17 February 2014back

Creative Internships Blog Week 16

Sinéad Owens, WheelWorks

There is no way I can squeeze into this blog the amount of learning and valuable opportunities I have experienced through this internship with WheelWorks. However, I will give it a try. 

As I mentioned in my previous blog one of my main duties in WheelWorks is the renewal of the ArtCart resource. I am extremely proud to say that this process is moving forward brilliantly. After a successful funding application we began the planning for the programme and have just recently, as part of a wider YCNI ICT project, launched a consultation process with young people, youth leaders and artists called ‘Kick Start the new ArtCart’. I believe this is a fantastic opportunity to hear what others have to say on the resource as we believe their input is vital in the inception of the new ArtCart.  

I must say, the master classes and workshops that have been made available to me through Arts & Business NI have been completely invaluable. Each one has taught me something different and the speakers have been inspirational and thought provoking. One of my favourite events was a Masterclass with Ken Burnett, director of Clayton Burnett and internationally recognised author and consultant on fundraising, where he told us that “fundraising has two ‘i’s: innovation and inspiration”. 

Truth be told I am really enjoying the funding side of the job. Some might say it’s like keeping the ‘fun’ in ‘fundraising’. Sorry, horrible pun! I have learnt that every application is different and each funder or sponsor expects different things. I feel very fortunate to be working alongside a team who are willing to teach me new skills and tips every day. Learning to complete the different types of applications has proved very interesting for me and I must say the feeling of pride you get when you hear that one of your applications has been successful is great. Not only have I been focusing on funding applications but I have also had the opportunity to carry out research into trusts and foundations, the possibility of a patron for WheelWorks and research into new business partnerships through Arts & Business NI. I find all of these different tasks to be informative and educational, which is great as I will be able to take these skills with me into any future job.

W. Clement Stone once stated ‘definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.’ Here at WheelWorks our purpose is to provide disadvantaged and marginalised young people with access to high quality arts activity. This is the underlying purpose for each and every activity that we provide, which helps young people to learn new skills and express themselves through traditional and digital art. Selecting the most skilled and experienced artists ensures that the young people have positive, stimulating and creative experiences. Recently our achievements have been celebrated through the winning of the NI Young People Award at the wonderful Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards 2014, a category with many other extremely worthy youth arts organisations such as the Ulster Orchestra and the Lyric Theatre. Everyone is incredibly humbled and proud of this award which recognizes ‘the harnessed power of the arts to engage young people’. 

There have been so many other highlights since the start of this internship, from a high profile launch in Stormont to our most recent exhibition (which is still running) in the Ulster Hall to the publishing of press releases in local papers, including the Newsletter. I can’t say enough how happy I am to be placed in WheelWorks and I look forward to coming in to work each day. 

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