Fran's Blog

SLP’s Meet a Mentor programme

In April 2016, the School of Logical Progression launched their employability and skills programme, Meet a Mentor.

Each Meet a Mentor session brings together a cohort of mentors and mentees and includes talks, panel discussions and workshops (CV surgeries, pitching & interview skills, panel discussions etc) as well as inspirational talks from interesting people with stories to tell about their jobs or their journey to their jobs, plus allocated time for the mentor and mentee to spend getting to know each other and looking at specific issues relevant to each individual.

For further updates on the blog, SLP and the Meet a Mentor programme, please refer to SLP’s blog page. SLP’s blog is updated frequently wth posts about funding, SLP’s progressprofiles on the Mentees and personal accounts about each Meet a Mentor session.

To listen to a guest talk by the Young Poet Laureate London, Selina Nwulu during the second Meet a Mentor session, click here!

What’s in a Mentor?

Have a listen to the newly relaunched Sound Women podcast.

Every month the Sound Women team will be focussing on a different topic and this one takes an in-depth look at the role of a Mentor.

Radio and TV Presenter Kate Thornton is joined in the studio by Caroline Raphael (ex BBC Radio 4 Commissioner, Editorial Director of Audio at Penguin Random House) and myself.

We cover all bases, starting with What a Mentor actually is, how to be a good one, how to get the most out of being a mentee, the Do’s and Don’ts of networking, good CV etiquette and making the most of your own voice.

Creativity Works, Panic! Programme, 2015 – What Happened to Social Mobility in the Arts?

Here is my guest blog post from A New Direction’s website, on the experience of working on this year’s PANIC programme

On Friday (4th December) 2015, our group of 26 participants from the Panic! Programme attended the last debate in a season of discussions, screenings and gigs shining the spotlight on social mobility in the arts.

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The last debate focussed on DIY culture, a well-trodden route for mavericks and creatives for generations (think: Northern Soul, Punk, Grime, Dubstep, Acid House, Indie, Mods, SKA, and New Wave to name but a few).

Nowadays though when it comes to looking to routes into employment, especially in the arts and creative industriesis it easier or harder than it used to be to get noticed? Can you make it without the backing of an expensive education, a wealthy family, or a reality TV show? And what role does social media play in helping or hindering that journey? The panel – which included speakers ranging from Island Records A&R and marketing manager, Alex Boateng, to punk musician and film-maker, Zilah Minx – chewed over some of these issues.

At the end of the debate during the audience Q&A our very own Panic! participant, Rebecca Legister-Anderson, was able to put a question to the panel. She asked for advice on how young people can position themselves to stand out and showcase their work, especially online, in such a saturated market and what practical steps can be taken to do so. It was a good question, and not the first time the group had been part of the discussions. At the Barbican’s debate – aptly titled GRIT, looking at what barriers young people face when finding and staying in work – Symphonni, Lizzie and Nadia, all shared their own stories, adding authenticity, diversity and young voices to the mix. (For more on that debate you can read Rebecca’s GRIT blog post here and you can read about Shahira’s experience of the programme here).

As well as contributing at each of the debates, which took place at The GuardianBarbican and Goldsmiths, the group were also on hand to help out. Dressed in their Panic! t-shirts, they guided people to their seats, and documented and evaluated proceedings.

I have had the pleasure of being on some of their journey with them, for arranging some of their workshops and media training days, and over-seeing the creation of 23 pieces of fantastic content devised and produced by them, ranging from Zines, Blogs, Vlogs and Podcasts all delving a little deeper into the broad themes of the Panic! programme: Does a career in the Arts leave you forever in Debt? Are university degrees fit for purpose? Do more diverse workforces make for more dynamic and exciting places to work and train? Is London’s Reputation as a creative leader over? Is it easier or harder to make it in the Arts now and does technology help or hinder the journey? Are just some of the questions that have been posed.

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Along the way they’ve met and consulted with award winning story tellers, participatory arts practitioners, photographers, illustrators, journalists, radio producers, authors, bloggers, editors, festival directors, spoken word poets, ravers, ex-ravers, artists, street artists, fashion editors, professors, course-leaders, graduates, and non graduates. They’ve been on a tour of the Sky News Desk, seen a promenade performance piece by The Big House Theatre Company, and learned some serious networking skills!

They’ve also conducted their own research – from twitter polls to vox pops – set up YouTube Channels, WordPress Blogs, designed their own Zines, broadcast themselves, honed their writing, editing, interviewing, presenting and debating skills, been given a mentor, and have all completed their Arts Award Silver qualification.

In addition to unleashing their creativity, they all took part in work experience placements across London in a range of arts and media organisations including Media Trust, Hackney Museum, Somethin’ Else, The Barbican, English Pen, Create London to name but a few. Some of these placements have led to full time work offers.

Rebecca interviews Sam Friedman from LSE -GRIT

It has been a privilege to get to know them all and the range and depth of the content created has been truly impressive. Special thanks goes out to Producer Dan Moss and to Caroline and the studio team at Somethin’ Else for all the help and support with the Podcasts.

For more information on Panic! and to check out all the fantastic content in detail, please visit the Panic! blog with an introduction from course participant Kiara Noble.

For the edited highlights of the Panic! podcasts, you can listen here or for the full versions, click here. Please watch, read, enjoy all the blogs, vlogs and Zines here.

For more photos click here.

Panic! is a partnership project between Create London, The Barbican, Goldsmiths, The Paul Hamlyn Trust, Be Open, delivered by Create London and A New Direction, supported by The Mayor’s Fund for London.

Impressions of a young summer intern – a guest post by Joe Mason

Here is a guest blog post by Joe Mason from the School of Logical Progression‘s blog.

Pixie Lott, coffees, and running

I’m a week into my internship at Somethin’ Else, a content company who create radio and tv programs, films, digital, apps, and work with brands. I first came into contact with them a few years ago while on the Headstart program, run by A New Direction who share the same building. Since the 2012 Games I’ve been relatively quiet on the blogging front, concentrating on my studies and now go into my final year at university! Anyway, this is a good excuse to get back on the blog.

Being a general intern at Somethin’ Else is a great opportunity to learn and get involved with a vast array of creative areas. During my first week I spent two days as a runner for a film crew working with the likes of Pixie Lott and yes, doing a lot of running. Being a runner is the first foot in the door in this exciting industry and it was inspiring to see how a crew come together from the director to the gaffer, and the producer to the cameramen. So here are my ten top tips for being a runner from what I’ve learnt so far:

1. Don’t be on time. Be early. It shows you’re reliable and enthusiastic and gives you more time to help with tip 2.

2. Learn everyone’s names. I try to put name to job title which helps especially when everyone seems to have a four or five letter name beginning with J. (Yes, my name’s Joe…)

3. Eye contact. I always try to keep eye contact when listening to anyone in life but it’s so valuable with your team and those above you.

4. It’s obvious but be comfortable with making hot drinks in the various ways even if you don’t drink them!

5. Have a smart phone with data and full battery. It comes in very handy with maps and notes is also useful with taking down food and drink orders.

6. Dress appropriately. I learnt this the hard way unfortunately. Turning up to my first shoot in thick black jeans and a shirt on a hot summer’s day was stupid and made the day very sweaty. However, speaking to one of the crew that day he said he had seen a girl turn up in high heels once… she didn’t last long.

7. Bring a small rucksack. This will help to carry lunch and your money/receipts.

8. Run. Not in a crazy, out of control manner, but if the nearest shops are 15 mins away then you need to get your skates on.

9. Be honest. If you don’t know what a piece of equipment is that someone’s got you to collect, tell them.

10. Show interest. At the end of the day you’re there to learn (especially if you’re not being paid) so ask questions and try to get involved.

That’s my advice! More to come over the next few weeks.

BBC Introducing and the Manchester Jazz Festival

Week 2 on the internship merged two of my favourite things, jazz and Manchester, which teamed up last Friday night at Band on the Wall where I helped BBC Radio 3‘s Jazz on 3 record the event. Four contrasting, upcoming bands were selected by BBC Introducing and performed half hour sets which will be broadcast in next week’s Jazz on 3 (10th Aug @ 11pm).

My favourite of the groups was the first, an (almost) all girl group from South London called Nérija. The Hebrew word means lamp (or light) of God and such powerful energy is ubiquitous in their sound. Listen out for their unique style which blends jazz improvisation with afro-beats and I was particularly impressed by Sheila Maurice-Grey on trumpet, and Guitarist Shirley Tetteh, the latter who took lead in the changing atmosphere during their set. Maurice-Grey’s clean tone, mature presence, and versatile solos were impressive and she was my stand out performer of the event.

nerija

My role on the night was assisting with the production team whilst helping out the artists with any requirements. It was new and interesting to see how the sound engineer and one of the producers spent the whole evening parked outside the club in a small, sweaty, high-tech van listening to the event and doing their individual jobs. The whole day taught me a lot about events management and radio production. The role of radio producer is becoming ever more appealing to me and I appreciate the way they find the balance between what will work live and what will go well in the program, and how they interact and benefit each other.

Essential Classics

Another radio program I’ve worked with on my internship at Somethin’ Else has been BBC Radio 3’s Essential Classics. I’ve shadowed the producer and broadcasting assistants at interviews, editing sessions and in the BBC Broadcasting House for the live shows. This has given me great insight into how a daily radio program is put together, and has inspired me to work in radio. Hear the most recent Essential Classics’ full interview here with Rick Wakeman.

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On Thursdays I also help produce the audio book versions of the Economist for their subscribers. These have definitely been the hardest working and most fulfilling days. I do a range of jobs including editing, where I receive the raw articles and edit them on Cubase Elements into the final versions that the subscribers hear. I hope to use these skills more in the future.

Final Impressions

After a month interning at Somethin’ Else, I’m far more enthusiastic about entering the creative media industries.

I learnt most from shadowing professionals and asking them questions. Radio provided me with the most opportunities to get involved, especially with BBC Radio 3’s Essential Classics, where I saw every side to the team. In general, radio seems more attractive to me and hopefully I can pursue this along with my musical studies.

Film and TV were also exciting to work in and my interest in photography came in handy there. My time spent working in the office and at reception taught me valuable skills and built my confidence in the professional environment.

I thoroughly recommend interning at Somethin’ Else.

Joe

Glimpsing the past, present and future – a guest post by Kimberley Nyamhondera

Here is a copy of my guest blog post for the School of Logical Progression‘s blog.
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I spent Friday 24th July 2015 at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane for Supa Academy‘s Supa Market, an event that brought together 500 young people to learn, share ideas and network with other young adults and companies across the technology, creative and business industries.

My role on the day was to provide the attendees with more information on the School of Logical Progression, a year-long programme that connects young people and employers in the creative industries to help target the mismatch of skills and lack of diversity that currently exists in the creative industry.

It’s an initiative that I think is necessary, as someone who didn’t even think that the creative industries would be viable or accessible to me before I started to navigate through it as a Social Media Journalist on A New Direction’s Headstart Programme, aged 16. At 20, I’ve realized that it’s very much based on who you know rather than what you know. The buzz-phrase that employers love to throw around and deliver with glee is ‘you need experience,’ which is funny to me because to gain experience, you need experience. It eventually begins to feel like you’re boxed in and bouncing between the four walls, whilst people look in but refuse to lend a hand and help you out.

Chatting to my peers, who were concerned about their place in the industry felt a lot like reliving my past. They mentioned skills they wanted to acquire such as creating and maintaining a blog and responding to briefs, which I had learnt on the Headstart programme. It felt good to champion SLP, as someone who has worked with Fran, Oliver and Charlie and is a graduate of sorts, of their collaborative programmes.

Talking to some of the graduates, students and self-starters at the Hack Day reaffirmed my belief in how necessary it is to change tact when it comes to getting involved in the creative industries. We ran a simple exercise asking people to comment on how ready and well equipped they felt for their dream job or career and write it down on a piece of card. It was a question that caused many to pause.

When collecting the cards up and after chatting to some of the attendees that made their way to the Brain Room, I noticed similar fears and concerns about the future. There was a lot of excitement about delving into an industry that they didn’t know everything about but were enthused by what they did know.

At the same time, there were concerns about the skills needed and the experience that was necessary to enter the industry. I spoke to many students, who felt that even though they were learning particular skill-sets in their degrees, this did not necessarily translate into a profession. I’m currently undertaking a degree in English and I definitely understand this uncertainty and anxiety about what I’m working towards now and in the future.

I feel reassured by the fact that many people are in the same position as me and even more so by the fact that there were quite a few companies that wanted to change the way that people access and get involved in the creative industries. Hopefully it means that hard work, determination and enthusiasm really begin to pay off.
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Gap Years and Pastures New – Guest Blog

I have known Kimberley since January 2010 when she impressed our selection panel at A New Direction looking to recruit 5 out of 35 year 10 students from Stoke Newington Secondary School in Hackney and was chosen to take part in a unique Olympic focussed journalism project including a trip to Vancouver. During that time, I have witnessed Kim blossom from a bright and articulate but rather shy 15 year old girl, into the confident, tenacious, determined, capable and considered young woman she has become. She has taken part in a number of schemes that I have run since 2010 whilst simultaneously doing her voluntary work, completing her GCSE’s and A Levels. Over the past year, she has worked a day a week as my assistant, carrying out research, writing some content for my website, as well as conducting interviews (audio and filmed) contributed to brainstorms and even attended the occasional production meeting. Kim has a particular flair for using words to capture an emotion or a situation and has made a very unique version of spoken word impressionistic photo poems her own. Here’s one she wrote after our 2010 trip to Vancouver.

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The 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics trip

On the eve of a new chapter in her life as she prepares to ship all her stuff up to Nottingham to read English Literature, Kimberley  Nyamhondera reflects on this past gap year and valuable lessons she has learned in getting to know herself.

Guest blog by Kimberley Nyamhondera on Gap Year’s and Pasture’s New: 

The beginning of this year was tinged with nerves. I knew I wanted a gap year; out of education and the rigid routine I’d known for the last 10 years but I wasn’t ready to ‘discover’ myself by spending months and months abroad. I wanted my discovery, of sorts to take me out of my comfort zone but I was also wanted to use my time to do something that was meaningful on a more personal level and admittedly, a bit closer to home. Changes felt like they were happening too quickly and I wasn’t quite ready to carve out a path on my own.

When Fran offered me a role as an assistant, half of me realised that I was so far removed from the girl starting out at school, sitting at the front on the carpet poised and ready to absorb and learn and the other half of me was ready and excited at the idea of using my perspective as a young person to be able to help shape the nature of the youth debates and other work and events she was working on over the course of the year.

My official role saw me working as an assistant for Fran and helping to facilitate her projects to give young people from various backgrounds an opportunity to gain experience and network in the creative industries in London. This was a truly valuable experience as it allowed me to amongst many things, to contribute to organizing a series of youth debates for 15-25 year olds at Free Word Centre, centered around the theme of young people and their feelings about Trust in relation to those who shape and govern our society in some way. My role in these debates, extended to researching and generating content for each one, for example interviewing Brian Cathcart, journalist and Director of Hacked Off – the campaign for free and accountable press, and human rights lawyer and civil liberties campaigner, Gus Hosein, Director of Privacy International. I was also commissioned to write a blog piece in response to one of the debates and a spoken word poem in response to another.

Over the course of the year, I felt more and more at ease within the role and enjoyed setting up blogs, working on interview skills and networking with creative industry insiders. This all filtered in between discussions about what I wanted to do next and how our next project could be tailored to allow me the chance to develop a skill I wanted to explore such as writing poetry, blogging or interviewing. This was most important to me as it made me realise I was a lot more capable than I initially thought and that any action or course I wanted to take didn’t have to wait until I’d reached a certain, official age that sounded like the right time to pursue what I wanted. It taught me that even if you are a ‘young person’ you still have a unique and interesting perspective and that people want to know what you think. I developed so much more confidence, as someone who usually waited for things to drop into my lap, to be proactive and engage with people who were doing the jobs that I wanted to know more about and get involved in. In a sense, this helped me to rediscover my passion for English, which had felt bogged down by the essay writing, exam technique and structure of A Level study.

I wanted to get to grips with a range of different projects and so after a series of training days, I volunteered at Hackney New School for Kids Company. This was as challenging as it was rewarding as it taught me a lot about myself as well as allowing me to meet people from different walks of life. It also felt funny to work with year 7s who just wanted to be finished with school, to cast aside their uniforms and be in my position when I’d spent so long lamenting over growing up too fast. I also learnt to enjoy words again by writing a couple of articles for Canteen mag, a website and blog championing a healthy lifestyle for young people. This was quite fun and also led to some really amazing opportunities to interview the founder of Run Dem Crew, Charlie Dark and Olympic athlete, Yamile Aldama. This was also where I discovered my love for running, which was a happy accident, as I was determined to stay set in my ways about exercise and reject all forms of physical exertion. However, I did get my very own brand of health education, which I’m sure I’ll carry with me. I also worked for extra cash in a café in Brighton where I was half amused, half distressed to discover what a Babycino was! I also gained arms of steel and a sense of co-ordination I never knew I possessed by carrying around plates upon plates upon crockery one handed. I did get to go away during the summer in a fast and furious whirlwind tour around Europe. The trip touched Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Cannes and felt like a blur but highlights included, screaming the lyrics to Paris to Berlin by Infernal on a train from Paris to Berlin and dealing with the very real, very possible situation of what to do when your bunk bed buddy invites guests to stay at a Hostel.

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Enjoying ‘sunny’ weather during my summer

As the year rounds off and I prepare to begin an English degree at University, I can’t help but feel like this is a graduation in and of itself, I finish this year with a sense of achievement and pride and feel like I’ve grown from the girl who started and wondered what a year away from school even looked like and whether it was the right decision. Having followed such a straight course of education, education, exams, exams exams, I knew I needed time out. I may not have swum with turtles in Australia or followed a new friend around Asia on a whim but I do feel as though I have discovered myself; my likes, dislikes, my strengths, and weaknesses and most valuably, the importance of a mentor who helped shape the adult I’ve become.