This blog series gives you a chance to find out a little more about the people behind the desk at Wellcome Collection, the team of artists, academics, musicians, researchers, comedians and more. Among many other things, they invigilate galleries; write and provide tours and “busking” sessions; they work on exhibitions, events and special projects; and they offer information and guidance to our visitors every day. It’s all in a day’s work for our VEAs, so come and meet the team.
Sarah Mason introduces Rock Webb, one of our Visitor Experience Assistant (VEA) team members bringing the galleries and exhibitions to life.
Rock started at Wellcome Collection a year ago and is a passionate archaeologist. His rather gruesome interest in human remains and evolution often inspires his tours and busking sessions. It’s no surprise that when asked what his favourite object is, he chose our Peruvian Chimo mummy.
“I love human remains, whether it’s mummies, skeletons or fossils.” With our new exhibition Alice Anderson; Memory Movement Memory Object, Rock is looking to create a new interactive session called “Mummies and Memories”, exploring how human remains and oral histories intertwine, defining our image of past lives.
Wellcome Collection is home to the curios and artefacts collected by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome. A prolific pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Wellcome was also known for his quirky character. What does Rock admire about Sir Henry and, more importantly, does he have anything in common? “I admire his loyalty and, yes, I think this is something we share. I love working with the best people in the world, both my colleagues and our visitors.”
Since Rock spends a lot of time in Wellcome Collection’s different spaces, I wanted to find out what his favourite was. “The Reading Room. It’s just awesome and inspires me to go off and learn more.” Luckily, as VEAs we are allotted regular research time so learning more is part of our job. What’s Rock’s favourite research time snack? “Anything, as long as there’s a cuppa then I’m fine!”
Working at Wellcome Collection can sometimes be a bit of a whirlwind of action and excitement, so I asked Rock what he does when he’s not here. “When I’m not at Wellcome, I can generally be found taking care of my baby granddaughter, pursuing my interest in photography or volunteering on a local archaeological dig back home in Kent.” As I’m writing this, Rock is using his volunteering leave to educate local school groups about the archaeology beneath one of his local parks.
So after a sneak peek into the wonderful world of Rock, it’s time for me to hand the keyboard over to him to choose who will be the next VEA to share their passion. All he’s saying is that he wants a “Portuguese perspective”…
To finish with one last answer from Rock, I asked him to sum up Wellcome Collection in a single word: “inspirational”.
Thanks Rock, over to you!
Sarah is a Visitor Experience Assistant at Wellcome Collection.