I’d never really heard of Somerset House prior to the training day, and it seemed I wasn’t the only one, but I was instantly impressed and started jotting down notes. After a talk from the Director of Somerset House, Jonathan Reekie, who spoke about the fascinating history of the building and his expectations for it, we were taken on a tour. The building just seemed to get bigger and bigger with some fantastic spaces and rooms where there was, as Jonathan Reekie said, “such a broad spectrum of creativity nowadays”. I was nothing but impressed by this awesome building – I’d love to return in few years and see what changes have been made.
We then moved on to the Donmar Warehouse. Artistic Director Josie Rourke spoke about her journey in the arts with some amusing stories. She was very passionate and it was very clear that she loves what she does and her message was to pursue our instinct even if it does seem crazy.
Next was Sir Peter Bazalgette, the Chair of the Arts Council, who I was particularly interested to hear speak as my placement is at a concert hall that relies on Arts Council England for a large amount of funding. He gave us some interesting statistics and explained in good detail why we put public money into the arts (a point he’d obviously argued many times). He finished off his talk by telling us to “bring the art to the people, don’t expect them to come to you”, a point I’d personally not really considered before.
Then we had a presentation from freelance fundraiser Hollie Smith-Charles talking about what fundraising actually is, how to do it successfully and how to write an application. She included further stats and some interesting ideas for us to take back to our organisation. I found her talk thoroughly motivating and it’s great to see someone talk so passionately about their job.
The final talk was from four panellists that all work in and around development within their organisation. They all came from very different backgrounds but when asked to give us their top three tips for development, they all came up with the same things, which was useful as it reiterated to us the most important things when it comes to development.
We then rounded the day off by watching Akram Khan’s Until the Lions at the Roundhouse, which explored some strong ideas. The music was brilliant and the dancing was absolutely fabulous, a great way to finish.
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made the day possible, gave their time up to talk to us and to Weston Jerwood for making this all happen. I can’t wait for the next one!