The Mo Siewcharran Fund has awarded its latest round of grants to four innovative, creative organisations in Leeds, London and Brighton, across publishing, theatre, music and art: Blast Theory, World Book Day, Come Play with Me and Arcola Theatre.
The Fund was set up five years ago in memory of Nielsen Books’ former director of marketing and communications, Mo Siewcharran, by her husband, John Seaton and is administered by leading diversity and inclusion social enterprise, Creative Access.
Mo Siewcharran was passionate about ensuring theatre and publishing were accessible to all and the grant funds internships for talent from Black, Asian and other ethnically diverse backgrounds to improve accessibility and representation in the creative industries.
Impact of the Fund
Since the Fund started in 2018, it has supported 36 Black, Asian and ethnically-diverse trainees in publishing, theatre and music across the UK. Its impact can be clearly seen across each sector: last year Creative Access found that two-thirds (63%) of interns supported by the Fund stayed on at their host organisation at the end of their traineeship, whilst 9 out of 10 (89%) trainees continued to work in the same sector.
On this latest round of recipients, founder of the Fund, John Seaton said:
“If I say I have recently felt personal sadness you will think I am giving the wrong quote. But, hear me out. The personal sadness was occasioned by the sixth anniversary of Mo’s death at the end of June. Thank goodness therefore for this vibrantly good news. It is a supreme pleasure for the Mo Siewcharran Fund to be assisting these four wonderful companies, diverse in both purpose and location, but united in their desire to create working communities where there are no barriers.”
The grants contribute to the salary of an intern for a six-month traineeship, and trainees benefit from a full programme of support from Creative Access to ensure that they thrive in their new role.
Brighton-based recipient Blast Theory make interactive art – including performance and theatre – to explore social and political questions. The group’s work places the public at the centre of unusual and sometimes unsettling experiences, to create new perspectives and open up the possibility of change. On being awarded the Fund, Business Director Anne Rupert said:
“We are thrilled to receive support from the Mo Siewcharran Fund and Creative Access. Our paid internships offer a great opportunity for learning and skills development: building confidence and opening up career prospects. Working with Creative Access will enable us to offer a longer placement and reach people who are often excluded from these types of opportunities.”
Recipient World Book Day is a small charity with big ambitions, committed to improving diversity and inclusivity in children’s literacy and reading. Its vision as a charity is to see more children, from all backgrounds, developing a life-long habit of reading for pleasure, benefiting from the improved life chances this brings them. Chief Executive, Cassie Chadderton said:
“Funding from the Mo Siewcharran fund will provide a supported entry route to a charity playing a vital role in encouraging more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to experience the life-changing benefits of reading for pleasure.”
The Fund was also granted to Arcola Theatre, one of the UK’s only theatres founded and run by first-generation migrants. Over 20+ years, they have consistently created responsive, high-quality theatre by and about the lived-experience of people of marginalised backgrounds. Leyla Nazli, Executive producer said:
“As a diverse led organisation, Arcola is always looking for ways to develop the next generation of theatre makers from the Global Majority. We are proud to be partnering with Creative Access and grateful for the support of the Mo Siewcharran Fund.”
The Fund is once again open for other theatre, publishing or music organisations wishing to support internships for those from under-represented communities.
Those interested in applying should contact email@example.com. The deadline for the next round of applications is Friday 1st December 2023.