Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
My name is Holly Sandiford and I co direct an arts and well-being organisation called Art@Work CIC.
What does your job involve? Give us the typical outline of a day?
One day is never the same as another, which I love. We work with lots of different people which is really interesting, these include; employees in businesses, adults with learning difficulties, women with mental health issues, young people and older people. An example of a day would be running a suffragette inspired textiles project with women with mental health issues in the morning and then going home and doing lots of admin and project management stuff on my sofa!(bonus of working from home)
What’s great about your job?
It feels great that I get to inspire people and give them my time and attention, especially when other services are so limited.You never know the positive impact you may be having on people.It’s about creating little sparks of change.
What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?
Sometimes the admin side can be a bit boring but when your running your own business you have more motivation so it is ok.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
Running the refugee projects at The Sainsburys Centre for Visual Arts; Managing Barrington Farm, an arts centre for adults with learning difficulties; Most importantly taking all my knowledge and experience and setting up our own(with my friend and fellow director Melanie Tilford) community interest company.
How did you get into an arts job?
Have you also worked outside the arts?I have always wanted to do arts and wellbeing work and have always focused my choices to move towards this- my first job was as a care assistant in a residential home and I set up arts workshops in my own time as I felt they weren’t doing enough. It’s about taking little steps in the right direction.
Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
I have run some very challenging projects with some very vulnerable people, having supportive people around me and excellent volunteers really helped.
Have you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what?
Funding is harder to come by but I have found that if you can be adaptable and creative it is still possible to find.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
Have faith in your ability, you don’t know what you are capable of until you try it.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?
Volunteer and persevere, anything is possible but you have to really go for it- it is not the sort of sector where work just appears.
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.