My name is Daniella, I am Greek and have lived in the U.K. for almost 9 years. During my time in the U.K. I completed an undergraduate degree in Film and a Mres in Philosophy & Theory of Art. I finished my masters at Central Saint Martins at the end of 2019. It was that time that I started looking for work in areas that I was interested in – film, arts, cultural institutions. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after that the pandemic began and closed off the little opportunities that existed in the fields I was interested in.

During my masters, I worked at a cinema and part-time at a photographic darkroom. During my time at the darkroom I realised the small world of analogic practises lacked representation, especially with women within the field. The idea of opening a darkroom focusing on providing training and space for unemployed women and others who wanted to learn was born.

During the two years of the pandemic I was revaluating what I wanted to do professionally and what steps I could take to achieve them. A friend recommended an Erasmus Plus program in digital marketing which I ended up doing and living in Sevilla for three months. At the same time I had already researched the EYE program and was applying for it as it would give me more targeted experience to be able to apply in the darkroom I wish to open. I decided I wanted to do the EYE program in Spain to further develop my language skills and get to know the country. I was very lucky to be recommended by my boss at the time to a local film festival in Sevilla. I thought that would be a great way to do the exchange within a cultural business as I would be able to better understand the particular difficulties faced. I ended up returning to the city and currently working with Centro de Divulgación Cultural del Estrecho Al Tarab, focusing on marketing strategies and sales, for four months (October 2021 – February 2022).

The host was very welcoming upon my arrival, helped me feel welcomed and part of the team. It was clear to me that she wanted me to get the most out of the exchange and build the skills that will assist me. The offices are in the cultural building of the university of Sevilla, making it a great environment to encounter other professionals within the arts.

My first two weeks have been focusing on getting to know ALT-TARAB which is the organisation behind the festival, its operations, the festival and the particular project I am working on called Cinenomada. Cinenomada is an archive of over 950 titles of African films that are available to be booked via us for screenings all over Spain. It has been a great opportunity to be able to view some of the films and expose myself to the films of a whole continent I didn’t know much about. At the same time, it’s been great to be able to understand how a small film festival with limited funds is able to hold itself together and run for so long.

It has only been two weeks and I feel like I am learning so much in terms of acquisitions, tracking of sales and building relationships with other organisations. At the same time I feel like I’m getting more motivated, positive and confident in my capabilities and what I want to achieve.  I believe by the end of the exchange the experience will be truly invaluable. It is really hard to find ways to acquire such a great experience, especially within a field like arts and culture. The EYE however seems to be an incredible opportunity to provide such experience.

During my time here I am able to visit other cities in Andalucia. Granada has been a wonder to visit. As a poetry lover I visited the Federico Garcia Lorca centre and this particular line from his writing really touched me. Lorca is one of the biggest poets of Spain and he often wrote about the places he knew, Granada, Cordoba etc. No better way to describe Spain than with his words.

“Ayer tarde descubrí un sitio para que tú lo pintases. Íbamos en auto. Un encinar verde y gris en unas lomas suavísimas ladrillo, melocotón y agua turbia.” 

“Yesterday afternoon I came across a place for you to paint. We were in the car. It was a green and grey oak grove on some gentle hills, brick, peach and murky water.”