Inspire me to be an...Artist
In the 'Inspire Me' blog series, we interview people in different careers so you can get an insight into their role, and see if it is something you might like to do too.
This week we spoke to Mim, an Artist from York.
What is your job title?
I’m an artist and workshop facilitator.
What does your role involve?
I am self employed, creating and selling my artworks and running creative workshops. But I also do freelance work - different organisations or businesses hire me to run creative sessions or work on creative projects.
In my workshop facilitation role I work with a range of people of various ages and abilities, including children. When I'm working with children, my role involves coming up with creative and engaging activities in response to a brief or request from the organisation, staff members or parents who have hired me to run the session.
If it's a children's party, then it will mainly involve making sure the activity is fun. If it's for a school or organisation, it might be more that the activity also needs to focus on some aspect of learning too, so it varies quite a bit.
One aspect of my role that is always important with children is making sure the activity is safe, and anticipating potential things that could go wrong!
What made you decide to do this role?
I've always enjoyed working with people, and I love creative activities. Plus I like sharing creative ideas with people and seeing what they do with them.
How did you get into the role? e.g. training, work experience, volunteering…
I studied design craft at college, and then worked in a shop for a while. My favourite part of working in the shop really was interacting with people.
Eventually I went to university, started a degree in Applied Community and Youth Work, and did a placement at a community arts centre. I really loved the community arts work, and carried on volunteering there after my placement, but I changed my degree course to Creative Expressive Therapies.
This course was really well suited to me and influences a lot of what I do in my work now. It focused on developing an approach that uses the arts to work creatively with people in a therapeutic way and to encourage different ways of self-expression. When I finished my degree, I did a few art/craft courses, and eventually decided that I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to make art regularly be creative every day. What I'm doing now evolved from there.
What’s the best thing about the role?
I love having the opportunity to try out new crafts so I can use them in sessions and keep bringing new ideas in. I really enjoy working with people and seeing the benefits and enjoyment they get out of the sessions and the creative activities, and being regularly inspired and amazed by what people create. I also love that I learn so much from each group I work with - often they come up with new ideas or techniques I hadn't thought of!
What’s the worst thing about the role?
At the moment it can be stressful trying to juggle lots of different types of work, and at times it is stressful not having a regular work schedule that you can rely on as the nature of what I'm doing is that work comes and goes. Having to be accountable for every part of the role is hard as I'm better at some aspects of the role than others (eg. I'm far better at running sessions than I am at keeping track of my accounts!)
What advice do you have for someone wanting to do the same role?
Get some volunteer or work experience in the kind of place you are interested in working in. It helps a lot to see how things are run and also to work out what you want/don't want to do.
If you want to work for yourself, develop a mutually supportive network with other business owners, freelancers or people who are self-employed. Because I've been doing all aspects of the role myself, I've found often that I don't know where to start on a few things as they aren't my area of expertise.
Having people that I can ask for advice or help has made a big difference, and it's good to help other people where you can as well.
Are there any Brightsparks courses that you think would be useful to someone wanting to do the role?
Quite a few of them would be useful probably. I think it would depend a bit on what sort of work you want to get into.
I work in quite a range of contexts so I think a few of them would be relevant to what I do. If you were looking at running creative sessions for children, Essential Skills for Working with Children and Young People would be good for any context.
I think if you were working more in a youth work context, or working with more vulnerable children, then Managing Challenging Behaviour in Children and Young People, Developing Emotional Resilience in Children and Young People, and perhaps Understanding Trauma and Attachment would be helpful, but it would really depend on what sort of context you are looking at working in.
Mim is exhibiting her work as part of the York Open Studios on the 14th, 15th, 21st & 22nd April at the Basement Bar in York. Find out more here: https://www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk/artist/mim-robson
We're always looking for more inspiring people to interview for this series. Whatever your voluntary or paid role, our readers would love to hear about it!