Just over a year since I last posted, and a lot has happened. I was intending to stay freelance, and began working again on the Open Sesame project as evaluator and to see where the project could go next. I also delivered some consultancy work for The Bridge Community in Brighton, looking at developing their partnership working with the cultural sector. But new opportunities are not always freelance ones, and so I applied to Worthing Borough Council to manage a new creative hub for Worthing at Colonnade House. Since June last year this has been an exciting and absorbing project to lead, and has involved lots of new learning - not least about how to manage a building, including fire alarm testing and finding where all the electricity meters are hidden. Funding for arts education projects is in short supply, and the infrastructure to support them is under increasing pressure so its a welcome change to be involved in a project that is about growing the creative industries, and I'm finding plenty of people in Worthing who are excited about the potential for doing this.
It's been an amazing two years at the Towner Gallery. I've worked with some fantastic people and projects, and led a really diverse portfolio of work - from under 5's to young offenders, from people with dementia to outreach projects in partnership with local artists and arts organisations, from programming for school holidays to managing provision for young people excluded from school. I've learned so much about how an art gallery works, and really enjoyed putting on the Annual Schools Exhibition and other events there. The team at Towner is so dedicated and works so hard for all their audiences, I have nothing but admiration.
But it was time for me to hand the reins to someone else and re-focus my work - and for me this means working closer to where I live, and finding opportunities that I can work on in greater depth rather than having a wide and diverse portfolio to manage, so now I'm building that smaller portfolio and looking forward to working creatively with artists, organisations and communities for the foreseeable future.
I'm looking forward to stepping into the Learning and Outreach Manager role at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne which I will be taking on to the end of March - can't wait to get started, but hoping I'm not going to regret opting to go by bike and train as its been raining and blowing a gale for what seems like weeks now!!
I'm working as an assessor for Artswork's Creative Apprenticeship Programme and currently supporting two young apprentices at arts organisations in Hampshire. It's good to be able to use my experience to support someone else's learning and development at the very start of their career, and I'm looking forward to seeing them develop as the year progresses.
After a year working with artists and early years practitioners on the ambitious and multi-layered Open Sesame Project, we have finished the final report and it is now looking lovely and ready to be sent out far and wide. Time to set up the next project.....!
Just had confirmation that I've passed my Prince2 Foundation exam - phew! On-line learning can be a bit dry (to say the least!) but the concepts and processes in Prince2 are really useful to know and so I'll be incorporating them into my project plans from here on.
Produced two events for the Creative Cafe programme this month: one at Chichester College and the other at the G-Live centre in Guildford.
Working with the Young Producers group at G-Live was great - they had some very clear ideas about the focus for the Cafe and then really got stuck in to promoting the event with Twitter and Facebook campaigns.
I've produced three days of creative fun this summer as part of the West of Waterlooville Public Art Programme, including crafts, parkour, dance, photography, circus skills, a choir and creative writing. We also had a session with Pongplexed who showed us lots of new ways to get into table tennis, and some crazy tables!
Find out more about the Open Sesame project and 'Sorted?' at this professional development event for artists and early years practitioners on 18th June.
This is a new piece of work devised for under 5's and their parents for the Open Sesame project, and it will be touring to all the nurseries in Sussex and Surrey that have been taking part, as well as a public show at the Dome in Brighton on 7th July. We have been working with Jo Belloli from Polka Theatre, and have progressed from the terrifying blank page of endless possibility to a coherent creative vision which included going back to basics and keeping it simple! Now looking forward to getting it ready for its first proper outing at the end of April.
Updates on projects and latest news.