The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme provides talent development opportunities for recent graduates from low-income backgrounds. Through it, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and its partners seek to address the socio-economic barriers that skilled graduates entering the arts workplace are facing. The programme provides paid entry-level jobs at leading UK arts organisations, supported by a structured programme of ambitious professional development and peer mentoring.
It was recently announced that Arts Council England has awarded £498,555 to Jerwood Charitable Foundation from the Ambition for Excellence fund for their Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2017-2019 programme, an initiative which since 2010 has created 84 paid entry-level roles in 75 arts organisations across the UK. Cultural Skills are proud to be a delivery partner in the 2017-2019 iteration of this bursary which connects to one of our key aims; supporting those aged 18-30 from all backgrounds to build and strengthen the skills they need to become more employable in the creative and cultural sector.
With the help of Cultural Skills, the 2017-2019 Bursary will deliver an international strand for the first time, providing an international training trip for all 40 placements and 12 international residencies for selected candidates and host organisations. This will give the placement holders a unique opportunity to develop first-hand insights into cross-cultural working, which we believe to be crucial in the current climate of change to the UK's global context. UK trainees who were able to gain similar experience during our 2016 project Backstage to the Future are all now employed and 92% of all participants of that programme said that they either agreed or strongly agreed that they felt better prepared to work internationally as a result of the training, results which we hope to emulate in our work with Jerwood.
The road to making this announcement has been long and many months of work have gone in to making this partnership possible; from meeting Shonagh Manson, Director of Jerwood Charitable Foundation at the Creative and Cultural Skills Annual Conference in 2016 to Cultural Skills team members Giulia Crossley and Henriette Sorensen holding sessions alongside Shonagh about Access, Diversity and Opportunities in an International Britain at the 2017 conference - proving that sometimes, starting the right conversation is all you need to do to make big things happen!
You can read more about past bursaries, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation's work, and keep up to date with news on the 2017-2019 project here.