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Creative Careers in the East Midlands

With the help of Arts Council England we have collated some resources specifically for graduates and students searching for creative careers in the East Midlands.

Please note: Due to COVID-19 live events have been suspended and many organisations, programmes and business activity will be affected. The following information was collated during 2019 as an example of the variety of activity and opportunities available to graduates across the Midlands. Given the current situation, do refer to the current information on each organisation website.

Contact and website details of the whole Midlands portfolio are available on the interactive map via the button below.Midlands Portfolio Details

The Arts Council have a COVID-19 webpage for artists and organisations which you can access via the button below. Arts Council: COVID-19

Information from Arts Council England 

Great Art, Museums and Libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.

We support arts, museums and libraries through funding, as well as providing other services to support their development. From 2018-22 we’ll invest around £580 million per year in organisations and artists, in addition to helping them develop the talent, production and distribution of their work.  

We provide expert advice, promote partnerships, encourage new ways of working and support talent across all the following artforms and sectors; 

Combined arts  

This includes festivals, carnivals, arts centres and presenting venues, rural touring networks and agencies. We want to offer audiences new experiences through high quality, ambitious art in a variety of spaces. We hope that this will provide more opportunities for a wide range of people to get involved with creating and experiencing art and culture. 

Example of  opportunities; 

Artcore, Derby - offers opportunities to show work by emerging artists/new graduates and also host internships.

SHOUT Festival, Birmingham – work with volunteers and casual workers to support their annual festival.

SO Festival in Skegness – also provide volunteering opportunities 

There are many more Midlands festivals and combined arts organisations with similar opportunities – research opportunities in your area on the Arts council website.

Dance  

We fund and work with touring companies, development agencies and festivals, as well as individual artists and producers, all of whom work across a wide range of styles and in a wide range of settings. We hope to widen the understanding and appreciation of the many and varied kinds of dance 

Example of organisations offering development opportunities include;

Derby’s Déda have volunteering, placements and an apprentice dance artist scheme. 

Nupur Arts in Leicester were recently offering placements for marketing, production and performance training.

Literature  

The literature sector in England is incredibly exciting and dynamic. We support poetry, fiction, life writing, spoken word, writing for children, literary translation and other forms of creative writing. The work we fund covers a range of media including print publishing, online, live performance and broadcast. 

Example of opportunities; 

Writing West Midlands have their Room 204 writer development programme.

There are often writing commissions with organisations who are running projects so any aspiring authors should be in contact with their local writing development agency.  

Similarly do try and attend events like Ledbury Poetry Festival, Birmingham Literature Festival, Writing East Midlands’ Writers Conference, and Derby Book Festival. Attending these events will help give an understanding of how the sector works beyond publishing.  

Museums 

England has some of the finest regional museums in the world, with extraordinary collections ranging from the earliest prehistory to modern art and science. 

Example of opportunities; 

The National Justice Museum and Lincoln’s Collection are examples of local Museums which offer placements and associate activity relating to heritage and non-heritage courses.  

Culture Syndicates (Nottingham): building employability through paid sector entry roles in heritage and arts projects.  http://www.culturesyndicates.co.uk/ 

Emerging Museum Professionals: an informal peer-led network of heritage sector entrants (eg, pub and chat events). There is a group in most regions – see Twitter for your local group. The East Midlands one is here: https://twitter.com/eastmidlandemp  

Museums Association have events for sector entrants, eg Moving On Up conference and their recent Mentoring For All pilot.

Libraries 

We are also the development agency for libraries in England. We know that libraries play a key role in their communities and we would like to see them used more to connect the public with other cultural and artistic activities.  

Examples of some of the organisations that we support include 
Inspire Nottinghamshire
Get it Loud in Libraries, (based in Lancashire but also run national touring programme) 

More information is available here; https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/supporting-libraries/how-we-work-libraries 

Music 

We support many different musical genres and musical experiences, whether in traditional venues like concert halls, churches and schools, or unconventional spaces like swimming pools and car parks. The organisations we fund range from independent music producers and venues to large scale opera companies and orchestras, as well as music education for children and young people. 

Example of opportunities; 

Buxton International Festival works with interns for the summer festival.

Sinfonia Viva also host a university placement each year.

Nusic (Nottingham) advice videos – Music industry support and events.

Other music organisations in the Midlands which offer apprenticeships and talent development programmes include; 

Theatre  

Theatre in England is vibrant and thriving, with a diverse range of artists and companies producing varied and exciting work. The organisations we fund range from tiny fringe venues to large theatres with multiple spaces, as well as touring companies and those that make work for children, young people and their families. We're also developing new ways to make productions available digitally. 

Example of opportunities; 

Venues such as Nottingham Playhouse, Leicester’s Curve Theatre and Northampton Royal & Derngate run apprenticeships and Curve have just finished a 2 year leadership programme for leaders from diverse backgrounds.  

New Perspectives have rebranded their talent development programme, now known as New Associates which offers a year long programme for early career artists across disciplines. The scheme provides a rounded approach to working with NP, which as well as including support for their artistic practice, individuals can also observe board meetings, and get a greater understanding of running a company.

In Good Company (Derby) and Nonsuch Theatre (Nottingham) also have artist development programmes including training opportunities and networking for graduates.

China Plate Theatre Company (Warwick) and their Optimists programme provides training for emerging theatre makers.

Pentabus (Shropshire) operate an excellent young writers scheme. 

Visual Arts 

England has a dynamic visual arts sector that seeks constantly to reinvent itself, blurring boundaries and collaborating with other creative disciplines. We fund projects across a broad range of media, including painting, sculpture and film. We support artists to develop their work and reach more people, as well as encouraging more projects outside traditional gallery spaces. 

Example of opportunities; 

Multistory often offer volunteering opportunities on events such as Blast Festival. Their current opportunity relates to the Blast festival, happening over 4 weekends in June. It’s a programme of walks, talks and photography in Sandwell.

National Centre for Craft and Design runs Design Nation, a membership organisation for craft artists and makers. It offers a range of opportunities such as group shows, attendance at trade and craft fairs and CPD opportunities. They have a graduate strand for those who have graduated within the last three years.

Threshold Studios (Nottingham) run an internship programme (Radar) for the Frequency Festival in Lincoln.

Rural Media (Hereford / Midlands wide) has supported young film makers for their Random Acts programme in partnership with Channel 4 and has now developing a similar scheme for the BBC to create film, audio and immersive work with young creatives.

Channel 4 also run a young talent scheme - https://careers.channel4.com/4talent 

UK Young Artists (UKYA) Nottingham - champions the next generation of creativity, supporting collaboration and artists’ practice through cross art form opportunities at national & international festivals.

Coventry Artspace – host graduate residents to encourage artists to continue to work in the city and to contribute towards the critical mass of quality visual arts produced in the city and for the city.

Nottingham Contemporary and New Art Exchange offer internships/placements.  

NC have a skills development programme for anyone wanting to be creative, gain experiences, take part in social events or get your voice heard about the things that matter.

Primary and Backlit both provide affordable studios in Nottingham, and members benefit from talent development opportunities by being based within them. This includes support for writing grant bids (i.e. Chaos Magic, based in Backlit, who recently were awarded an ACE project grant), being included in exhibitions, facilitating studio exchanges etc.  

Both Primary and Backlit have also formed the New Midlands Group with One Thorsby Street, and this is focused on supporting talent development in Nottingham.  

Ikon in Birmingham have a 6 - 12month long information assistant positions as a first step for new graduates.

Grand Union - Curatorial Curriculum is an alternative learning programme for emerging curators, consisting of intensive workshops led by internationally-renowned practitioners. The workshops are held over four weekends annually, exploring different forms of curatorial practice. The course is aimed at curators at the beginning of their careers, to offer an alternative programme to costly postgraduate study in a slightly less formal environment. Curatorial curriculum.

Derby Quad provide exhibition opportunities for emerging artists and the Format Festival (hosted by Quad) offers as Portfolio Review - an opportunity to have work critiqued by international reviewers.

Other Visual Arts networks worth noting are http://newartwestmidlands.co.uk/  and East Midlands Visual Arts Network.

For information about all the organisations that ACE will be funding between 18-22 click here. 

Sources of training and career related information and opportunities; 

See our latest news, browse jobs in arts and culture, explore our blog and read case studies.  http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/news-and-jobs/jobs-and-careers

We also fund projects like Creative and Cultural Skills’ Creative Choices, a Creative Industries focused online careers website widely used by schools, colleges and HEIs where young people can access careers and business advice, and find details of opportunities including work placements and apprenticeships.

Other sources of job and training information and opportunities; 

Arts Professional

AN Publications

Culture Hive

Culture 24

Creative Access