Amelia Daiz is a 27 year old artist based in Nottingham.
Amelia joined City Arts’ Young Producer group in 2015. Whilst studying for her a Fine Art degree at Nottingham Trent University, a fellow course member gave a presentation about the work they’d been doing with the group. Young Producers is a group for 18-30 year olds looking to be a part of Nottingham’s thriving creative scene. Since joining she has produced events, showcased art, led workshops, helped organise a festival and performed poetry and comedy at City Arts.
Recently, Amelia did a placement with City Arts as part of her Master’s degree in Socially Engaged Arts Practice. She helped curate and organise a series of online exhibitions with the Institute of Mental Health. She led an evaluation session looking at our PoGo app. Amelia also joined us on a professional development trip to Colombia, investigating how best to support young people entering the creative industries.
She spoke to us about the impact of her engagement with City Arts over the years.
When I joined Young Producers, I was looking for opportunities to be involved with the local art scene. I wanted to get involved with an arts organisation that could be helpful to my career. I wasn’t sure where to begin going about things like organizing an event or teaching a workshop, or anything really. I thought it could help me learn those skills.
One of the standout points for me is the whole trajectory of being involved with Nottingham Poetry Festival. The event, Wordplay, that we put on for the festival was one of the first I really headed up. I thought it would be like a fringe event, but Tommy came along with Henry . They really liked that we were showing a different side to poetry – something between poetry and art.
So many things have spiraled off from that. Henry Normal became City Arts’ patron. I was the support for Henry Normal for one of his online shows at Nottingham Poetry Festival. I’ve had a huge amount of encouragement. All this has come from one fringe event; I didn’t know that it was gonna be so important to my life. It’s amazing how that event kicked off a kind of butterfly effect.
After I left university, the social element of Young Producers became really, really important. It’s actually really vital to staying involved with the arts. A lot of other people on my course felt lost once they graduated, suddenly the network of university had fallen away. Being able to still be involved in the arts, and having a group of friends that were interested in doing something different and creative, was really important to me. Maintaining those connections is something that’s been very valuable to me, both emotionally and in terms of career development.
The important role Young Producers played in the direction my life has taken was very unexpected. I’ve worked in teaching, workshop facilitation, performance. A lot of these things can be traced back to something I tried for the first time at City Arts. The projects we’ve done have pushed me in different directions in my career. I can’t imagine how I would have got to these places otherwise. I thought I would have received more mentoring and networking opportunities from Uni. Actually, it’s City Arts that has provided that.
I’ve developed lots of skills: project management, people management, teaching, promotional and marketing skills, budgeting, producing risk assessments, negotiating with artists, curating and administration. When we did the ‘Our Place’ film project I picked up a lot of technical knowledge to do with filmmaking. Because I’ve gained so many more skills, I am just more capable. I’m less nervous of saying, “I can do this, I can handle a project.”
There’s a really supportive environment, coming from both the other members of Young Producers and City Arts’ staff. Having that supportive community has really helped my self-confidence, especially when it comes to trying new things. It’s a very understanding and welcoming space to try new things. City Arts puts their faith and trust in us – to produce events, to showcase art – and that helps us rise to occasion. It’s led to me being more capable and therefore able to get jobs and take up opportunities outside of City Arts.
Amelia’s story shows the important role City Arts plays in supporting young and emerging creatives as they leave education and enter the arts sector. She credits many of the professional opportunities that have come to her post university to her involvement in Young Producers.
Postscript: In the time since this case study was published, Amelia has taken on the role of Associate Artist at Nottingham Contemporary.