Case Study

“It was three full days of great, open conversations and support.”

Date published: 6 Jun 2023

Posted by: Joe Pick

Wall covered in Post-It notes

Elodie Horsewell is an 18 year old artist. She was invited to take part in our Artployment project by the team at People Express, an arts organisation based in South Derbyshire.

Co-financed by European Union through Erasmus+, our international Artployment project created resources to help those supporting young people who are interested in a creative career. The project addressed the problem of underemployment for young artists and creatives, producing an instructional toolkit. Elodie attended a course for artists and youth workers in the East Midlands based around the activities outlined in our toolkit.

She told us how the course supported her:

There are very few opportunities for young artists and creatives to learn business skills. When you’re interested in pursuing the arts professionally you are faced with a barrage of comments on how it’s “not financially viable” and how you’ll “never make it”. I realize now, having done the training, that this stereotype exists because there’s no infrastructure in place to help artists learn how to market themselves and conduct their businesses.

Artployment training at Broadway Cinema

The Artployment training was great. The activities were fun and engaging, and made me question how I think about my future as an artist. I hadn’t taken part in training specifically aimed at artists before. The environment was really good and the group was very generous. It was 3 full days of great, open conversations and support.

I really hadn’t expected the training sessions to have the atmosphere that they did, or that I’d be so inspired by the other people on the training. I think the sessions were set up in a way that really facilitated honesty and enthusiasm within the group. It felt very participatory. I wasn’t just learning from the people leading the training, I was learning from everyone.

Artployment training at Broadway Cinema

Some of the training was based around the “business model canvas”. It really made me ask questions about how I could market and sell my work, who my audience is, and what makes me unique and interesting as an artist. It’s easy to lack hope about your future when you want to pursue a career in the creative industries. I left the training feeling that it was worth pushing myself to pursue art as a career. Now the training has ended, that feeling still persists. It is shaping the way I think about my career and my future.

The activities instilled a confidence in me. Confidence that I could learn how to market myself; that I can run a business. They inspired me to take smaller steps in the short term towards a longer term goal, steps such as starting an online store and building a presence on social media. Talking to the workshop leaders helped me to think through what makes my work interesting and marketable. The diversity and range of experiences, aspirations, interests and successes within the group really inspired me too. It made me realize that there are people of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels pursuing creative hobbies and careers. It has inspired a shift in my mindset.

Three people talk to one another as part of a training session
Visiting Dizzy Ink as part of the Artployment project

Elodie’s experience on our Artployment training shows the important work City Arts is doing to support early career artist. The Artployment toolkit, a resource for those supporting young people with an interest in a creative career, can be downloaded for free from our website.

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