Aspex is to host a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Fellow as part of a programme to get more people from low socio-economic backgrounds into cultural careers. Across the UK there will be 50 exciting opportunities to develop a career in the arts, with each role playing an important part in the host organisation. Aspex is welcoming applications for the role of Assistant Curator, which will involve supporting the delivery of Aspex’s 40th anniversary programme of exhibitions and events in 2021.
Even before the pandemic wreaked havoc on career prospects in the arts, those from middle-class backgrounds were 2.5 times more likely to end up in creative occupations than their working-class peers. This is a situation which has not improved since records began in 2014. Social mobility is a greater issue in the cultural sector and wider creative industries than across the economy as a whole. The wider creative industries have created over 300,000 jobs over the past five years, yet the number of creative workers from working-class backgrounds has increased by just 33,000. Just as with the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, it is expected that those who are already finding it difficult to make their way in the arts will be the worst hit by the impact of covid-19.
The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries aim to redress the balance by funding 50 paid, year-long artistic and creative Fellowships as well as an organisational development programme run by people make it work to embed inclusive practices for the host organisation, with three members of the host team taking part, including a board member and a senior executive.
This is the fourth edition of the programme, which has been running for over 10 years and has 125 alumni to date, many of whom have forged successful careers. This edition of WJCB is the largest yet, with support from Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Programme, Garfield Weston Foundation, Art Fund, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, and PRS Foundation.
Lilli Geissendorfer, director of Jerwood Arts, comments, ‘I’m delighted that Aspex has been selected to host a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Fellow. Aspex applied to be part of the programme before COVID-19 had been identified, so it is heartening that making their organisation more diverse and inclusive is still high on their agenda despite the additional challenges they are facing. It speaks to the resilience I have been inspired by from all corners of the arts and cultural sector in recent months to find the silver linings in the bleakest of times and commit to creating a stronger sector that everyone will benefit from.’
Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex, comments, ‘The team at Aspex are thrilled to be able to take part in this important national programme. We are all passionate about increasing opportunities to work in this sector for the broadest possible range of people and can’t wait to welcome a new Assistant Curator to the team.’
The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2020-2022 programme is designed and produced by Jerwood Arts. It is funded and supported by Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Art Fund, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, British Council, Jerwood Arts and PRS Foundation
For further information please see Aspex’s website www.aspex.org.uk/support/job-opportunities/