Read how Andre has gone on to successfully find work in the creative sector, plus he reveals his top tips for other young creatives.by
1. Tell us a bit about your background: where did you grow up? How did you become interested in the creative industries?
I was born in Whipps Cross Hospital, Walthamstow, in 1991. I didn’t really have a creative outlet until I was in secondary school and started to enjoy writing because reading had always been a big hobby of mine. It didn’t click for me for ages. Despite being exceptional [not bragging, I actually sat an AS level English paper in year nine] at English, and despite the countless fiction I had read, it never sunk in that writing could become a hobby, let alone an aspiration in life. 3 years ago I started to write more seriously and managed a best ever, 42 thousand words story which I broke into parts and serialised. Eventually, it became a serial novel and can be found, published, on JukePopSerials.
2. How did you hear about and get involved in the Panic! course?
The Panic! course came about when I attended an apprenticeship boot camp last September. Sumi and Vivian told me about the programme, saying they’d put my name forward. After that I had my interview and it was successful in the end.
3. How did you find the experience? What do you think Panic! taught you and how do you think it helped you?
It was a brilliant experience and getting the chance to engage with like-minded people was incredibly beneficial for my development as an arts practitioner. Everyone involved was amazing and I still feel really proud to have been part of it. Working on the Silver Arts Award helped with my development as well, providing the opportunity to network with some fantastic people who have been influential for me even today.
4. What have you gone on to do following the programme?
Since completing Panic! I’ve interned at a film company, created a short film with the Prince’s Trust and, most recently, been working as a Digital Coordinator at Pop Up Projects on a 6-month internship. Pop Up are a children’s literature organisation that aim to turn children and teachers alike into writers, focusing on writing without pressure and reading for pleasure –delivering bespoke festivals in schools where authors interact with children, presenting their books. My role is generating content with publishers, teachers, and author which is showcased on our digital platform - Pop Up Hub – and also to promote our activities on social media.
5. You are involved in working towards your Arts Award Gold - how did that come about and what do you think the value of doing this is?
Toward the end of the Panic! Programme I asked my advisor, Louise, about the Gold award, and she gave me some info on it and suggested I got for it. When I started working with Pop Up, the topic of Arts Award came up – I mentioned having a Silver and my manager who, at the time, was training to deliver Gold awards provided the perfect opportunity for me to get that extra accreditation. I definitely believe the Arts Award has value, especially since its focus is on participants gaining skills in new art forms. At the moment I'm not sure how it will benefit me, as I have a clear goal of what I want to do artistically in the next couple of years.
6. Give us 3 top tips to help find work in the creative and cultural sector - what recommendations/tips would you have given yourself 3 years ago looking back?
Firstly, one has to put themselves out there, saying yes to everything is a sure fire way to never miss an opportunity
Secondly, deliver! If you say you’re going to do something, do it! The arts sector, particularly for those without the golden spoon, can be climbed on the backs of favours you’ve done and received.
Thirdly, have an open mind. This is useful in general, but it should seem kind of crazy to call yourself a creative person if you can only think in a linear way.