Hi Jess! I bet now is a busy time for you in the run-up to the Brighton Fringe Festival. Why don't we start by you telling us a bit about yourself and your current role?
I’m the Press Officer at Brighton Fringe. My job involves arranging PR opportunities to raise the profile of the festival, getting in touch with press to arrange interviews and reviews, pitching features, lots of creative writing and lots of emails.
What do you love about your job?
I like that it’s very varied – there are lots of different tasks, and I’m able to manage my own time and work independently. I also enjoy interacting with a wide range of people – artists and performers, as well as journalists and venues.
There's a certain thrill to running your own part of a project and seeing the results (good press!) come in.
I’m looking forward to the buzz of the festival and seeing lots of shows.
Can you explain the work you do with young people, if any?
Brighton Fringe has opportunities for work placements, so at the moment I have two interns who come in once a week to learn more about press and PR. Internships like this can be a great way to get a real insight into what kind of work suits you. Brighton Fringe also have bursaries and run workshops to encourage more young people to get involved in the arts.
What are the bits you don’t like about the job or find challenging?
Things can be very time sensitive in PR – a story needs to be given to the press quickly while it’s still relevant, so you need to be very organized and good at prioritizing and working to deadlines under pressure.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
It’s my first year at Brighton Fringe, but in previous jobs, it’s been exciting seeing big pieces in national papers that I have pitched and arranged.
How did you get into an arts job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
I have quite a varied CV… I studied Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths, and did lots of internships in the music industry and at art galleries while studying. When I graduated I was a full time touring musician for 5 years. I still do this on and off, but I also do freelance branding, copywriting and design strategy. They’re all creative jobs that I enjoy in different ways. I’ve worked in shops and restaurants while studying too, but I’ve been lucky that in my adult life I’ve been able to make a living in the arts.
I think it’s important to be adaptable and learn a lot of different skills.
In my experience, most jobs are something that you can learn while doing them if you have good communication, organization and enthusiasm to learn. Trying different things can show you where your strengths lie and help keep things interesting.
Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
I think my biggest challenge has been finding work that I enjoyed that was as flexible as I wanted it to be, and going freelance has been the answer so far. Not having a steady income can be daunting, but so far it’s worked really well and I like being able to manage my own time and get involved in projects that genuinely interest me.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?
Learn as many different skills as you can.
Don’t be above any job - most jobs involve a bit of dull admin, but it all has to get done. Make sure to ask questions. Remember people’s names. Have a positive attitude.
Want more tips on working in the arts? Head on over to Creative Choices, a website filled to the brim with advice on how to get into the arts.