out what I liked and didn’t like. It’s also rare to be able to work at a museum that is still in its early stages, so this was definitely an opportunity I couldn’t pass on.

Has there been something about this process/placement that you have taken with you beyond your experience with V&A East? 

AA: Attention to detail. Having an insight into the vigorous planning process from the team was invaluable. The curation process for the opening exhibitions had started long before I stepped through the door highlighting the amount of planning a project of this scale requires. Another key component was collaboration and helping to open dialogue between the V&A and local practitioners was really important. Understanding their opinions on the development is an example of the collaboration a project like this requires. Establishing a relationship with potential creatives that would use the building to continue their work demonstrated how important communication is in all practices. I try to collaborate with others to present new ideas and utilise skills. 

How did the placement inform you as a creative? 

 AA: My approach to creativity developed during my placement. I linearly thought of creativity as something you either have or don’t. Throughout my time, I began to discover how to consume art and inspiration in a new way, approaching ideas from a multidimensional view. Experiencing art using all human senses opened my mind to the different ways you can communicate stories to evoke emotions in others. I would regularly walk around the V&A during my breaks to experience the different stories, feel the history and source inspiration to apply to my fields of work as a creative.

What about the V&A East project connected and resonated with you?

RH: One of the things that resonated with me the most was conducting focus groups with different communities in east London. We were able to speak to a range of people from different walks of life, which meant I could hear different ideas and opinions. Although I was born and raised in east London, it allowed me to appreciate just how diverse the area is as people were bringing through ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of and that speak to their experience, which would be different from mine. The fact that this research would then be incorporated into the museum’s learning programme made me quite positive about the project as it felt like V&A East was something I could have ownership over along with other east Londoners. 

Has there been something about this process/placement that you have taken with you beyond your experience with V&A East?

RH: One of the main things I took away from my time at V&A East was the importance of community engagement. I think when creating a sister site, it can be very easy to take what has worked in one area and just transplant that to the new area because it’s been working so far. However, from when I started, it was really clear that the team weren’t trying to replicate South Kensington but instead work with the communities and organisations that already exist in east London to figure out what exactly they wanted from a new museum in the area. It’s really important for people’s voices to be heard and to make sure that even with good intentions, we’re not harming communities. This has really stayed with me and definitely has an impact on the types of places I work at, and the way I programme within these roles. 

What role are you in now, and does it have any links to your placement? 

AA: Since my time at the V&A, I’ve been lucky enough to work with Future Foundation London on the East Bank project. The FFL has supported the East Bank partners and the local community through schemes like the Westfield Creative Futures Fund. The opening of East Bank felt so far in the future during my time at the V&A, now the development of the area is taking shape, and the foundations are emerging from the ground. These are exciting times for all involved. I honestly can’t wait to see what the future holds for the development of V&A East, the other East Bank partners, and how the community connects with the new spaces. 

RH: I’m currently a Foundation Executive at D&AD, supporting the design and delivery of learning programmes aimed at creative people at different stages of their careers. D&AD is an educational organisation dedicated to promoting excellence within design and advertising. One week, I could create a programme for women and non-binary people trying to re-enter the industry after career breaks. The next, I’m helping deliver our Shift night school for creatives who haven’t gone to university. Although I technically now work in the design and advertising industry, there are definitely still links to my placement. I didn’t know that learning and public programming was a route I could go down, and so if not for the time spent organising focus groups, supporting learning events and Friday Lates, I don’t think I would be in the role I’m in now. It’s great to know that a lot of my experience at the V&A was transferrable. 

Is there anything you’d like to share with the wider readership of this blog?

RH: I’m co-producing a short film set in 1970s London, inspired by fashion icon Ola Hudson. Entitled ‘Black British Model Incorporated’, the short follows an underground group of Black models run by a fashion extraordinaire.

If people want to support us, or perhaps be involved in the making of this short, you can email us at or follow our Instagram @BlackBritModelInc. If you are interested in becoming the next STEP Intern please apply here. Applications close at 10am, on Tuesday 3 May 2022. 

About the author

V&A East project
August 8, 2022

Jasmine James is a curatorial Intern with the V&A East project. Her internship is focusing on supporting curatorial and outreach work on the V&A East project and developing her curatorial...

More from Jasmine James
0 comments so far, view or add yours

Add a comment

Please read our privacy policy to understand what we do with your data.


Join today and enjoy unlimited free entry to all V&A exhibitions, Members-only previews and more

Find out more


Find inspiration in our incredible range of exclusive gifts, jewellery, books, fashion, prints & posters and much more...

Find out more