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Exploration and artistic development: life on the DCMS/Jerwood Bursary scheme

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Lucie Sheppard

Worked at Siobhan Davies Dance as a Programme Assistant

DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries - Bursary Blog
In the latest instalment of the Bursary Blog, Lucie Sheppard fills us in on her placement at Siobhan Davies Dance and how it is giving her vital experience of working in an arts organisation and the chance to re-establish herself as a dancer.

I’ve been working at Siobhan Davies Dance as a Programme Assistant – a fantastic opportunity that has been funded by the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme. My job is split into three days working for the company and two days working on my own artistic development. For me this way of working couldn’t be more perfect. When I’m working with the company, I work with the Executive & Programme Manager on various projects involving the building and the company. I also work with the Front of House team, the General Manager and the Communications Manager.
What I love about this role is that I’ve been allowed the time to research and explore the company and what it does in a way that suits my needs and way of processing. I’ve been encouraged to take part in workshops, dance classes and professional development events that occur in the studios to help me gain an all-round perspective of what goes on in the company and building as a whole.
If you want to know more about Siobhan Davies Dance, the company has a really good mission statement which helps describe them. They are currently interested in visual art and dance, as seen in the piece To hand which is currently being performed at the Whitechapel Gallery, so I’m very excited to be working here. Have a look at the Siobhan Davies Dance website as there is so much going on in the company and studios at the moment and I could spend forever writing about it all for you!

This process of learning about the company and the amount of time I have been given to absorb information has been extremely beneficial to me in settling into the company and this way of processing a new job and environment has been reflected in my artwork.
This brings me onto the other side of the role: I have two days a week allocated to my development as an artist. So far within my artwork I’ve been exploring London, because it’s a new city to me and I needed to get to know where I’m living and working. I’ve joined a research group, as a part of Independent Dance, where I’ve been able to discuss, explore and debate dance and working in our dancing bodies. I’ve also been participating in a lot of the Independent Dance professional dance classes, which has helped me begin to re-establish myself as a dancer, having been disconnected for some time.
I’ve been able to consider where I am as an artist and what it is I wish to pursue at this point in time, and I do not feel the pressure to be churning out material under strict deadlines – as I’m sure most of us have experienced in one way or another. I graduated with a degree in Dance in 2009 and had spent my final year researching art history and its relationship with dance. I wanted to explore this idea further and so studied an MA in Fine Art to solidify my thoughts and explore a few of my concepts. After completing the course, I applied for the bursary scheme and became one of the recipients, for which I’m very grateful.
If this bursary scheme had not existed I would most certainly not be able to live or work in London. If the position was unpaid, I would’ve loved to have done it but in reality I would never have been able to financially support myself or enjoy the experience to the fullest, as I can now. I hadn’t been applying for unpaid positions purely for this reason. I think that it’s amazing that a scheme like this is available, and also that it provides so many positions across so many disciplines and areas in the UK.
I’m hoping to blog regularly for the DCMS website as I feel that this placement will have a lot to offer and I will wish to share! In the meantime, if you are interested in reading more about my artistic activities, you can visit my personal blog.

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