My volunteering for SSHoP kicked off this past July while attending the launch event for the Summer 2019 edition of Studies in Photography at the Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. I was attracted to the lecture by the topic of “collections and collecting” featuring the Scottish photographer, Chick Chalmers, delivered by speaker, Robin Gillanders. I soon discovered that the topic was a feature article in a stunning photography journal with expository essays, and that the speaker was one of the journal editors. As a freshly retired publisher, after expressing my thanks for a wonderful lecture, I offered my volunteer services, which were warmly and positively received by Robin and co-editor, Alex Hamilton. My timing was serendipitous – the journal was embarking on innovative strategies to raise the profile of the journal and its events to members, subscribers and the broader interested public.
Most rewarding for me has been working with other volunteers; these include the dedicated and really inspirational leadership of SSHoP – who themselves are volunteers. A week in the life looks a bit like this: I spend most of a day (usually Wednesdays) at the new premises of SSHoP, Gallery 525 brainstorming with others, or following up on previous plans and meetings. (The premises include work space for volunteers, hot desks and gallery space featuring ongoing installations and special artist shows and lectures.) There is always time for chit chat and laughter. I also spend time visiting librarians, art institutions and museums, obtaining feedback on the journal and seeking to raise its visibility and distribution, both in the US (where I also live) and UK.
I am not a photographer, but my passion for the arts coupled with my passion for publishing quality works of all kinds, as well as the pleasure of working with friendly, innovative people, results in a highly rewarding experience for me at SSHoP – hopefully of some mutual benefit!
– Rita Scheman