Creative Access En Pointe for March 2018 Masterclass
Last night we held our March workshop at touring contemporary dance company Rambert. Approximately 50 young people, made up from Creative Access interns and alumni, came along to hear from a fantastic panel of Rambert staff, with panelists ranging from dancers to archivists.
We were thrilled to be in the beautiful Rambert building, hearing from one of the most fascinating and diverse panels we’ve ever had at a Creative Access masterclass.
First up we heard from the Chief Executive of Rambert, Helen Shute, who welcomed the audience and was proud to be at the helm of Britain’s oldest dance company, emphasising that;
“A company like Rambert is a company for everyone”
Beginning our panel discussion, was Liam Francis, who joined Rambert as an apprentice dancer in 2014 and now dances with them full time. Liam only started dancing professionally at 18 and had some amazing advice and heartfelt advice for the audience, including:
- Find role models and ask them what problems they’ve had in their careers, so you are ready if you meet those hurdles.
- If you have a different background / training from your colleagues, own it. Use what makes you unique.
- Create your own luck – if you’re open to opportunities, they are easier to seize.
- Don’t become overly focused on your weaknesses, to the point you neglect your strengths.
Next, we heard from Rambert Finance Officer, Christine Williams, who always wanted to work in the arts but was pushed to do accountancy by her parents.
On her career, Christine says that working in Finance for Rambert allows her to combine her qualifications with a love of dance and art. ‘It all came together and I just love it, i pinch myself everyday. This covers everything I enjoy’.
Her number one bit of careers advice is to network, network, network, tell everyone what you want to do and keep telling them.
The brilliant Mekel Edwards, Production Manager for LIFT festival, told the audience about how he started doing drama at Hackney Empire on Saturdays. His love of djing and music got him from performing to doing technical work and then Production Management.
Like many areas backstage, technical management still has problems with diversity. Mekel said ‘I can count the number of young black technicians I know on one hand, but the number is always growing. So keep going.’
Archivist Carly Randall was a great reminder of how often, the archive is one of the most exciting places in a creative organisation. She emphasised how important the archive at Rambert is to the company, being a launchpad for community engagement and inspiring the companies work.
‘Rambert is incredible proud of their history. They’ve really interpreted the collection into the day to day, it is not hidden away in the basement’.
If you are interested in getting involved in a creative archive, Carly advises going on building tours, visiting the archives, asking lots of questions and showing how engaged you are.
Company Pianist Yshani Perinpanayagam aka Creative Access HQs new favourite pianist talked about the importance of visibility when you are diverse in an un-diverse industry, she said:
‘I’m increasingly trying to make myself more visible. More visible in terms of being more happy about being competent. More visible in terms of the box I am in.
An Asian child approached me recently when I was conducted and said “I’ve never seen anyone that looks like us on charge before”.
Just hearing that taught me not to hide myself, but to be braver and speak up!‘
She advised the audience to “Chase the joy. You don’t necessarily know what you’re going to do. The more open and honest you are about that to yourself and other people, the more you can keep developing and trying new things.”
Last up, we heard from Head of Operations Rambert, Tigho Ayovuare. When you are networking with organisations, it really is the Operations team, not the artistic director or artists, who hold the most useful bits of information and advice. So take note …
Her biggest advice was too emphasise your transferable skills. She said ‘If you’ve worked in a bar, or a shop, they are brilliant skills. They show you can handle money and work with different people. When applying for jobs, don’t think, I don’t have this, I don’t have that … think about what you do have. Don’t underestimate yourself. Sell the best of yourself.’
“Be kind, be friendly, be approachable. Create your own opportunities. We’ve grown up without privileges, we need to create our own networks and opportunities.”
We would like to thank our wonderful panel for their incredible advice, honesty and inspiration and to the Rambert for hosting the evening and for their ongoing support.
Also a massive thank you to our audience for your inquisitiveness and brilliant contributions. We know in a few years it’ll be you on our panels inspiring the room!