Forty British arts organisations will join a flagship £1 million scheme to help end the middle class domination of the arts by employing more graduates from low income backgrounds.
Sage Gateshead, Turner Contemporary, Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and Touchstones Rochdale Art Gallery are amongst 40 arts organisations taking part in the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme, delivered in partnership with British Council. Each get funding to host a graduate placement from a low income background for 12 months in a role new to the organisation, significantly increasing the host organisation’s capacity.
The bursary programme, now in its third and biggest phase, aims to open up entry level work opportunities for gifted graduates who received a full maintenance grant throughout university and who would struggle to do the unpaid work which acts as a gateway into the sector for up 88% of young people working in the arts today.
The programme has already delivered success, with a new evaluation report showing how 60% of employers on the last phase had extended contracts with placements, or made them permanent, once the actual bursary ended.
Kate Danielson, Programme Director said: “Diversity is absolutely fundamental to the continued success of UK art and culture – whether it is diversity of artists, audiences or those working for arts organisations.”
“The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries is about breaking down barriers to support this, levelling the playing field for young people from lower income backgrounds and making sure arts organisations can benefit from the skills and experience of all young talent.”
“This third phase is the most in-depth ever and we’re delighted to be working with 40 arts organisations who between them represent all corners of the country, a wide range of art forms and occupy very different positions within the wider arts and culture ecology of the UK.”
The Creative Bursaries programme, launched in 2010, also aims to embed diverse recruitment practices amongst the host organisations, share best practice across the sector about how to recruit as widely as possible to support diversity at entry level, and have an impact on the diversity and vibrancy of our future arts workforce.
For the first time ever, 12 of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary placements will get the chance to spend some of their year with an overseas arts organisation after the British Council joined the programme as a key delivery partner, and all 40 placements will attend an international arts festival together as part of the programme. Also for the first time, three of the hosts have been supported through PRS Foundation specifically to create music production roles.
Under this third edition of the programme, host organisations will pay 25% of the placement’s wage, with the remaining 75% coming from the bursary fund. All placements will be paid according to the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended salary. The selected hosts will now spend the autumn recruiting their participant before launching their individual placements in the New Year. The programme will end in February 2019 and the final evaluation of the programme will be completed in summer 2019.
The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2017-19 programme is designed and managed by Jerwood Charitable Foundation in partnership with the British Council. It has been made possible through the combined support of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, CHK Charities Limited and PRS Foundation.