What are you up to in your creative work at the moment?
At the moment being at University my creative work is incorporated into any assignments that can merge my media side with it (such as recently writing a photographic essay about the city). Personally, I have been documenting my everyday life where I can as well as having small projects/clients to work with (from head shots to events). I've created a blog to showcase any small projects I do in my spare time or simply to showcase what I've been up to (http://thisislelly.tumblr.com).
What are the highlights of your arts career to date?
A major highlight is the connections I've kept through the likes of projects such as the Arts Award to networking amongst family and friends. Another highlight is that I've noticed that I'm always developing through whatever I produce - from illustration to photography I am able to be more experimental with how I see things, and use this to my advantage. It's great that I can use the arts as a sense of escape when things overload at times, and I'm hoping to progress my photography to a more career based focus, incorporating design via Photoshop and even film-making to broaden out my potential further.
What do you hope to be doing in five years time?
Whilst I'm hoping to be pursuing my career of teaching, I want to use my experience of the creative arts both in the profession and on a personal level. In terms of teaching, I wish to broaden the creative minds of those I will teach, embedding different ways of approaching my teaching, making use of the displays for the pupils as well as trying different techniques besides textbook work. Although this is crucial, being able to explore different ways of learning will be key in developing these children's minds as well as developing my own. In regards to personally, I hope that I will be incorporating photography wherever possible, freelancing in my spare time or working on my design skills.
Which level(s) of Arts Award did you do, and how did you use it to develop your creativity or skills?
I completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award so I experienced each step with what it had to offer. Bronze offered an introduction into showcasing the range of arts, giving me that stretch of independence in regards to organising events, as well as showcasing my own work. That also led me to realise the styles and media I enjoy, which I focused on with my Silver Arts Award - Photography and Pop Art design. That was the most beneficial for me as it was the point to where I could see myself doing this in the future. The Gold Arts Award was a slightly different but just as insightful project, looking more into film-making (in cooperation with dancers). It was beneficial to see a different use of a camera and being a media student at the time it helped me with my studies. This also influenced me to look into film-making further, and allowed me to see it from a more industry-based perspective, which isn't something a young person typically sees.
What advice would you give to young people doing Arts Award who want to follow in your footsteps?
My advice is don't be afraid to broaden your mind and see the range of media that there is to offer. It is an opportunity to research into the arts, the media and the industry and it isn't a case of being right or wrong - it is exploring your opportunities further. You begin to get a real taste of the industry and not knowing everything isn't a bad thing, but a chance for you to develop and broaden your creative horizons. Critique your work constructively and enjoy every moment experimenting during the project; who knows where it will take you!