April 8, 2015

Partners announced for Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries

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Today Jerwood Charitable Foundation announces the organisations that have been selected to take part in this new programme to develop talent in the arts. With the combined support of Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme is creating work and training opportunities for 40 outstanding new graduates in 40 arts organisations across the UK.

This talent development initiative will identify gifted recent graduates who would otherwise not be in a financial position to work for free in order to get a foot on the competitive career ladder in the arts. With unpaid internships or work experience still a major barrier to securing the diversity and vibrancy of our future arts workforce, the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme will champion new voices. It will promote the potential for positive change through sharing evidence of best practice in recruitment and talent development. Providing bursaries will go some way to making entry into the arts a level playing field and ensure those with talent, if not financial backing, are given the opportunity to succeed.

There has rarely been a tougher time to enter the workforce as a young person. Youth unemployment rates as a proportion of jobless figures are the worst they have been for 20 years, with people aged 16-24 three times as likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population. The practice of offering unpaid arts internships, whilst often illegal, is still a divisive issue, often supporting wealth and privilege at entry level over talent and skill, damaging diversity and potential for the sector.

The pilot to this programme, the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme, which concluded in 2012, also provided entry level roles for talented young graduates who could not afford to work for free. It yielded outstanding results, providing 44 new job roles with 43 of the best arts organisations across England. 90% of bursary recipients were employed in the arts at conclusion of the evaluation, compared to 39% of the control group. Of hosts, 90% confirmed they would target less affluent applicants again, 60% extended their placement’s contract and 33% made the new roles permanent, making job creation another major success of the Scheme.

‘The scheme should continue because it is blazing a trail in terms of creating some equality in the arts. The arts sector still feels primarily like unequal and middle-class territory to people like myself who are from mixed backgrounds and whilst it would be nice to think that a sector like the arts is equal and embracing to all, I don’t think it is there yet.‘ DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries recipient.

During this first UK-wide edition of the programme, 40 arts organisations from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will host new entry level roles through the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries. They have been selected on the basis of their outstanding proposals for roles which will develop recent graduates, giving each bursary recipient the best possible start to their career in the arts. The programme will create geographic and sector ‘cohorts’, facilitating valuable networking and peer support for the placements and the hosts. In addition, bursary recipients will receive support outside their host organisations through a dedicated mentor, and professional development through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Training Programme, which will run as a key strand of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries.

The host organisations are:


Northern Ireland




Whilst recruitment for each placement will be carried out by host organisations directly, all roles will be advertised on our website here.

These will appear between now and early autumn 2015, with the programme concluding in September 2016.

To find out more about the programme, including eligibility criteria for bursary recipients click here.

For more information, please contact Kate Danielson, Programme Director, [email protected], 07815 736156.

Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries. Host and bursary recipient. Image: Hana Makovcova