Careers open for 50 Jerwood bursaried artists

Fifty early career artists from working class backgrounds are being given paths to consolidate their careers with bursaried attachments, announced today.

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries fellowship scheme, now in its tenth year but with its largest cohort to date, is placing the artists and creatives with arts organisations across the UK in new roles specially created by the hosts.

Pictured, Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary Fellows 2017-2019 exchange experience

The 50 hosts, who signed up for the scheme before lockdown but have remained committed to it, are showing a commitment to the future that goes against advice from the government to artists to retrain for new careers the creative industries suffer.

The scheme focuses on fellows from lower income backgrounds who were finding it hard to compete with middle class rivals for jobs, who even before the pandemic were 2.5 times more likely to find creative occupations. Social mobility is more difficult in the cultural sector than across the economy as a whole, and although the creative industries have created more than 300,000 jobs in the last five years, only 33,000 have gone to people from working class backgrounds.

Lilli Geissendorfer, director of Jerwood Arts, said the new bursaries were being launched “at a time when the arts and cultural sector is in such urgent need of support.

“We hope these bursaries make a real difference and it is heartening to see socio-economic diversity and inclusion remain such important drivers for our partners during these challenging times. This programme will help discover and nurture the potential of talented individuals as well as contribute to changing organisational practices for good. All this will assist the arts and cultural sector in coming out of this pandemic healthier, stronger, more balanced and inclusive” she said.

The bursaries will pay for 90% for fellows’ salaries, plus a career development for each of them, in partnership with Arts Emergency The roles are in museums, galleries, arts centres, music venues and art organisations, from large institutions such as the British Library and Liverpool Philharmonic to smaller concerns like Clean Break Theatre in London and Wildworks in Cornwall.  

The roles on offer include a music/sound creator at Clod Ensemble in London, an assistant curator at the Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, an associate director at Common Wealth and National Theatre Wales, and a dancer/choreographer at the Work Room and Tramway in Glasgow. Nineteen are now open for applications with the remaining 31 beginning recruited early next year. 

The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme is funded and supported by Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Art Fund, Arts Council of Wales, The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, British Council, Jerwood Arts and PRS Foundation.

Further information can be found on the Jerwood Arts website:

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