Current job title and industry of work
Operations and Events Manager, working in a charity-run community centre.
When did you complete your Arts Award and which centre did you work with?
Gold in 2011, completed remotely with Martin Russel.
What are you up to in your creative work at the moment?
Since I completed my Arts Award, I’ve moved from visual arts into the theatre industry, designing set and costume for plays and even making puppets. When I moved to London 5 years ago I increasingly took on operational roles in the industry, which led me to work in cultural event and venue management, and then to my current role as Operations and Events Manager of a community venue. While I don’t work directly with art in this role, it certainly takes a lot of creativity to juggle such a varied role; adapting to the restrictions caused by the pandemic recently has involved a lot of flexible and outside the box thinking.
Alongside my professional work, drawing has continued to be very important to me, in particular observational drawing from life. During lockdown I took part in a ‘drawing-a-day’ challenge, with different prompts for each day, and I’d really recommend it for pushing yourself and exploring different mediums.
What are the highlights of your arts career to date?
The highlight of my creative work in theatre was designing and building puppets for the two musicals Into the Woods and Honk! The Musical, working with director Andy Room. As well as the puppets being the artworks that I am proudest of, it was the moment of seeing the puppets come to life in the hands of the incredibly talented actors that made it so special.
What do you hope to be doing in five years?
I’m not sure where the next 5 years will take me professionally, but I hope to be spending even more time outside work being creative. I enjoy drawing and would like to explore learning a new art form. I tried learning the piano during lockdown but didn’t get much further than Zoom renditions of Happy Birthday, so maybe I will try that again!
Tell us a bit about what you did for your Arts Award?
In the Arts Leadership section of my Gold Arts Award, I set up interactive chalk drawing mural at the Arts Award fifth Birthday party, getting everyone from CEOs to school kids drawing in UV chalk. I created the concept and design for the piece, and built the mural board, then worked with the Arts Award team to run it on the night.
For my new arts practise, I worked with a local digital artist to progress my scrapbooking skills into digital collaging. I also completed two weeks of work experience at an art restoration studio, bringing together my knowledge from Art and Chemistry A-Levels. As my opinion piece, I researched and explored whether studying at a Higher Education level is ‘worth it’ - certainly a complex question at many levels, and particularly relevant as I was making my university choices at the time. On the back of it, I actually chose to study Philosophy rather than go to art school but was determined to keep up creative projects alongside my degree (which I did, spending many hours designing for student theatre productions).
Are you still involved with Arts Award in any way and will you be doing anything to celebrate the 15 year anniversary?
During my Gold Arts Award, I designed an interactive mural for the Arts Award 5th birthday, and then 5 years later I was also involved in planning the 10-year anniversary celebrations. To celebrate the 15 year anniversary I will sure to check out what Arts Award is doing online, and of course, am delighted to have judged the #loveartsaward15 competition. I'm also an Upstart Trustee for Voice magazine.
Have you become an Arts Award adviser since completing your Arts Award?
I trained as a Discover and Explore advisor in 2014 and spent a weekend at Latitude Festival advising young festival attendees. It was an excellent experience, as the award was a really fun way to encourage young people to really explore and engage with creativity at the festival. It was also a good challenge to help each person complete the award over the weekend…while in a field!
What advice would you give to young people doing Arts Award who want to follow in your career footsteps?
With everything you do, think about what it is that you enjoy about it, and then really keep that in mind when planning your next steps. Especially in the creative industries, it’s easy to just think about the more obvious paths, such as being on stage or making art, but reflecting on what you enjoy might take you down a different path. For me, I realised that what I really enjoyed about theatre was working with people and planning big projects, which has since led me into working in a community venue, planning project and managing a team.
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.
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Arts Award alumni news
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