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Moving On Staying On – creative arts businesses

Moving On Staying On Scheme 2016-17                                       

The University of Worcester is always keen to support employability and work-focused learning opportunities, and to support students in setting up their own creative businesses after graduation. A project that the University of Worcester has been undertaking with the Worcestershire Arts Partnership since 2014 is entitled ‘Moving on Staying on’, and a subject that we feel is of the utmost importance,

“how do we retain skills in our county to develop our future arts and cultural leaders?”

Two annual conferences have been held which have featured an array of high quality speakers, including those from The Midland Arts Centre, National Theatre Connections, Ikon Gallery and Turning Point West Midlands. These guest speakers have given invaluable advice and tips to final year students on how to develop their own businesses, what to expect after Graduation and how to promote and market themselves professionally.

CreativeLab invited individuals and/or groups of art and design graduates to apply to win £2,500 funding, plus workspace and mentoring for up to a year. The Scheme was highly successful but oversubscribed.

The University and WAP offered more places in for visual and performing arts 2016. Creative arts graduates who wanted to set up their businesses in Worcester were invited to apply for funding support from the MOSO Scheme, and the money awarded used to write business plans, develop marketing strategies and/or develop new product ideas. Applicants had to formally apply to a panel made up of representatives made up of members of staff from the Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts, Worcester Business School and The Worcestershire Arts Partnership. The panel then decided on who should be taken on to the scheme based on the potential of their artistic and innovative business ideas; how they would benefit Worcestershire communities; and how they would best take advice and support forward.

Eight graduates were successful and each awarded between £500 – £2,000 funding, plus mentoring and business support during 2016 – 2017 to set up their creative businesses. These included:

Georgina Bull for her time and to support her solo performances.

Nathan Hill for his time and the printing of his comic book.

Nicole Roman and Victoria Agache for their time to set up a Theatre Company and to support their performances.

Katie Hodson and Emily Malin to set up BLOK Collective art studio for rent and set-up time.

Ant Lightfoot and Jack Bateman for their time and to support their performances.

The outcomes of each individual or artist group on the scheme have been monitored by mentors appointed to each, and a Steering group who have met on a bi-monthly basis to assess and guide the progress of each project. In addition, there have been two peer group progress meetings where they have been able to assess their own individual progress documented against agreed outcomes.

The 2016/17 Symposium at Worcester Arts Workshop on May 17th, ‘One Year On’ will give the opportunity to disseminate the outcomes of the MOSO project more widely, to reflect on its success and identify ways forward.

Maureen Gamble, co-founder of CreativeLab, MOSO and a member of the MOSO Steering Group.

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