How Arts Award helped to start our creative careers

23-27 May is Love Arts Award week, and we will be talking to those whose careers have blossomed as a result of completing their Arts Award

How Arts Award helped to start our creative careers

This week, people all over the country will be coming together to share their #LoveArtsAward stories on social media and websites. At Voice, we really love Arts Award as a vehicle for increased arts and culture participation. The qualification is an excellent entry-ramp for those who are just starting their arts journey, but at Silver and especially Gold, it is invaluable as a foundation for those who are looking to begin their creative careers. 

This week we will be sharing our love for Arts Award by looking at how it can help your career, and how it helped us with ours! We’ll also be pulling great resources from our archives to help you on your Arts Award journey and beyond. We’ll be highlighting how-to guides and Where are they now…? interviews with former team members so you can see the diversity of opportunity Arts Award can open up for you.  

Want to join in? You can share your stories on social media using the #LoveArtsAward, post to Voice about your Arts Award journey, or reach out to us and have your story added to this post – we’ll be updating it all week.

Tom Inniss

Editor, Voice Magazine

When did you do Arts Award and what did you learn from it?

I achieved my Gold Arts Award in 2012, focusing on music – both personally and from an industry perspective. My Unit 2 really supplemented my work at the time around event management, and was by far the biggest project I had undertaken, with over 400 people attending the all-day event. It even helped 4 people achieve Bronze Arts Award for their participation! From it I learned a lot about managing multiple stakeholder’s expectations, and also about zoning areas to appeal to varied audiences.

What do you do now and how did Arts Award help you get there?

My main line of work is as the Editor of Voice, which means I spend a lot of time thinking about editorial content, resources to help young people enter or excel in the creative sector, and working directly with young people to give them experiences in the arts. 

Arts Award was instrumental in me attaining this role! To share a little bit of history, Voice Magazine is actually an offshoot from Arts Award Voice, a resource website launched in 2012 to help support Arts Award participants. I was involved in the creation of that website, and hired to write content for it, and my career started from that point. Arts Award also helped to give me a wider understanding and appreciation of the ways that art and the culture sector can help bridge gaps and divides in society, and help address societal inequalities.

Emrys Green

Business Leader

When did you do Arts Award and what did you learn from it?

I achieved my Silver in 2007 and Gold in 2008 focussing on technical entertainment (lighting design etc) and then arts management (stage and production management). I learnt how to balance multiple priorities and that I love leading projects which have a positive outcome for participants and audiences.

What do you do now and how did Arts Award help you get there?

I manage a whole range of projects across the digital and cultural sectors as Director of Cloud Artisans (a consultancy led digital & engagement agency) and the Head of Business & Projects at Upstart Projects (a charity championing youth voice & leadership). Arts Award’s Unit 2 (leadership project) has been a massive influence to my life and introduced me to people, working practices and a sense for collaborative working which is so vital for projects. My experiences have also led me to join the board of The Institute of Leadership & Management in 2020, where I am now the chair. This is a huge honour for me as the Institute has a community of over 50,000 leaders worldwide and I am involved in developing strategy and a strong organisation that has such a big impact.

Kashmini Shah

Voice Contributor

When did you do Arts Award and what did you learn from it?

I participated in Silver and Gold Arts Award during 2018 and 2019. It enabled me to have fun with the arts, explore new career ideas, and gain confidence! I learnt how to make jewellery from silver clay, made a collection inspired by Greek mythology, and created a book of illustrated poetry. It also pushed me to research arts careers, where I got to interview a BBC journalist and take on the role of a literary judge for a school magazine. 

What do you do now and how did Arts Award help you get there?

I’m currently an official Contributor to Voice, doing a three month programme. Arts Award directly helped me get here, since I discovered Voice, and my passion for a creative career, through it! The Leadership Project [Unit 2] of the Arts Award was also hugely beneficial, teaching interpersonal and organisational skills, as well as boosting my confidence when undertaking new projects and role.

Jo Nead

Assistant Stage Manager

When did you do arts award and what did you learn from it?
I did my Bronze Arts Award in 2013 and my Gold I completed in 2015 (I think). Arts Award gave me an opportunity to explore different art forms, as well as making me understand better my own opinions, likes and dislikes. Arts Award taught me to be more confident in myself and my capabilities, and gave me a push towards coming out of my shell and becoming the person I am today.

What do you do now and how did arts award help you get there?
I now work as stage management in theatre, currently working as the deputy stage manager on the European tour of We Will Rock You. Arts Award gave me an opportunity to explore a lot of different art forms in general, but for me specifically within theatre itself. I went through many phases of what part of the industry I wanted to be in thanks to my exploration done in my Arts Awards. These experiences also really helped towards me getting into drama school and ultimately ending up where I am today. On top of that, my confidence has grown massively in the last nine years, and I really am a completely different person now. Arts Award encouraged me to explore paths I would never have thought of before, and gave me a platform to experience and assess them in a way that helped me understand myself and my place in the arts with a new level of clarity. 

Ceira Cree

Voice Contributor and student

When did you do Arts Award and what did you learn from it?

I completed my Bronze and Silver Arts Awards during my gap year after college, both maintaining a focus on poetry (and the second a subtopic of visual arts). Undertaking the Arts Awards, for me, were a very refreshing experience as someone who loves to create. What better thing could there be to do as a passionate creative than to have the chance to explore what you enjoy further whilst simultaneously gaining a qualification? I learned, or was reminded, that there are always ways that I can grow as an artist and that there will always be amazing opportunities out there if I just go out to grab them.

What do you do now and how did the Arts Award help you to get there?

I have just finished my Bachelors degree in Media and Communications and I work part-time in the Digital and Advertising department of my university. Alongside this, I am also contributing to the lovely Voice Magazine whilst preparing to undertake an MA in Magazine Journalism. Although poetry is not my primary form of writing anymore, the way that my Arts Awards encouraged me to review events and write some article-style pieces has definitely had its impact. After doing this a few times as a part of my awards, I created an blog where I began writing article pieces for the first time, which then evolved into becoming a part of The Ruskin Journal's committee (ARU's Student Magazine) upon joining university. If my desire to write articles was not sparked by Arts Award, I'm not sure if I would be on the path of creative journalism that I am on today.

What is the focus of your Gold Arts Award, and how will it help your future career?

I started my Gold Arts Award over a year ago and it has been on hold while I was working through university. Its focus though, as one may guess by the way that my writing has evolved, is digital publishing. The focus of 'digital publishing' encompasses getting blogs / articles or social media work published online, and gaining experience in such areas. This joint focus fits in line with my love of writing as well as my part-time work(s) in digital. It has been some time since I have attempted to resume the award but I know that when I do I will continue to grow and learn so much about myself as a creative as well as what I am capable of. It will also show future employers how dedicated I am to bettering myself and being the best that I can be.

Bhavesh Jadva

Development Researcher

Despite it now being over ten years since I joined Peshkar to do my Bronze Arts Award, I continue to say that walking through their door completely out of the blue was the way I started my life in the cultural world. Arts Award and Voice as well as Peshkar treated me and innumerable keen young artists the way you should - like they're filled with overwhelming promise and potential. That made me want to live up to that promise and potential even more.

Your name here?

We want to hear from you!

We want to hear from you! Reach out to us on social media with your Award Award story and we’ll include it in this post! Alternatively, reach out on [email protected] with your name, current job role, and your answers to the following questions:

  1. When did you do Arts Award and what did you learn from it?

  2. What do you do now and how did Arts Award help you get there?


Voice Collaborations

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This account exists to showcase the collaborative work our Voice content creators produce. Individual authors are listed in the specific articles.

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