Over the past 2 months I've been involved directly with overseeing a celebration event, putting Forum Theatre out on tour, supporting a concept concert event happening next week, planning/delivering 4 different training days and creating the Gold Expo event which is now open for interest! Alongside these I've been managing the start and delivery of web projects, business planning and just living through. Its just what I do.
Why say this? Simple really, a freelance career as a projects manager can some times be busy. I'm lucky to focus on digital and live projects becuae they have a clear output - a functional and great looking website or exciting and engaging event.
I've been managing these for years and I thought this blog should say why, and offer a little hand in how you can get through your gold arts award, especially in the face of looming exam pressures.
More broadly on Voice we have been exploring literature, Arts Award's birthday and LGBT history month. All of these are important to our growth as a cultural sector. Exploring arts which isn't always performed, but indeed can be enjoyed by the hearth at home. Celebrating the achievement of hundreds of thousands of young people, the people that support them and the diversity of activity undertaken. And exploring the contributions made by all sectors of society, especially those who at some time were not as 'accepted' as they should be, even now we are learning what every member of society brings and I don't think we live in a 'perfect world of acceptance'. Unfortunately LGBT (and the acronym can go on to cover every aspect of identity or sexual preference) folk are still fighting for equal rights, battling stereotypes and getting their voices heard.
What we do in the arts, providing a platform for showcasing, celebrating and developing individuals and their talents is second to no other industry. There's just something about the creative industries that is typically more accepting, experimental and learning. This last point is key to your development as an artist or an arts leader. Learning from your own or others' mistakes. Learning from missed opportunities. Learning from successful adventures. And learning from the response of those around you.
This is why I run creative projects- websites, training or live events. That ability to learn, to explore society, and to provide a platform. I could be working with a young carer, a privately educated individual with a supportive family, or a well respected senior officer/manager/politician. Every one of these people could have any kind of background, have any kind of aspirations or any kind of needs. What's important is treating them as equals, engaging them in your work and working together to make a successful project.
Don't feel ashamed to ask for help in completing your Gold Arts Award. Working with a team of people, be it friends or councillors, to create your leadership project is important. We can have a greater impact, and learn more, by working as a larger collective.
Projects aren't always traditional. Sometimes they take thought, blue sky thinking and creativity - coming out of the box. One great example is something I marvelled at when I saw it pop up in my social channels, the video below (courtesy of Bored Panda).
You can make something special from just a seed of an idea. And you never know, it might get shared and seen thousands of times! Your project doesn't have to be something that takes 10 hours a week to do. It could be a case of 1 or 2 hours two or three times a week to get it sorted, planned and done. Not everyone will reply instantly, so planning to follow up a few days afterwards is always best. Also plan to contact people with weeks spare in your timetable.
The same applies to your Unit 1 work, don't expect to grow as an artist or get responses back for your research really quickly.
Planning out bits of time like this also ensures that you can slot it around your coursework, revision or other work so you don't need to think "Do I do my Gold Award or my exam revision". Both are important, and everyone's circumstances vary as to what the balance might be which is struck.
LEARN FROM THE PAST. If you've contacted someone several times and they're not replying then maybe you can take the hint and move on. If someone recommends you contact X,Y or Z person because they've been supportive or useful in the past, then don't ignore this excellent connection and build on the history this person has for being helpful. Same applies to projects you might have seen or been a part of in the past. What went well, what could you do that improves it? What could make your project or work stand out from what's been done in the past?
If it wasn't clear, the reason I lead a hectic lifestyle as a creative projects manager is because of the diverse work and humanity the sector displays. And my key message to you is to plan your workload & learn from the past. Make the most of opportunities, don't just dismiss them. Don't let exam worries get in the way, and try not to get in to that position in the first place by enlisting support and working collaboratively in a team.
Join me at the Gold Expo on 30 June 2016 at Rich Mix in London, 4-6pm. Find out more at: http://www.artsawardvoice.com/gold-expo
Image from Flickr