Bristol Beacon selected to host a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Fellow
Bristol Beacon is to host a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Fellow as part of a programme to get more people from low socio-economic backgrounds into cultural careers. Across the UK there will be 50 organisations offering opportunities to develop a career in the arts, with each role playing an important part in the host organisation.
Bristol Beacon is one of four organisations in the South West, alongside Diverse City in Dorset, Exeter Northcott Theatre and Wildworks in Cornwall, to be selected to take part in the programme.
In September, we launched our Transformation Promise as part of our renaming announcement in which we made a number of pledges to develop our organisation and the way we work. One of these pledges was to diversify our workforce, and the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Fellowship marks our first step to delivering on that commitment.
Social mobility is a greater issue in the cultural sector and wider creative industries than across the economy as a whole, as those from lower socio-economic groups are less likely to see a career in the cultural sector as a viable option. The wider creative industries have created over 300,000 jobs over the past five years, yet the number of creative workers from working-class backgrounds has increased by just 33,000. Just as with the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, it is expected that those who are already finding it difficult to make their way in the arts will be the worst hit by the impact of COVID-19.
The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries aim to redress the balance by funding 50 paid, year-long artistic and creative Fellowships as well as an organisational development programme run by people make it work to embed inclusive practices for the host organisation, with three members of the host team taking part, including a board member and a senior executive.
This is the fourth edition of the programme, which has been running for over 10 years and has 125 alumni to date, many of whom have sustained successful careers in the sector. This edition of WJCB is the largest yet, with support from Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Programme, Garfield Weston Foundation, Art Fund, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, and PRS Foundation.
Lilli Geissendorfer, Director of Jerwood Arts, said:
“I’m delighted that Bristol Beacon has been selected to host a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Fellow. Bristol Beacon applied to be part of the programme before COVID-19 had been identified, so it is heartening that making their organisation more diverse and inclusive is still high on their agenda despite the additional challenges they are facing. It speaks to the resilience I have been inspired by from all corners of the arts and cultural sector in recent months to find the silver linings in the bleakest of times and commit to creating a stronger sector that everyone will benefit from.”
The role as Assistant Creative Producer at Bristol Beacon will be announced and applications opened later in the year.