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.
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. You can view a full directory of bursary holder in this first edition here.
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.
Download the Evaluation Report and the key points of the DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme: