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Yorkshire Dance joins £1M bid to end middle class domination of arts organisations

Wed 27 September 2017
Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries

Forty of Britain’s biggest – and smallest – arts organisations will join a flagship £1 million scheme to help end the middle class domination of the arts by employing more graduates from lower income backgrounds.

Yorkshire Dance, Sage Gateshead, Turner Contemporary, Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and Touchstones Rochdale Art Gallery are amongst 40 arts organisations taking part in the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme. Each get funding to host a graduate placement from a low income background for 12 months in a role new to the organisation, significantly increasing the host organisation’s capacity. We are delighted that so many other dance organisations are recruiting for new positions under this programme including The Place, Dance4 and Fevered Sleep.

Yorkshire Dance will create a new full time post – Creative Projects Assistant (Producing) – to join the team at the company’s home in Leeds from January 2018.

The new role will be a unique opportunity for an emerging arts producer with an interest in developing a career in creative producing and the arts to get hands-on experience in the dance and performance industries. The successful recipient will be working as part of Yorkshire Dance’s artistic team, including working on our regular artist development programmes and events as well as a number of national and international partnership projects.

Furthermore the recipient will have the opportunity to attend an international festival and take part in a programme of tailored training workshops by the Jerwood Foundation which will significantly impact on their future career.

The bursary programme, now in its third and biggest phase, aims to open up entry level work opportunities for gifted graduates who received a full maintenance grant throughout university and who would struggle to do the unpaid work which acts as a gateway into the sector for up 88% of young people working in the arts today.

The programme has already delivered success, with a new evaluation report showing how 60% of employers on the last phase had extended contracts with placements, or made them permanent, once the actual bursary ended.

Kate Danielson, Programme Director said: “Diversity is absolutely fundamental to the continued success of UK art and culture – whether it is diversity of artists, audiences or those working for arts organisations.”

“The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries is about breaking down barriers to support this, levelling the playing field for young people from lower income backgrounds and making sure arts organisations can benefit from the skills and experience of all young talent.”

“This third phase is the most in-depth ever and we’re delighted to be working with 40 arts organisations who between them represent all corners of the country, a wide range of art forms and occupy very different positions within the wider arts and culture ecology of the UK.”

The Creative Bursaries programme, launched in 2010, also aims to embed diverse recruitment practices amongst the host organisations, share best practice across the sector about how to recruit as widely as possible to support diversity at entry level, and have an impact on the diversity and vibrancy of our future arts workforce.

For the first time ever, 12 of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary placements will get the chance to spend some of their year with an overseas arts organisation after the British Council joined the programme as a key delivery partner, and all 40 placements will attend an international arts festival together as part of the programme.

Under this third edition of the programme, host organisations will pay 25% of the placement’s wage, with the remaining 75% coming from the bursary fund. All placements will be paid according to the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended salary. Yorkshire Dance will be advertising for what we hope will be a life changing opportunity in October before launching the placement in the New Year.

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2017-19 programme is designed and managed by Jerwood Charitable Foundation in partnership with the British Council. It has been made possible through the combined support of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, CHK Charities Limited and PRS Foundation.


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