2 June 2015back

Creative Internships Blog Week 34

Lauren Swain, National Theatre Wales

I didn't entirely know what I was signing up for when I undertook one of the places on Arts & Business Cymru’s Creative Internship programme, or what I would make of fundraising. However, I can honestly say that over the last two years on the programme I have learnt an incredible amount and met so many brilliant individuals. This is my final blog while contracted with A&B Cymru, placed at National Theatre Wales (NTW), but I have one more to write in June, by which time I will already be in my new job as a Fundraising Executive with the Funding Centre - but more about that next time. A&B Cymru, each of the programme funders and all of the partnering organisations have together developed an important career step for recent graduates, providing the chance to take on responsibilities that are crucial, but otherwise hard to access, and make it possible for participants to gain the skills to apply for fully fledged arts roles.

The programme has learning at its centre and not the pressure to earn your keep as it were. This is helped by the grant support A&B Cymru secure from enthused trusts and foundations, which enables each arts organisation to afford taking on and putting time into those completely new to the profession. This opportunity of paid internships enables entry-level individuals to accomplish high quality achievements in fundraising, in very hands-on environments. I have had the opportunity to learn about fundraising in a real setting, working with real fundraisers. These experiences have put each intern in excellent stead to fulfil their desired outcomes and launch a career in the arts.

My experiences have been a window into a line of work that is varied, challenging and still very close to the art itself. These are roles where the arts can still inspire you and where you get to write about them creatively. The arts and writing have always been two things I loved at school and university and it has been amazing to find that I can not only apply them to a useful job but that they are skills that are actually needed. I used to find myself in a quandary about what good an art degree would really do me in the long run. But without that specialism, amongst a few alternative qualifications, I wouldn't have been eligible to apply for the Creative Internships programme. I have come to appreciate that all sorts of qualities and characters are valuable in fundraising. A&B Cymru value the fact that creative people offer all sorts of skills that are perfect for a development environment and chose to pursue this avenue when seeking to address Wales’ lack of fundraisers.

Overall the internship has meant a lot to me! It has been an opportunity to learn and be inspired about what fundraising is, how great fundraisers work and the role fundraising plays within inspiring organisations. I think I have most enjoyed gaining a new level of appreciation for art forms, because you understand the work that goes on behind the scenes to make them happen. Ultimately, interns have the opportunity to learn on the job alongside highly experienced individuals and, in turn, organisations gain the extra capacity they need to engage communities and reach audiences: new generations of arts practitioners enabling new generations of arts participation. I would definitely encourage anyone looking to work for an arts organisation to seriously consider A&B Cymru’s offer – I have had a wonderful and very beneficial 2 years!

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