2020 marks the 15 years of Arts Award helping young people achieve their artistic desires. To celebrate we're interviewing Arts Award alumni from around 15 years ago to find out what they're up to now.
Current job title
Business & Projects Manager at Upstart Projects. I'm also Director at Cloud Artisans and Non-Executive Director of The Mighty Creatives and The Institute of Leadership & Management.
Arts Award achievements
2006, Silver Arts Award – Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
2007, Gold Arts Award - Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
2011, Bronze Arts Award – York Theatre Royal
What did your Arts Award entail?
For my Gold award, I created a one day Arts Festival in my home town’s public gardens – bringing a team of young people together with performances, workshops and a gallery throughout the day. It was funded by the Youth Opportunities Fund and my local theatre was fantastic at supporting it and running a box office. It was a big undertaking and I learnt a huge amount about team communication, managing stakeholders (like the council who ran the land) and programming arts activities. Especially with the added complications that an outdoor venue provided (we bought a Marquee to use!).
That was a really exciting Unit 2 leadership project. For unit 1, I really focused on working with lots of people to stage or production manage new and interesting events.
How did Arts Award develop your skills and creativity?
Silver – I focused on technical theatre. I used it to explore the career opportunities and get more experience running shows – particularly the lighting aspect of theatre and music events. I got to really focus on the design aspect and the creativity as well as the technical skill of actually rigging and operating lights and other tech gear.
Gold – I focused on Arts Management. I did some stage management and production management. Still building on my Silver Arts Award experience, I took a step up to work with teachers and directors to plan and execute events.
Are you still involved with Arts Award and what are you doing to celebrate 15 years of Arts Award?
I have the great fortune to oversee the Arts Award Alumni programme and supporting the team who run online support and celebration of Arts Award. I’m also an adviser and love taking young people through Arts Award whenever I can.
What are you up to in your creative work at the moment?
I’m currently supporting the Voice team with endeavours to do more digital work and managing an event that will bring together all of the Local Cultural Education Partnerships across the Midlands and East Anglia to share practice and develop their offer for young people locally.
I’ve also managed a range of digital projects like a new site for young people to find drama school courses – federationofdramaschools.co.uk
Some links to my work are on https://emrys.uk
What are the highlights of your arts career to date?
Managing the Arts Award 10th Birthday Celebration – Gold Expo (voicemag.uk/gold-expo) and also the Trinity on Tour programme which saw thousands of students engage with music performances and workshops.
Big achievements also include running a local arts social enterprise for 5 years, with an annual community arts festival in a town that had a very little cultural opportunity, running an arts festival in the Port of Tilbury terminal buildings and producing an impactful play about, with and for Young Carers.
I’ve also loved being involved with the Mozilla Festival for 4 years – wrangling creative and technological opportunities for people. (Write up of experience at: https://www.voicemag.uk/blog/6387/mozfest19-reflection-project-planning)
Slightly less arts, but the experience of doing my Arts Award led me down a path of arts management and leadership. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few boards over the years, helping organisations strategically. Most recently, I’ve been elected by the membership (of circa 30,000 people) to be a director of The Institute of Leadership & Management. Being a part of leading a global network of leaders is a real honour and I’m just getting my feet under the table; but a part of this will be about supporting new and young leaders to develop.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your creative work or career since completing your Arts Award?
The fundraising and budget management. It puts a real dampener on the time and capacity to be creative with programmes. It links with the fact that my line of work isn’t a ‘stable’ income and there’s always a level of uncertainty – so there’s extra pressure to also get involved in finding the money. But I have managed organisations and projects with a total turnover around £3million since completing my Arts Award.
What do you hope to be doing in five years?
Managing teams of exciting arts and creative projects, hopefully on a more stable salary perhaps!
Tell us a bit about your experience of being an Arts Award adviser
I’ve enjoyed supporting young people at all levels over the years. I have had the pleasure to run Discover at Festivals, Bronze in a week, and Gold Arts Award embedded with apprenticeships – and plenty of delivery models in between.
What advice would you give to young people doing Arts Award who want to follow in your footsteps?
Find opportunities, create opportunities and make the most of opportunities. Sometimes if what you want to do isn’t on offer, you need to find a way of making it happen.
More about Emrys Green
Arts Award 15th Birthday!
Arts Award has been supporting the development of creativity and leadership skills for all young people for 15 years. Arts Award has championed creativity, nurtured talent and offered insights into the arts world, together with a taste of creative careers.Across the UK there are over 4,000 centres and an impressive 521,455 Award achieved.
Arts Award alumni news
Read more interviews with Arts Award alumi or visit the Arts Award Voice Community Hub for exclusive alumni updates, support and discounts. If you've recently finished your Arts Award and want to let us know what you're up to, drop Nici the Arts Editor an email.