|English and Related Literature|
|History and English|
|East Riding of Yorkshire Council|
|Government and civil service|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
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A day in the life of a Arts Manager in the United Kingdom
I have been able to progress quickly because of the changing variety of roles, without always necessarily knowing what it would lead to next.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I work for a large local authority covering many public services across East Yorkshire.
What do you do?
I work with local independent arts organisations to support their growth and funding applications. I grant fund local independent arts organisations. I manage a team which delivers arts council funding projects with communities across the county.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I've worked in large and small arts organisations, working up from an assistant role to producer. This includes festivals, community arts organisations and at the City of Culture in Hull. I have been able to progress quickly because of the changing variety of roles, without always necessarily knowing what it would lead to next. I've done a lot of work developing artists, supporting work that is made in collaboration with communities has led me to my new strategic role in a local council.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
I was an active member of the performance societies at university and really wanted to work in this sector afterwards. I've worked in events, film and arts but the path isn't always clear as there are not the graduate scheme structured programmes that bigger corporations have.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Opening a major event that I had produced from scratch. I had been involved in the creative, worked to bring artists on board with our director's vision, liaised with venues and suppliers as well as lots of volunteer performers. This was a large outdoor performance in an unusual venue and seeing thousands of local people attend on opening night was such a reward after a huge amount of work.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
I have experience of the challenges of working with lots of different and difficult personalities on tight deadlines. A route into this area of work is often unclear and slightly reliant on luck.
Now working for local government the challenges are that decisions are much slower and it can feel harder to create change in such a big organisation.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
The culture in the local council is slower and more bureaucratic than the arts and events industry but also can be more supportive with a better work life balance.
I've had some excellent times in arts and culture and some organisations are very supportive. However, in particularly fast paced environments it can be stressful with long hours and high expectations.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
Lots of work on performing arts societies gave me lots of opportunities to develop as a producer and manager. I gained experience managing budgets, developing shows and taking shows to Edinburgh. Doing all the behind the scenes work was essential for me realising what I wanted to do as a career and also to give me my necessary experience for my first job after university.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I am happy to be settled with more security for a while as I am new in the role. But in the future I would like to move back into the independent arts sector as a producer.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
There are lots of ways to get the experience that you need to get the first step on a ladder for a creative career. There are also lots of ways to get that experience by trying to do it yourself alongside other work.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Producing and working in the arts
Funding and support for arts
Working for local government
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