Case study of a Severn Arts Assistant Producer

Martha fell into the arts partly by accident. She left school unsure of what she wanted to do. She started Sixth Form College, but dropped out because it didn't feel right. After working for six months she came across a BTech Level 3 diploma in Events Management and Hospitality and absolutely loved it. She did work experience at the Three Counties and Malvern Community Centre and graduated with a distinction. Knowing what to do next was less straightforward. Martha was working as Warehouse Manager when she came across the Severn Arts apprenticeship. This seemed right because it gave more hands-on experience. Martha was over the moon to get the apprenticeship and then to get a distinction for it, which has led into a role at Severn Arts as Assistant Producer.

As Martha explains: “The Severn Arts apprenticeship was exactly what I needed. I hadn’t intended to go into outdoor arts but I fell in love with it."

 "Through the Severn Arts apprenticeship I was introduced to this whole new world of the arts that I didn't know existed. And to do this in the city I grew up near was really special."

Martha says the apprenticeship has really developed her organisational skills: “Working on multiple events at one time means you need to be organised.” She has also developed her confidence and communication skills from dealing with so many different people, having to tailor her communication, whether to an artist or a local landlord (Crowngate). Martha worked on a festival, Same But Different, which engaged artists with many years’ experience of the sector. In November 2021, she worked on a youth-curated festival, The Rising (begins), which involved emerging artists, and so progressed to deliver the additional layer of support that they needed.

Martha says her confidence has grown enormously from the level of responsibility and support she has been given: “If, a year ago, you would have told me I would have been producing an event on the scale of the Rising Begins, I would have laughed.” 

"My confidence has grown from everyone telling me I have done an amazing job. Having support from managers raises you up. The more experience you have the more you feel you can do."

Martha observes that apprenticeships sometimes have a stigma – as if they are a lesser experience than university education. However, her experience is that this is completely untrue. Although she loved her diploma, she has learnt much more from working with Severn Arts as it suits her experiential learning style. “Doing it and seeing it in the flesh has made such a drastic change in my understanding.” Martha has also learnt what the arts do for people in terms of inspiration and creativity. “It was a world I had no idea about it. When I became involved I could see how much the arts are needed and that the arts are more needed than ever to bring people together. The arts have such a range of what they can do for people and places.”

Before joining Severn Arts, Martha would have said that Worcester doesn't have a lot going on. She wouldn't have looked at Worcester as a place to find arts. She would have gone to the big cities. Now her view has changed. "What we are doing with the Arches is so needed and the fact I can offer that to my city is such a massive source of pride. I don't see the city in the same way. The Light Nights have given a real buzz to the city and that remains even when the festival is not on."

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