Back in January, Grace Denton, iShed Coordinator at Watershed, blogged about how she became part of the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme. Now two-thirds of the way through her placement, she tells us what she’s experienced and learnt so far and how it is preparing her for the future.
I’ve been in my post for eight and a half months now. In some ways I feel like I’ve been at iShed forever, but mostly it seems like the time has flown.
I’ve worked on some incredible projects: I helped Victoria Tillotson (iShed Producer) produce Media Sandbox 2010 and specifically ran the successful Showcase event; I coordinated iShed’s 2011 South West Artists Residencies; produced Watershed’s live stream of Pilot Theatre and Northern Stage’s Stronger Together event and recently began programming and facilitating the Pervasive Media Studio’s weekly Lunchtime Talks.
The projects iShed manages provide time, space and support for artists, technologists and start-ups to develop risky and experimental ideas. This is a unique opportunity for the participants, who often go on to gain funding and partnerships once they’ve honed their ideas. Being part of delivering these projects and forming relationships with those involved has taught me so much about the way people from different disciplines operate and communicate.
It’s been fantastic to get completely acquainted with the community of people surrounding Watershed, iShed and The Pervasive Media Studio and I’m still learning all the time. I’ve gone through many stages of development and there are a number of ways Watershed and the scheme have facilitated this.
Throughout my time here the reponsibilities I’ve taken on have grown and grown, allowing me to gain skills in new areas with a really good amount of support. I’ve gradually been given events and then projects to coordinate from beginning to end. It’s experience I doubt I could get anywhere else without working for free.
Watershed has a really effective review system where each member of staff meets their line manager every three months. This has really helped me track my progress and identify goals and weak points.
The mentoring I receive from Amy Vaughan (General Manager at The Junction) has been really useful. Hearing about her experiences, having time to reflect on the sector and just being in touch with someone outside my host organisation is invaluable.
I recently went on a professional development trip around the UK. Watershed have allowed me time to visit lots of organisations and meet a wide range of creative professionals around the country. The trip was extremely valuable, as it helped me reflect on my year’s learning and consider my future career. You can read more about my experiences on the iShed blog.
When I first started, the end of my year’s placement seemed like an age away. My previous internships had been short-term and I’d kind of thrived off the change, the speed and the different environments, so having a whole year stretching out in front of me felt like a daunting luxury. Thankfully working here is so varied there’s no chance of feeling stagnant.
With just four months remaining I’ll soon be entering a tough job market. I feel confident my skills and experience have significantly developed, but I know I need to stay active in order to stay employed. I’m always browsing current job opportunities to keep abreast of what’s out there, particularly jobs producing, coordinating, programming or marketing creative projects and events. I have a broad interest and enthusiasm for both coordinating and practicing the arts, and I’m determined to continue working within this field. I believe the opportunity afforded by the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries to work as part of the Watershed team, has left me well placed to do so.
Profile image ©Tom Copps, 2011