Graduate’s career in arts and business boosted by placement with leading theatre
A graduate from Wrexham Glyndwr University is gaining valuable experience at one of North Wales’ most renowned theatres thanks to a programme linking the arts and business.
Megan Stokes, from Monmouth, graduated from Wrexham Glyndwr University with a degree in Illustration, Graphic Novels and Children’s Publishing in November.
By the time of her graduation ceremony, she had already begun working at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, with the support of Arts and Business Cymru, an organisation which links businesses and the arts – and which works closely alongside universities such as Glyndwr.
Megan discovered the placement, and the work of Arts and Business Cymru, at Glyndwr’s Creative Futures event – a week-long conference which brings together leading creative industry practioners and students to promote careers in the creative arts.
She said: “I first heard about the placement at the Creative Futures week which the university holds each year. During the week, Arts and Business Cymru came and gave a talk and that raised my interest in what they do. You can only apply for their posts through universities which participate in the scheme – and Glyndwr is one.”
Having been impressed with what she heard at Creative Futures, Megan applied – and was successful at securing her placement with Theatr Clwyd.
She is now set to return to Glyndwr this week alongside staff from Arts and Business Cymru to talk about the benefits of the scheme and how it has boosted her confidence and developed her skills.
She said: “I would definitely encourage others to look into applying – it’s all about learning new things and being in a new environment – and those skills you learn are very transferable too.
“I did an illustration degree – but the reason I was interested in this job was that I was working in the arts, but in a different area to my degree. It has those links, but the work is so different. However, it was very important to me that I was still working in the creative arts.”
Thanks to the Arts and Business placement, Megan is hoping to extend her work in the theatre world – though the skills she learnt as a designer at Glyndwr have also picked up wider interest.
She said: “I really liked my course – you really felt like you were being supported with your work all the time you were there. I also had a lot of support from the careers department, who helped me to develop my CV.
“You also get to speak to a lot of businesses about your work, and are given guidance in how to set up your own business – that was really good!
“I spoke with Sainsbury’s Home at New Designers, an exhibition which helps you get out there and get your work noticed. After the event, ten out of 3,000 exhibitors were talent spotted, and I ended up having an interview with them about my work for a design post – I didn’t get that post but they were really interested in me staying in contact with them – so we will see what happens there!
“After the placement with Theatr Clwyd finishes, there may be a possibility of continuing here as well. No matter what happens after the internship, I am really glad I took up this amazing opportunity – and I’ll be encouraging students who want a creative industries job to speak to Arts and Business Cymru.”
A spokesman for Arts & Business Cymru said: “Our Creative Internships Programme is in its 6th year and focuses on developing the next generation of arts fundraisers. Wales has, for some time, suffered from a lack of skilled professionals in this crucial field. The need to ensure a funding mix is crucial to survival and arts organisations across the country now recognise that investing resources into this area is the only way to ensure sustainability. However, the number of professional fundraisers in Wales cannot begin to keep up with the demand for such services.
“The only way to increase this vital pool of professionals is to find a way to attract new graduates into a career in fundraising and this is where the programme comes in.
“Megan really impressed us in her interview and has gone on to prove herself in the Development Team at Theatr Clwyd where she has fitted in extremely well. She is making the most every opportunity and we can already see she has the potential for a successful career in fundraising ahead of her.”
Daniel Porter-Jones, Director of Development at Theatr Clwyd and Megan’s Manager and Arts Mentor, added: “Theatr Clwyd has been a first time beneficiary of the programme in 2018/19. We have already enjoyed significant benefit from the additional resource but more importantly we have a wonderful, energised and talented new member of the Theatr Clwyd team.
“These internships not only offer graduates a full-time position which is challenging enough in these times, but they offer a unique insight in to the professional world of arts, culture and fundraising which is invaluable to a young person just starting out on their career.”