The team behind the Manchester International Festival (MIF) shared their varied career journeys as well as insights into working on major events with our community in our latest industry Masterclass.
Ebony Montague chaired the discussion. Ebony joined MIF in 2019 in the role of HR Administrator, having previously worked in a call centre environment. Working across recruitment, induction, training and development Ebony supports the wider MIF team. In opening the discussion she spoke of how exciting, challenging, and rewarding it was to work in events. She then introduced four of her colleagues and, between them, they spoke all things career paths, career tips, and festivals.
Kiah Simpson joined MIF in 2018 as a Content Producer, developing content that communicates the work of MIF and The Factory and that sparks discussion. He also works closely with creative teams on projects that involve new, cutting edge digital technologies. When asked about what he enjoyed most about working in festivals, he explained that it was the ability to collaborate that fulfilled him:
“Collaboration! Working together with different colleagues and freelance artists to create one single goal, seeing it come together, and thinking ‘I was part of that’. That is my favourite part of the job.“
Having joined MIF in 2018 after a career acting as Director of Castlefield Gallery and a variety of freelance roles, Kwong Lee is one of the MIF’s core Producing team and is responsible for taking new commissions/events from development of the idea to its presentation to the public. Kwong spoke about the attitude needed to succeed in the demanding and ever-changing world of event production. He advised going above and beyond and showing a real thirst for learning.
“Keep communications open, be organised, and ask those questions. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, create your own opportunities.“
Rosannah Jones joined MIF in 2018 as Creative Engagement Assistant having previously undertaken voluntary work with young people and worked in Events and Customer Service jobs, before moving into her new role at MIF as Engagement Coordinator. She spoke of her love of working with the local people of Manchester to put on this event. She also added that even in a junior role there is a misconception that you can’t make a difference. However, she was adamant that ‘you can absolutely do that’.
Yvonne Hepburn-Foster joined Manchester International Festival in 2018 as Trusts & Foundations Manager, having gained experience in the corporate, cultural and voluntary sectors. She spoke about her own journey and left the audience with a fantastic piece of advice.
“To make a difference, show up and be your brilliant best.“
We would like to thank the MIF team for sharing their experiences with us. If you are interested in a career in the creative industries, don’t forget to check out our current opportunities. We also thank all those who attended and contributed to the discussion by asking questions to our panel.
You can watch the full Masterclass here.