Celebrating Creative Careers Week at MIF

It’s Creative Careers Week this week so we’ve been celebrating some of the many exciting ways we have worked with young people in Manchester this year – helping people discover new career paths into the creative industries.

We are particularly proud of the relationships we have built in 2019 with The University of Manchester (UOM) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) – providing volunteer opportunities, student placements, graduate employment and artistic development programmes across a range of areas.

Students from MMU’s Interior Design, Textiles and 3D Design course were this year involved in designing furniture and interiors for Festival Square, pitching their designs to an expert panel with the winning designs installed for the Festival. Media students meanwhile were invited to create moving image responses working with the team behind Skepta’s DYSTOPIA987 event.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students from UOM helped to deliver MIF19’s Utopolis Manchester, a site-specific work created by renowned German theatre company Rimini Protokoll that used intricate tapestries of sound and voices to explore the people and places that shape Manchester’s daily life.

Manchester-born Drama student Grainne Flynn helped interview people at the locations and observed the development of scripts. “We met everyone everywhere, so many personalities – a microcosm of Manchester,” she says. Engineering student Ollie Church, who helped build the audio system for the event, added, “Being part of a festival, meeting people working so hard to put it together, was inspirational.”

Professor Jenny Hughes, UOM’s Head of Drama, says: “Our students, who gained this remarkable opportunity through a competitive process, have said that this is one of the best things that has happened to them while they’ve been at the University.”

We also worked in 2019 with a much younger generation of budding creatives. With our Creative Critics programme, students at Manchester Communication Academy in Harpurhey and Newall Green High School in Wythenshawe developed their skills in art criticism through a series of pre-Festival workshops, each hosted in their school by local artist facilitators.

During the Festival, the young critics visited Atmospheric MemoryBELLS FOR PEACEDavid Lynch at HOMEInvisible Cities and Tree, producing reviews which were published on our MIF Live platform, with Voice Magazine, North Manchester FM, Wythenshawe FM and on BBC Radio Manchester.

Thirteen children from Claremont Primary School in Moss Side joined us as Young Ambassadors to discover more about live art and help create Performing Animals, a key part of MIF19’s Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ). Our Young Ambassadors worked with artist Sibylle Peters, the project’s co-curator and lead artist, to choose six artists from around the globe to take part in the event, which took place at the Whitworth and in Whitworth Park on the Festival’s closing weekend.

More than 600 pupils from 10 schools across Greater Manchester engaged with Atmospheric Memory during MIF19. Activities included special sessions designed to build presentation and conversation skills and some pupils from Cedar Mount Academy in Manchester went on to become Young Guides sharing their learning and experiences with the general public in the exhibit.

Earlier this year, we initiated the Greater Manchester Cultural Skills Consortium, part of a longer-term vision to put opportunities for local people at the heart of The Factory, the landmark cultural arts space that we will operate when it opens in 2021.

As part of this initiative we employed seven trainees in January, from Manchester, aged 19+ and previously registered unemployed. Working directly on the Festival itself, the roles covered Development, IT, Skills and Training, Producing, Ticketing, Guest Relations and Digital.

Since graduating from the roles, one of the trainees has been directly employed by Manchester International Festival, one recruited locally into the charity sector and another into an arts role further afield.

Describing his experience of the traineeship, Michael Appouh, Box Office and Ticketing trainee said: “Doing a traineeship at MIF has helped me personally in terms of developing skills and gaining experience, but also demonstrated how to contribute in the working world – understanding responsibility and communicating with co-workers.”

Now at the end of the year, MIF welcomes four new creative apprenticeship opportunities delivered by the recently launched Factory Academy. The Creative Venue Technician Apprenticeships, which will begin at the start of 2020 in four of Manchester’s leading arts venues, will equip young people with the necessary skills for future careers in the creative industries.

See more about The Factory Academy opportunities in our film below –


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