It has been a crazy time lately and as a project manager I've certainly been working up the hours thanks to lots of exciting developments and the ever fun residential weekends coming this week! An opportunity to meet with a fantastic bunch of young arts leaders and work with them to learn more about media production skills (thanks to Pilot Theatre), digital portfolio platforms and share wonderful ideas about events for all you lovely readers and contributors to Arts Award Voice to attend.
I was doing my usual check through content and just read this article by Tom. He now works on AAV as a sub-editor, but prior to this he was one of my Gold Arts Award students through the youth network. And this fortunate experience of having him as a student showed him to be someone keen to learn and just get on to do things. Reading a few of his articles today reminded me why I do love the job of managing the youth network and having the chance to support amazing young people.
This month is about inspiration so, thanks to Tom reminding me with his work, I thought I would share a rare personal insight in to who / what has inspired me.
The answer is not so straight forward really. There are a few people and a defining moment in my life.
Firstly there is your typical response for a not so typical situation, my Mum. Growing up mostly as a single parent family my early years reliance has always been on my Mum who single handedly and against the odds had to care for my siblings and I. But her approach in life to get on with things and speak up for what you beleive in has allowed me to get to where I am today. She encouraged me to seek what I wanted from life and not many mothers would trust your 14 year old son to single handedly jump on a train to central london for meetings and workshops (OK she knew that at first I was being met at the other train station). Trust and encouragement goes a long way I feel. Through all of this my mum is a real athlete who has brough back many medals for Britain through track events and in 2011 became only the 38th woman in the world to complete a 100 mile race walk in under 24 hours, I was there and very proud to support her through it.
My upbringing helped me to realise that I wanted to have some control over my own life and not, as so many around me do, have my life path set out for me or dictated in some way.
Next are three artists who individually and collectively inspired me through my mid-teens and continue to inspire me today with their work and ambition. Steve, the technican at my school who taught me most of what I know about techncal theatre and who wasn't afraid to let others run ahead with the newer technologies. He also gave me that greater feeling of professional theatre and enabled me to seek out other opportunities to develop which led me on to the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.
Kate, my Arts Award Adviser for Bronze, Silver & Gold at the Theatre Royal who faced an exceptional but I'm sure challenging Youth Theatre who had been through a few leaders in the preceding couple of years. Now Kate opened the doors for me to both Arts Award and to the wider Arts world - without whom I would certainly never have been doing what I do today - I would probably have been an architect or corporate lawyer that still dabbled in theatre.
And through this wider arts world experience I was introduced to Stuart. A professional theatre director who never ceases to inspire me with his passion for developing people and supporting them to be the best they can. Thanks to him thousands of young people have accessed high quality arts and some of us have had the fortune to meet and work with top named celebrities (take Inensi-T for a great example). He has mentored me for 7 years nearly and is one of the few people in life that would put their trust in a 17 year old to production manage a project with touring show. There it is again, trust is the cornerstone of my being inspired.
So these 3 people may not be millionaire celebrities, but all of them are making amazing art and these are the people who make the best Arts Heroes/Heroines for any Bronze Arts Award. I'm inspired by them and all of them have helped me to inspire thousands more.
Which leads me to a final but salient point. All of the young people, and creative entrepreneurs out there who are making a difference in today's world, making a change that will have an impact lasting forever. People who have that drive to make the most of the opportunities that are present, but who aren't scared to get on with life, whatever it throws at them. We've all been through times good and bad, it's how we deal with them, how we shine through, and how we still fight for what we believe in.
So trust your instinct, trust people around you, and most of all trust in the abilities of young artists and those that inspire you most!