The World Is An Open Door: Student Marilù Ciabattoni
Marilù Ciabattoni started her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing at JCU in 2018. Marilù is from Ascoli Piceno, Italy and she expects to graduate in 2021. With the help of the JCU Center for Career Services, Marilù obtained various internships with organizations such as the Dorothy Circus Gallery, the British School at Rome, and Marshall Language Services. After graduation, she would like to move to New York City to pursue a Master’s Degree.
What brought you to JCU?
I think what brought me here was the possibility of studying in an international environment that could provide me with better chances to go abroad in the future. I, therefore, decided to move to Rome, since I knew I wouldn’t have found a similar opportunity in my hometown. I was also determined to study in English rather than in Italian, and now I honestly couldn’t see myself studying anything in my mother tongue.
Can you tell us about your recent internship at the Dorothy Circus Gallery?
Although my studies focus on English Literature, I’ve always been fascinated by modern and contemporary artists. For this reason, I decided to apply for an internship in the art field, advertised by the JCU Center for Career Services. I worked at the Dorothy Circus Gallery, a private art gallery in Rome, that specializes in Hyper-Surrealist art. The gallery represents international artists such as Marion Peck, Afarin Sajedi, and Victor Castillo. The internship, which took place remotely, allowed me to work on three exhibitions during the summer and early fall, respectively in Rome and London.
Why did you choose to study English Literature? And how did you become passionate about art?
I chose to study English Literature because it was more focused on writing, compared to other majors. I thought that this major would provide me with better chances of learning the language like a native speaker. On the other hand, what interests me most about art is not the history per se, but the art that is being produced in the present moment by living artists. Since I was a teenager, I’ve always been a museum-goer. This passion grew even more as I started traveling on my own. Therefore, witnessing first-hand the behind-the-scenes of a museum or gallery is a dream come true.
How do you think COVID-19 and social distancing are affecting the art world?
Although the art world is currently experiencing a halt because of the regulations aimed at preserving everyone’s health, I was happy to notice that private art galleries — such as the one I interned at during the summer — are exempt from closing as they are considered commercial spaces. This helped me realize that the Roman art scene is not completely inactive, but just waiting to make a comeback.
What other internship experiences did you have last year?
In the Fall I applied for a For-Credit Research Assistantship position with the Chair of the English Language and Literature Department, Professor Carlos Dews, and for an intern role at the British School at Rome, both completely remote. During the first assistantship, I had to categorize letters written by American author Carson McCullers (1917 – 1967), of which Professor Dews is the most important scholar on an international level. My internship at BSR gave me the opportunity to meet one of the winners of the Fine Arts scholarship offered during the Fall.
Are you currently involved in any activities offered by the Center for Career Services?
I am currently taking a For-Credit Internship with Marshall Language Services as a Language Travel Assistant, and, alongside completing my 120 hours of work, I will be taking a course designed to reflect on my professional experience in this company. I have to admit that none of these experiences would have been possible without the help and support of the Center for Career Services at JCU and especially the advice of Professor Antonella Salvatore, who is committed to giving students the opportunity to obtain work experience, even in fields that are not directly related to their major. One piece of advice I would give my freshman self is to take advantage of these services right away and not to wait until the second or third year to do so.
What are your plans for after graduation?
My biggest ambition post-graduation is to move abroad and work in fields such as Art, Media, Marketing, Communications, Publishing, and see how I can use my B.A. in those areas before I decide to enroll in a Master’s Degree, which will hopefully be in New York City.