We understand that our backgrounds and identities are complex: applicants will not be required to ‘prove’ their eligibility through this application process. Instead we aim to provide enough information for you to self-define your suitability for JCA, and will only ask you questions that will help us understand how JCA can make a difference to your career ambitions.
The term ‘early-career’ is difficult to define and may look different depending on a range of factors including art form/s, career pathways, location and personal circumstances. Across all Jerwood Arts funding, we are looking to support practitioners who have some existing professional experience and momentum for their practice but are still in the early stages.
This is the definition of ‘early-career’ that we are using for JCA, and which we require you to meet. We anticipate that many will have struggled to find paid work during the Covid-19 pandemic and may have fewer examples of their practice in the last 24 months. This will be taken into account during the assessment process:
- You have a track record of curatorial work in the visual arts and have been developing your practice for between 3-7 years outside of any educational training (if relevant). This does not need to have been within an employed curatorial role in an arts institution or have been your main source of income during this time.
- You have worked on at least 3 projects where you have demonstrated your own curatorial voice and vision. This might include different types of activity, for example developing an event, working with an artist on a commission, contributing curatorial ideas to a large-scale project, curating an exhibition, delivering a socially engaged project or editing a publication.
- You have begun to build networks within the visual arts but are looking to expand these across the UK.
Identifying the moment of transition from ‘early-career’ to ‘mid-career’ is also complex. These are some markers which would suggest you are beyond the career stage which JCA is best suited to support. If you meet two or more of the following criteria, you are likely to be ineligible:
- You have been lead curator on national and/or international exhibitions which have received significant press coverage and profile.
- You already have established peer and artist networks in the UK and/or internationally.
- You have undertaken some focused development of your curatorial practice during your career so far. This might include supported time on research, on residencies, on development programmes or with funding support.
- You have significantly more than seven years’ experience working as a curator in the visual arts.
- You are regularly invited to contribute to events, publications and exhibitions.
Working Class/Low Socio-Economic Background
Class can be a loaded term. We often talk about ‘socio-economic background’ instead of class because it helps us to be more specific and join up our work more easily with other social justice organisations outside of the arts. For example, in academic research about social mobility, socio-economic background or socio-economic origins is often the preferred term. However, most people self-define using class terms e.g. ‘I’m working class’.
Both terms refer to the particular set of social and economic circumstances that an individual has grown up in. Individuals from a low socio-economic background will most likely have been to state school, might have received free school meals as a child, and had a low household income when they were growing up. They might have grown up in the care system or been the first in their family to go to university. Other terms people from a low socio-economic background might identify themselves with are working-class or benefits-class. Individuals from a low socio-economic background are more likely to face intersecting barriers in society, experiencing racism, ableism and other forms of discrimination.
We have been thinking carefully about language through our Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme and our understanding of this continues to evolve. For JCA we have decided to use both working class and low socio-economic background as terms to help applicants define their own experience in relation to this opportunity.
To identify as having faced economic and social barriers to working in the arts you will typically self-identify as being from a working class background, and meet at least two of the following criteria:
- You attended only state-funded school or college
- You were eligible for free school meals at secondary school (if studying in the UK)
- You were the first generation to attend higher education in your family
- You grew up in a household where at age 14, the primary carer held an occupation that can be described loosely as
- Routine manual and service occupations e.g. van driver, cleaner, porter, waiter/waitress, bar staff;
- Semi-routine manual and service occupations e.g. postal worker, security guard, machine worker, receptionist, sales assistant.
Intersectionality refers to the interconnected nature of characteristics such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group. These are regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The programme actively recognises the intersections of socio-economic background with protected characteristics, such as gender, disability and race.
We realise that this eligibility can be complex, and if you are unsure and would like to discuss your suitability, please contact us to book an advice session.