Get to know what gets your fellow ‘Fellows’ out of bed in the morning and more… short reads over a cuppa!

Joe Kerry

Hey, my names Joe – I’m currently the Creative Producer at Warts and All Theatre, and I’m going to be joining the RSC as an Assistant Producer soon. I’m ridiculously excited, and I can’t wait to get started on this next step in my creative journey.

I began producing to create and make opportunities happen for other creatives, and that’s still what drives me now. This past year and a half has been a really interesting one;  I’ve been really fortunate that I could continue working, and through this work I’ve really explored and developed my creative practice. I want to create and affect real positive change through arts and culture, create work that is really bloody good, and continue to create opportunities for creatives (and ‘non-creatives’) to thrive. And the whole time I’m going to be real, transparent, candid and (most importantly) myself.

What gets me up in the morning is walking my partner to work. She supports me, I support her – we’ve got a really good thing going. Creatively, however – I just love seeing people do well and do wonderful things, and if it’s through arts and culture that’s a big bonus. Theres too many people out there who don’t get the opportunity to show how good they are at something or to create change and impact the world around them, and if I can be the one who is creating the platform for those wonderful opportunities to happen, that’s an even bigger bonus, and even more of a reason to get out of bed every day.

To relax, I play basketball. My first love, and a constant in my life since I can remember. It was the first thing that everyone in my family had no interest in, and that made it all the more special. No, I’m not 7 foot tall, I’m 5 foot 10 – but I’m alright at basketball still.

I’m just over the moon to have been given the opportunity to be part of this fellowship. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often. It’s crazy really – an experience like this is exactly what I’ve been reaching for since I began my creative journey. There should be more opportunities like this for your ‘average human’ shouldn’t there? We’re all extremely fortunate.

So thank you for giving me the opportunity to develop my creative practice even further, for connecting me with other wonderful creatives from a huge variety of artistic areas and outputs, and for literally changing my life. I can’t wait to get cracking, to learn, to develop, and to grow from this experience.

See you all soon!

Joe x

Hattie Kongaunruan

My name is Hattie Kongaunruan and I am the Fellow and Early Career Creative Producer at Manchester Museum for the performance space in their exciting **new** South Asia Gallery, due to open next year.

I am also a sculpture artist with a focus on repurposing furniture in my work, aiming to use the least amount of new materials as possible in my practice. This tends to centre on using chairs found on the street and off recycling sites, transforming them into individual characters and personalities, each reacting to how they have escaped their ususal fated ending in landfill. Participation, inclusion and creative arts for wellbeing are really important to my own enjoyment of art, I’m a freelance Family Workshop Artist and recently have enjoyed creating my print shop and leading Mindful Drawing workshops.

Things that get me up each day, what excites me are: visiting new cities/places, eating really tasty food, discovering new artists and clever chair art/design, and generally window shopping interior design ideas and homes. More specifically to the sector, exhibitions and events that really excite me are ones that are immersive, interactive and or multisensory, art that creates environments that break out, challenge and defy elitist ‘white cube’ aesthetics that still exist today. To relax, I enjoy yoga, watching films (and then reading vigorously about them), listening to music, drawing and collaging.

I’m so excited for this fellowship and hope to develop more skills, confidence and knowledge of the sector, to have a better understanding of different cultural institutions, their roles, and their funding. Hopefully this will help find long-standing pathways towards a more inclusive and representational sector with care at its centre, no tokenistic gestures! I also think this is a great opportunity not only to develop a great network with cultural organisations, but more importantly to build a long lasting community with the rest of the fellows, past the end of the development programme. And I hope we can meet in person soon!!

Hanna Louise

My name is Hanna, and I’m the new Associate Producer at Aberdeen Performing Arts.

I’m a writer, activist and community arts organiser.  For the past 3 years I’ve been co-producing an intersectional feminist performance night called Hysteria, which platforms women & non-binary creatives.  What first began as a wee open mic in Aberdeen has grown into a close-knit community of artists who support and uplift one another.  Hysteria was born out of the desire to see more diverse voices at local open mics, and that pretty much sums up my goal when it comes to producing.  I’m passionate about bringing untold stories to the stage/page.

In terms of my own practice, pre-pandemic I performed spoken word on a regular basis in Aberdeen on topics such as class, gender & disability.  However, I never managed to adapt to zoom performance nights (it’s so much scarier than performing to a bar full of half-drunk Aberdonians) so I’ve shelved my poetry practice for now to focus more on my other love: creative nonfiction.

What gets you out of bed in the morning / makes you tick? Breakfast!  Am I allowed to say that?

What do you do to relax? I try to meditate but I’m really bad at it.  I’m also a reality TV addict.  Like, early 2000s trash TV.  Sorry not sorry…

What are your hopes for your Fellowship role? I would like to find out more about what jobs are out there under the broad title of ‘producing’.  Before Weston Jerwood, I hadn’t even realised the work I was already doing was producing.  I would say ‘This is my dream job, it’s a shame you can’t get paid for it’ but it turns out you can!  So now I have the chance to scale that up and learn how to produce events on a bigger scale. Learning more about working in the arts beyond ‘it’s inaccessible to someone like me’ is a big hope.  That, and making connections with other creatives of a similar background.  But to be honest, I think my biggest hope is to emerge from the 12-month contract with more confidence.  I’m socially anxious and break out in cold sweats at the prospect of speaking in a zoom breakout room… so staying and enduring will hopefully toughen me up (that and reading the pile of public speaking books I’ve purchased in preparation for this – fingers crossed!).

Liam McCormick

Grace Collins

I’m Grace Collins (my pronouns are they/them) and I’m writer in residence for Heart of Glass, St Helens.

 

I’m an artist who likes to make work with other people (film, writing, chairs, chunky PDFs). I’m a student/member of School of the Damned, Studio Collective at Newbridge and Faculty North (currently trying to figure out why so many of these programmes exist). I’m also co-ordinator for Short Supply (Manchester) and I deliver peer support mental health training with With-You. This all melds together into something like a creative practice either by sending lots of emails or hiding in the studio.

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning / makes you tick? Practical chats (both physical and virtual) about how to make the world better for more people while shuffling around/through/under the crap systems we live with.

 

What do you do to relax? Eat a banana / have a nap / schedule some emails for 9am tomorrow.

 

What are your hopes for your Fellowship role? To figure out how to quantify the value a cup of tea shared between people, to get immersed in the creativity of my hometown and to make a fuss about how the arts can be more representative of more people.

Lizzie Lovejoy

My name is Lizzie Lovejoy, I work as Artist of Change at ARC Stockton. I’ve spent my whole life living and working in the Tees Valley and County Durham area, I love being Northern and producing work themed around the Northern experience, culture and heritage. I am a mixed media practitioner, I create reportage illustrations of people and places, and develop collages/ digitally coloured versions of these images. I am also a spoken work artist/poet, I write and perform works based on personal and cultural identity.

My favourite things are exploring local landmarks, galleries and hidden spots. I especially love walking the Cleveland Hills range and looking at the beautiful old buildings around the area. Anything celebrating history and people in an artistic way is fantastic. I do sometimes need help with these things due to neurological challenges, but I am always with my friends or family when I can be.

I find it very hard to switch off, I don’t so much relax as I do switch to a different project. But I do love to drink a peppermint tea with my best friends, especially if we can’t be outside in a park while we do.

My hope for the role is to get a better chance to tell peoples stories, celebrate the local people but also, more personally, to get another job at the end of it. To get to keep creating work on a liveable income, particularly in the Northern area. I’d also like to set up and run an event with the other fellows, I love collaboration.

Jodie Cole

Tessa Cavanna

Hiya, My name is Tessa Cavanna and I’m the Assistant Producer at OCM Events. At OCM we’re making live performances accessible to everyone and bringing music and sound sculpture of the times to the public. In my Role at OCM I’m assisting in creating and facilitating live music performances, and liaising with various members of our communities to see where we can assist in showcasing under- represented and local talent on a much bigger scale. My personal creative practice is Singing, Writing and Music production. Vocals are my first (and pretty much only) instrument.

I’m sociable and love working with and around people.

Singing live and performing live music is what makes me tick but the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is coffee and working with young people to help them realise and achieve their creative potential.

To relax I draw, make stencils, water my plants and listen to records.

My hopes for my fellowship role are that I can meet and connect with other creative people. I’d like to be a part of a wider network of creatives and be able to talk with and listen to each others experiences, concerns, ideas and solutions to problems we all share. I’d like to meet more people who are invested in pioneering new methods of education, outreach and support for young people through the arts. I’d love to be able to bring my skillset to a project outside of my work and explore collaborating with fellow artists.

Thanks for coming to my TessTalk, haha!

Liam Offord

What is your name, organisation, and role?

Hi, I’m Liam Offord, and I’ve just started today (June 1st) at New Writing South as a Trainee Creative Producer with a remit to nurture writing voices and communities in the Southeast reflecting the region’s full range of written, spoken, and digital voices.

Tell us a little bit about your creative practice

I’m a writer with a background mostly based in prose fiction and scriptwriting (particularly community theatre).

In prose, I usually create claustrophobic, character-based works that explore and challenge the human condition. I’m currently working on a novel, Shoreline, which uses an intersectional, feminist lens to examine masculinity.

My scriptwriting is diverse – I write for stage, screen, and audio in both comedic and dramatic form, but my real home is in community-based theatre projects. One of my proudest achievements was co-writing and producing a play in Norwich, with a mix of professional and amateur actors, documenting the story of 800 years of immigration in Norwich – covering topics from the testimony of Sudanese refugees to the city’s welcoming of Kindertransport children in WW2. The play toured around the city, and specifically went to working-class and deprived areas, which reflects my passion for creating art that is made by, and delivered to, non-traditional creatives and audiences.

What gets you out of bed in the morning / makes you tick?

The chance to learn something new! I always like to try and do something every day that I’ll be grateful for in the future. I enjoy seeking out new experiences, creatively and personally, and to hear new viewpoints and experiences from others.

On top of that, I constantly have to remind myself of my own privilege and biases and look for new ways to help others while I benefit from a patriarchal, white-centred system. I’m driven to pursue actions and conversations that dismantle those traditional power structures and instead elevate the voices of those who are consistently and systemically overlooked.

What do you do to relax?

Since it’s Summertime I’m relentlessly watching cricket. Nothing more relaxing than a long, salubrious test-match. (I understand some people may say ‘noting more boring’).

As well as that I’m a huge music fan. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Biig Piig, Squid, serpentwithfeet, Jayda G, and Do Nothing.

What are your hopes for your Fellowship role?

In the broadest sense I’m just hoping to learn more, from a mentor and my other fellows. And I hope I’ll be able to offer something worthwhile and informative as well.

Some of our initial conversations as a Fellows Network have already been really inspiring and I’m hoping to carry that energy forward and develop as a champion of radical thought and inclusivity, speaking truth to power on a political and national level, but also at an organisational level – within the company I’m working at as well as any future employers.

Independently, I’d like to develop as a freelance creative. I’m eager to discuss the advantages and difficulties of pursuing an ‘unstable’ career. I’m hoping to come out of this programme with an understating of how to maintain a career that is still healthy and rewarding while offering the opportunity to pursue my art as well as engaging with the art of others.

Maraiga Bailey

What is your name, organisation, and role?

Maraiga Bailey, Sheffield Museums, Curatorial Assistant (Exhibitions)

Tell us a little bit about your creative practice

I consider curating to be my creative practice. I like to think of curating as a socially engaged practice and exhibitions as ‘contact zones’ – places where visitors with different life experiences, knowledge, and opinions come together to experience, consider, and debate art and history. When curating, I try to push myself to think of novel and creative ways to use artworks and objects to facilitate such discussions between visitors. By doing this, I hope to enable visitors to engage with exhibited objects in their own way and on their own terms, and, through this, facilitate thinking about their relation to art, objects, and historical/contemporary debates. Through adopting this approach, my aims are to level the playing field of art interpretation and enrich debates around art and history with ideas and voices that typically are overlooked.

What gets you out of bed in the morning / makes you tick?

Strong coffee.

What do you do to relax?

To relax I like to watch stand-up comedy. My favourite comedian is John-Luke Roberts.

What are your hopes for your Fellowship role?

I hope to progress my curatorial practice through learning from other curators and to develop the confidence to implement my own curatorial ideas in upcoming exhibitions.

Duncan Butcher

Esme Allman

My name is Esme and I am the Participation Associate at Clean Break. I’m a poet, theatre-maker and facilitator. My work explores blackness and imagination through participatory arts. I enjoy viewing work from across disciplines, particularly photography, paintings and novels. I love to read and during the pandemic have enjoyed taking walks around my local area. I’m incredibly excited to be working at Clean Break and learn more about the organisation and their Members to build on my skill set and artistic practice.

Nina Newbold

My name is Nina and I’ve just started as an Assistant Producer at the Bluecoat arts centre in Liverpool. Before this I was working at a small logistics start-up in London whilst applying for more creative roles.

I’m interested in curatorial practice and arts education and I’m a strong advocate that the arts can be utilised for both individual and community wellbeing.

The sun shining is the best thing to get me out of bed in the morning! And failing that: coffee or a sense of excitement for something in my day, no matter how small. I love love love dancing around my room to music and eating chocolate croissants.

To relax I like reading, watching old BBC documentaries on youtube and just lying down!!

I really hope I leave this fellowship with new insight, skills and the confidence to help me pursue a long-term career in the cultural sector. I hope I gain some new friends who have similar creative interests as me and who want to make the world a more friendly and fun place!

Beatriz Lobo

Alô! I’m Beatriz, and I’ve been working as Programme Coordinator at The NewBridge Project since February.

I hold a BA in Museum Studies, and an MA in Curatorial Practice. My longest work experience so far was at the Museu do Índio (Museum of Brazilian Indigenous Cultures). After that, I moved to LA, then London, and spent most of my time working for free and testing the water in many different scenarios within the arts: from commercial galleries to Victorian museums, from fancy art fairs to DIY exhibitions in cafes. All those experiences shaped my practice in one way or another, even if it was just to find out what I didn’t want to be part of.

My curatorial practice is research-led and my main interests are decolonial studies, Latin American epistemologies and performance.  When I’m working with artists, I like to encourage them to collaborate with each other and experiment with new mediums outside their practice — and I always work towards creating a safe space for them to do so.

What gets you out of bed in the morning / makes you tick?Anxiety gets me out of bed pretty much every morning. But it’s the opportunity to meet new people and get to experience other cultures what excites me, and not losing my faith in non-western forms of knowledge keeps me going when things get hard.

What do you do to relax? For immediate relaxation, I spend extended periods of time thinking about absolutely nothing, listening to the same record in a loop with my eyes closed, or just doing my nails.

What are your hopes for your Fellowship role? From this fellowship, I’m hoping to give and receive some peer support, expand my network, find the resources and guidance to develop my practice, build my confidence, and have some fun. 🙂

Martina Corsini

Matthew Fearn

Hello, I’m Matthew and I’m the Visual Arts Assistant at Sunderland Culture.

My background is in graphic design, and most of my freelance work has been geared towards creating material for indie film productions. My role of Visual Arts Assistant is obviously focused more on art rather than design, which is an exciting change I’m really looking forward to.

What gets me out of bed in the morning; physically, is the immediate thought of ‘what biscuit should I have with my coffee?’. But spiritually, I would say that getting to ‘experience’ new things is what makes me tick. I’m always on the lookout for stuff that engages and inspires me. Whether that’s music, film, design, literature, news; I feel like I need to know about it all.

Outside of work, I relax by heading out with friends, getting food, scrolling Instagram. But you’ll probably find me at the cinema.

This Fellowship is such a fantastic opportunity, I just want to make sure I absorb everything I can! The world of visual art is still slightly new to me so I’m eager to learn about the different areas within the sector and gain a deeper knowledge of how my host organisation functions. I’m hoping to make some strong connections with the other Fellows and to develop a network with other like-minded early career creatives.

Jennifer Taggart

Hi, I’m Jennifer but everyone calls me Jenn. I am the Dance Artist at The Work Room and Tramway in Glasgow.

A bit about my creative practice –I focus on contemporary dance for professional work and like to make work that is thought provoking and tackles a variety of subjects using the music as inspiration. I also put particular emphasis on the costume to relate to the piece. I really enjoy collaborations with other artists from all disciplines and love hearing about their creative views and processes and I believe you can learn from everyone. My role with The Work Room and Tramway is going to give me the support to help me achieve and learn new things within the professional industry which I would not have been able to do otherwise, and I am so grateful.

I also teach contemporary dance within education and in the community where I teach a variety of dance styles from ages two years to adults at my school Jennifer Scott Dance. I will be able to pass things that I learn in this role onto my students and the community dance scene in Paisley which is amazing.

What gets me out of bed in the morning is my eight-month-old daughter Adalyn, I always get a big smile once she sees me so it’s a great way to start the day. Getting my eleven-year-old son Julian up for school is a different story!

To relax I like to watch an episode or two of a series on netflix or another platform – currently watching Greys Anatomy, a glass of wine also helps.

My hopes for my Fellowship role are to further develop my creative practice, learn new skills, make new connections, get more experience and learn all I can so that at the end of the year I am prepared and feel confident to promote my work as a dance artist and continue my journey working professionally.  I feel so lucky to be a part of this programme and have this job role – I can’t thank Weston Jerwood enough it’s a wonderful organisation and I am sure everyone is feeling the same as me.

Speak to you all soon 🙂