Content by University of Worcester School of Arts student, Freddie Barker
#VentureCrawlWorcs Insights from Creative People
During Worcester’s first #VentureCrawl event- students were invited to tour the creative organizations in the city. During the tour, we met with several young creative professionals, who offered advice to current students and graduates.
These are some key points raised by creatives Josh Foster, Ethan Pattemore, Maria-Magdalena Mineva, and Owen Harper.
At The Kiln, a creative co-working space, we met Josh Foster. Josh, a recent photography graduate from BCU, talked about his experience creating a portfolio while also working full-time to maintain a steady income.
Josh talked about the reality of entering a field of work that is notorious for being unreliable. Like many young artists, Josh has worked to split his time between day-to-day ‘work-life’ and managing his creative side-hustle.
Working at The Kiln as a member has allowed Josh to develop his own business. The Kiln, a co-working space for creative professionals in Worcester, has been able to provide Josh with a business address, working space, and access to a community of fellow digital and tech-based creatives. Through this community, he was able to establish connections and clientele for his business.
Josh specialises in wet film-processing – and has created a service to process photos from analogue cameras and film into digital images and other transferable formats.
He has noticed a growing demand for digital processing of photos and film. Experimental photographers, film-photography hobbyists, and even families with pre-digital photo film have been searching for experienced photographers to digitalise old media.
Josh’s advice to current students:
“Just go for it” – Apply for jobs, loans, grants, commissions – even if the chances you’ll hear back are slim, being able to navigate professional practices and routines can help you understand your goals and identity as an artist (and business).
“Make connections – however small” – It’s important to reinforce positive workplace relations, and to let your professional peers know you’re friendly, reliable, and dedicated. Josh told us it’s possible to “start small” – his first clients were friends and family – but soon, word-of-mouth recommendations were enough to get new customers interested!
“Growth takes time and dedication” – Josh reiterated the struggle of balancing his ‘day job’ and ‘dream job’, explaining that to begin with, it’s difficult to find time to focus on his dreams. From dealing with COVID, to professional and personal commitments, it’s vital to concentrate on the next step forward. From constant improvement and refining of his own skills, to thinking about marketing and business strategy, having a passion for creative success is only a starting point!
To find out more about Josh and his work, check out:
Ethan Pattemore is a Worcester graduate and motion graphics designer with local creative agency WEAREBEARD.
With Ethan graduating in 2021, and WEAREBEARD being one of many creative businesses financially affected by the pandemic, Ethan’s chances to find a local job in Digital Media felt slim. However, the government had recently introduced The Kickstart Scheme – a short-lived initiative to create new jobs for young people seeking employment.
Rob March, director of WEAREBEARD, was able to attain the funding for a short-term, part-time apprenticeship – and welcomed Ethan onto the team. Rob instantly detected Ethan’s talent for motion design, and quickly hired Ethan on a full-time basis. Ethan’s abilities with web design and motion graphics were a huge asset to the team at WEAREBEARD, and he has been able to further enhance his skills and learn new crafts on the job!
Ethan’s advice for current students:
“Look out for University recommendations and get involved” – Ethan discussed his experience as a student at Worcester, admitting he stayed fairly off the radar to outside employers. While the university did push students to attend networking events outside of the university, most students at the time prioritised deadlines and academic projects. It seemed that many students – particularly during COVID – were struggling with time management and finding confidence to attend business and networking events.
“Reach out yourself” – As a student, Ethan was not local to Worcester, and was therefore less aware of all the arts news and industries within the city. Ethan urges students to do thorough and location-specific job searches – but also explore the city on foot, to get a better feel of the creative infrastructure and available experiences. He wished he had searched for more work while studying – even if short-term or voluntary – to gain experiences of workflow and professionalism.
“Show your face – ensure people know the face behind the work.” – In many creative disciplines, the finished products do most of the talking. But Ethan advises students to showcase their transferable skills, competency, and personalities, by attending in-person meetings and networking events with future employers.
To find out more about Ethan and his work at WEAREBEARD, check out:
Maria-Magdalena Mineva started as an intern directly after finishing University, and now works full time as a graduate producer for The Arches Festivals. David Edmunds, festivals director for The Arches project, says she stood out from the crowd in all the right ways.
For her initial interview for the internship position, Maria-Magdalena impressed the panel with an unconventional but effective pitch. The interview required her to produce an example of what festivals and culture meant to her. She served her interviewers a homemade soup from her home country, describing how many ingredients are involved in creating cultural festivals, much like making the soup.
Inspired and fascinated by her interview, the festivals team agreed that Maria-Magdalena’s introduction was both memorable and unique. She interned and worked hard, landing a permanent role as a producer in due course.
Maria-Magdalena’s advice for current students:
“Embrace your differences” – The MTheatre graduate encourages others to utilize their unique traits and to ‘think outside the box’ when establishing your professional identity as an artist.
“Dive into the deep end” – Maria-Magdalena discussed her role with Severn Arts and the Arches Festivals, revealing there have been many times she felt out of her comfort zone. Instead of panicking or fearing the worst, she advises students to dive into the deep end and embrace new challenges. She tells us that a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude has opened many doors for her – and she has also gained new skills and opportunities because of this!
“Try everything you can” – Maria-Magdalena emphasises the importance of seizing opportunities with an open mind. For example, taking an alternative route within your chosen field can lead to a permanent role – or create a pathway into your perfect job. She tells students to be optimistic when applying for jobs, to approach interviews with enthusiasm and interest, and to expect the unexpected.
To find out more about Maria-Magdalena and her work, check out:
Owen Harper studied MTheatre at University of Worcester and produced opportunities for himself (and others) before he graduated. As a student, Owen approached Sarah-Jane Morgan of Worcester Theatres to discuss the possibility of using the Swan Theatre as a rehearsal space for student projects. This type of interaction between the University and the Swan theatre was fairly unexplored, but Owen became an important catalyst in introducing the two organisations on a creative and career-forming basis.
Owen proposed that the theatre run a student or new-graduate project to help accelerate performers and emerging theatre-makers with their careers and debut projects. With the help of theatre staff and Arts Council funding, Owen was able to develop and launch the WR1 Platform. This is a successful and highly sought-after scheme for new graduates and up-and-coming performing artists to have their work developed and showcased in Worcester. Owen, with a knack for generating opportunities and finding creative solutions to problems, is now a full-time Creative Producer at the Swan and overlooks various courses, schemes, and events for local youth and newly established performers.
Owen’s advice for current students:
“If you have an idea, it’s up to you to materialise it” – Owen encourages creatives with big ideas to get in touch with those who can help make it happen. He explains that the theatre has the facilities, technicians, and resources to support new entertainment in-house. Students need to apply their confidence and creativity to make their own success.
“Make the most of opportunities available” – Doing freelance work, volunteering, and developing your craft is always valuable. Owen discusses the importance of making every experience count. Whether the university offers a one-off event, or there is a chance to show off your talents to an audience, Owen says that these small steps have the power to open huge doors. He acknowledges that university life is often busy and demanding – but would still encourage students to properly utilize university connections, facilities, and openings.
“Let your voice be heard” – Finally, Owen echoes his principle that students who are vocal about making a change and creating new things with confidence will be able to build successful pathways into their chosen career. When it comes to making art, Owen explains that telling others what you want to create is the first step to making it happen.
To find out more about Owen and his work, check out:
To read more about #VentureCrawlWorcester , check out the previous Arches blog at #VentureCrawlWorcs – Creative Enterprises in Worcester
+ Watch the #VCW video recap at: #VentureCrawlWorcsVIDEO
Content by Freddie Barker, UoW Film undergraduate