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While she has a background in contemporary art, the idea of working with a collection that is like a ''time capsule'' really appealed, she says.
''Today we live in this information age, yet here we have this amazing data set.''
After studying for her masters in art curatorship in Melbourne and working at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, she came to Dunedin for a Dunedin Public Art Gallery internship.
Working at the Hocken is a different experience again. In such a small team her day-to-day tasks are quite varied.
''In a single day I might respond to multiple research inquiries from the public, liaise with a designer on the publication for our next exhibition, write a didactic wall text, assist our registrar with moving artwork crates, undertake research on artists for future exhibitions, and give a tour of our current exhibition or the pictures stack.''
The works in the stacks are diverse, ranging from works by contemporary photographer Anne Shelton and artist Kushana Bush to landscapes of the gold rush by surveyor John Turnbull Thomson.
''There is a sense of freedom working in the collection as you get to work with living artists, as well, and it's exciting to have conversations with them.''
The ''amazing'' collection is also helping her learn more about Dunedin and its history.
''Art helps make sense of the world we live in.''
Bell is still finding her feet and working out the scope of her new role.
''It's interesting to be working in library conditions, as well. The art works are reference materials, as well.''
She is also enjoying being part of the process to acquire new work or donations.
''We think about how to grow the collection, if we have any gaps to fill. It's an amazing privilege.''