title. Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries
company. Jerwood Arts
role. Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Fellow
date. October 2010 - Present
I was one of the first recipients of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries (then DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries) with my role as Trainee Producer (MIF Creative) at the Manchester International Festival in 2010. The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries is a nationwide programme supporting arts organisations to expand their approach to diverse recruitment and talent development, and build their capacity for outstanding artistic production.
The programme addresses the socio-economic barriers that outstanding, skilled graduates entering the workplace face and is open to graduates from low-income backgrounds who were in receipt of a full maintenance grant throughout university.
Since my first placement, Jerwood have continued to support me, and we continue to work together. In 2012, Jerwood funded my attendance at The Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Slovenia. In June 2015, I was invited to speak at the launch of the second cohort of bursary recipients, about my journey since I began my relationship with Jerwood. I returned for the launch of the 3rd cohort in February 2018, taking part in an alumni panel as part of the new recipients' training.
In November, I was invited to join Jerwood again as a grant selector for the Ideas Fund, which is specifically for recipients of the 2017-2019 recipients of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme. The fund is designed to support self-contained professional development opportunities, potentially leading to a new project in partnership with other recipients.
In July 2019, I returned to the Manchester International Festival for an interview my former line manager, Jennifer Cleary (Creative Engagement Director at MIF) as part of Jerwood Arts' "Tried and Tested" event. This event addressed socio-economic diversity and inclusion in the arts, and launched a new "Employers Ideas Kit" informed by the scheme. You can read about and download the toolkit here.
In Autumn 2020, a case study of my own experiences with classism in the arts industry will be published in "Studies in Theatre and Performance" as part of a wider article on the WJCB scheme.
"Gemma was one of the leading lights in the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme when we launched it in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength since her role at Manchester International Festival. She is such an inspiration for the current cohort" - Kate Danielson, Director of the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme (Now Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme)
Photo by Hana Makovcova.