DCMS blog

Exhibitions, festivals and funding decisions: six months in the arts

DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries - Bursary Blog
It has been an unpredictable time for arts organisations. Recent graduate Tarnia Gracie describes what it was like starting out in the industry through the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme and how her organisation has continued to flourish.

I started my placement at Animate Projects back in January as a part-time Marketing and Fundraising Assistant. But in the few months since I began the role, there have been lots of changes. First, an Arts Council England grant and an application to their National Portfolio Funding Programme were rejected and we didn’t know whether the organisation would have to close in March 2011. But then we completed last year’s programme, received funding through Arts Council’s Grants for the arts programme (which is funded by the National Lottery) and began plans on Animate XX, this year’s programme of events and online exhibitions.
Animation is possibly one of the most under-represented art forms and Animate Projects are an organisation with vast amounts of knowledge and experience in this specific area. Animate Projects commissions experimental animated films and is one of a few organisations providing a platform, engagement and numerous resources for this art form. I’m enjoying being a part of a small, not-for-profit organisation with such a focused interest and have not only learnt a lot about my initial job role but also about how a small organisation is run and about animation itself.

Finding out about the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursary Scheme was one of the best things I have done. When the perfect job arose to work for Animate Projects, an arts organisation I’d previously looked to as a resource while studying, I was more than excited to apply. I feel really lucky to be a bursary recipient. I believe the year of experience (which I’m now halfway through) has given me the chance to really begin my career in the arts industry and has already proven to be hugely beneficial.
Over the last six months I’ve had the opportunity to go to the Arts & Business Frontline Fundraising Symposium, which was really interesting, and to visit Flatpack, a film festival in Birmingham. New skills I’ve learnt so far range from distribution to website content management to website data analysis and the process of writing fundraising applications.
I’ve assisted with online exhibitions including Lapse, a group exhibition, a new animation by Edwina Ashton entitled …in a rose columned forest, and a recent exhibition, presenting two films by Mandy McIntosh. I’ve also helped plan for the up and coming year’s programme, have helped create a marketing strategy and have improved and developed Animate Projects’ social media sites.
A few weeks ago we announced Animate OPEN: Digitalis, our first online exhibition chosen from open submission which I’m enjoying working on, and future projects include A night with Animate Projects, which I will help co-ordinate, to be held at Barbican as part of their summer exhibition Watch Me Move.
The good news is, I’ve now been offered the chance to stay at Animate for a further three months after the placement finishes until March next year, which will allow me to see the completion of a full year’s programme.
I’m very thankful to the Creative Bursary Scheme for providing paid work, training, mentoring, networking and encouragement in a job in the arts industry at a time of major cuts when this kind of support is hard to come by.

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