Working as Curator

I have rejoined the employed temporarily as I have taken up the post of acting Curator at West Ox Arts Gallery in Bampton, Oxfordshire.  It is only one day a week in theory and I am responsible for hanging and organising exhibitions, producing the publicity and a few other bits and pieces.  It’s actually quite fun and should only be until the summer as I am providing maternity cover for the existing Curator but it has really brought home the issues that maternity benefits throw up for a small business.  The Gallery only employs 2 people and to lose one for up to year but not be able to fill the post makes life really difficult.  Don’t mistake me; I have children and I used the advantages that maternity laws offered but it does seem to me that it might be more sensible to have slightly different rules for large and small companies.  Apparently we are a) not allowed to ask the curator whether or not she wants to come back until she is ready to tell us (within a certain time frame which is I think a year) and b) any decision she makes in the meantime she can revoke so, even if she says today that she does not want to come back, she can change her mind and the job must be available.  Can this really be correct?  Because if it is it seems incredibly patronising – a woman six months after she has had her baby is still not sufficiently in her right mind to make a decision as to whether or not she wishes to go back to work!  Really?!  Ok – just a small rant and now it is over…

…meantime my lovely new Polymetaal etching press is still sitting waiting for me in my studio…