The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme was the inaugural edition of the Creative Bursaries, a talent development initiative creating new, paid, entry-level roles in the arts for recent arts graduates. The Creative Bursaries address the socio-economic barriers that skilled graduates entering the workplace face and is open to graduates from low-income backgrounds who were in receipt of a full maintenance grant throughout university.
Unpaid internships and poor recruitment practices are a barrier which threaten to impact on the diversity and vibrancy of our future arts workforce. The Creative Bursaries champion new voices and promote the potential for positive change through sharing evidence of best practice in recruitment and talent development. Beneficiaries of it are the potential arts leaders of the future; those who in turn should be powerful advocates for the cultural change needed to achieve real, ingrained diversity. Providing these bursaries goes some way to making entry into the arts a level playing field and ensures those with talent, if not financial backing, are given the opportunity to succeed.
The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme was designed and managed by Jerwood Arts and its founder Jerwood Foundation, funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Arts Council England (ACE). It ran from August 2010 to March 2012.
Under the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries 42 recent graduates undertook placements lasting between six and twelve months, recruited through open application according to financial and academic eligibility criteria. Placements were with host arts organisations across England (this was extended to UK-wide for the second edition in 2015). They were selected for the excellence of their work and their ability to offer the most inspiring placements in a wide range of jobs in the arts. Alongside their placement, recipients were supported by mentoring and structured networking opportunities.
At the conclusion of the first edition of the programme in 2012 there were outstanding results. 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.
In November 2015 the first alumnus of the inaugural edition, Aaron Wright, was announced Artistic Director of Fierce Festival. Aaron’s placement was with Live Art Development Agency in 2010.