Our brilliant Loans Coordinators manage hundreds of art loans, activities and care partner relationships across the country. To give a better sense of what they do, our Head of Loans, Amisha, gives us an inside look at what a typical day entails in London and the South...

A typical day in the life of the Loans Coordinator for London and the South starts at 9:30 am. One or two of my three working days are based in the Paintings in Hospitals office at London Bridge. I work my other day(s) from home or with our care partners at their sites. The day usually begins with checking my emails for new loan enquiries, then logging in to our database, Salesforce, to review the data on my dashboard. I follow up loan renewals in the morning and approach potential new care partners in the afternoon.

As Loans Coordinator for London and the South, I’m responsible for managing relationships with over 80 care partners. Each care partner can have multiple art loans: a typical loan has eight artworks in it. For 2018, I have a target to broker seven new partnerships and 11 new art loans, with a focus on bringing more art to care homes and GP practices.

The area I support includes Greater London, Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol, Somerset and Dorset. I regularly travel within London. Travel outside the city happens about twice a month, usually to meet a potential care partner to discuss their art needs or to host an engagement activity.

Family Engagement Activity at Vassall Medical Centre, London

Spread throughout these day-to-day tasks are meetings with the Head of Collection, Loans & Programming and, on a weekly basis, I meet with the National Loans Coordinator.

On an average day, I receive around 25 emails, which can include loan enquiries and renewals, reports of lost or damaged artworks, changes in the collection or delivery of artworks, or a last-minute meeting cancellation due to an emergency situation at the site. I sometimes make up to 20 phone calls or approaches a day to care partners who may need art for their sites.

There are four other Loans Coordinators outside London who work between one and three days a week. Similarly, they manage current partnerships, while also developing new partnerships with care sites across their regions.

Even though displaying art in health and social care may not sound that difficult, the logistics around making this happen can be complicated. With new loans, firstly, you must navigate gate-keepers and our partner’s complex management structures to show the value of art to their staff, service users and their site. Secondly, the engagement activity to choose artworks for the site (which may involve patients, staff and visitors) could take six to eight weeks to organise. Thirdly, once the artworks have been selected, the Loan Agreement and invoice is emailed to the partner but may take two months to be signed and much longer for the invoice to be paid.

While the Loan Agreement and invoice are in progress, the artworks are prepared by the Collection & Gallery Technician or the Collection Coordinator; the labels are written by the Interpretation Project Coordinator, and the transport is organised by the National Loans Coordinator. Overall, a new loan or partnership may take up to nine months to set up.

Showcase Tour at University College London Hospital

The process of renewing loans starts four months in advance, and sometimes one partner may have up to seven loans to renew at the same time. The challenge can be getting hold of your contact as they may have moved on, work shifts, or have other priorities. Willpower and determination to get a response are needed – as you have to call or email several times. The partner may also want to exchange artworks, or we may need to recall artworks for conservation reasons.

Approximately 70% of the Paintings in Hospitals collection is on public display. We have five major showcase displays across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The showcase display for London and the South is at University College London Hospital and comprises 90 artworks. Our showcase displays feature artworks that are available to be borrowed by care partners. I support the Collection Coordinator to install and maintain the showcase display at UCLH every month.

An artwork selection activity at Lucy Brown House, London

Each month, I can host up to two engagement selection activities which are super rewarding. Engagement selection activities are where I work with the staff, patients and their visitors to select artworks from our collection for their loan. The engagement selection activities bring to life the work we do – here is a blog from Ali (the South Coordinator for South Wales) who describes a recent activity she carried out. The activities can be workshops, online surveys, or activity packs. Working in partnership with the people at the site to select the artworks puts them at the heart of the decision-making process. In addition, I will work with up to four partners to refresh their displays by swapping artworks for different ones.

I also work with partners and their patients to decide where the artworks should go at their so that the artworks make the biggest impact on wellbeing – after all they know the site better than I do so will be able to which corner is the last one patients will see before they go into major surgery, or where in the care home they spend the most time. The artworks are then installed by professional art handlers and supervised by me.

Paintings in Hospitals is divided into two teams: the Loans Team and the Development Team. The Loans Coordinator sits within the Loans Team. Other members of the Loans Team include the: National Loans Coordinator, Collection Coordinator, Collection and Gallery Technician, and the Interpretation Project Coordinator. The team is led by the Head of Collection, Loans & Programming and is supported by over 30 volunteers.

The Paintings in Hospitals office at the Menier Chocolate Factory can be a busy environment as it is where most of the charity’s team is based. Alongside this, there are subtenants in the office and there may be a stream of Menier Gallery exhibitors and deliveries.

The workday can best be described as balancing a wide-ranging and challenging workload with the demands of emails and phone calls and the practical tasks, such as engagement activities. But it is a day that is fun, filled with art and very rewarding!

Learn more about joining our talented team...