Ahead of planning our 2017 programme and placement opportunity we’ve asked former intern and now Associate Producer Sarah Wilson-White to tell us more about her experience of working and growing with the company.
I should start by saying that I didn’t formally apply for an opportunity with Home Live Art. My relationship with the company came about through a lucky coincidence of receiving their newsletter whilst on a work placement at Camden People’s Theatre in late 2011. I’d been feeling for some time that I needed more project management, site-specific and live art experience, so on discovering the newsletter I immediately emailed Mimi to say how much the company interested me and whether she’d be up for meeting for a cup of tea. At that time there wasn’t a structured internship programme as such, but with a busy year of events ahead Mimi agreed to let me help out on site and generally assist the producing team over the coming months.
I soon realised that HLA operated on a different model compared to other producing organisations as the small team (totalling just under two full-time members of staff in terms of hours worked each week) worked remotely, swiftly and flexibly according to the programme of events being delivered. This took some getting used to at first, and isn’t for everyone, but I quickly began to enjoy the autonomy and freedom which came with being a trusted member of the flexible team.
2012 was a busy year for the company with events including Big Screen Pong, A Right Song and Dance, and the Alternative Village Fete at Diamond Jubilee Festival where a biblical scale rainstorm truly highlighted the nature (literally) and difficulties of outdoor work. My memories of the day include controlling the queues for the quirky Kiss a (Drag) Queen stall and hastily finding carrier bags to place between my socks and my not-so-waterproof shoes so I could carry on site management in the downpour.
That’s now four years ago and since then both my producing career and Home Live Art as an organisation have developed in varying ways. I have continued to work with the organisation and grow within it, now supporting the running of the business through contributing to the annual fundraising, marketing and planning. Home Live Art has recently embarked on a new adventure with a physical space ran by Co-Director Jane and artist Guy Dartnell in Hastings. We’ve had different producing interns come through the organisation too, three in the last four years and all paid for their time as I was in 2011. Each intern used the opportunity in varying ways to help their career: as research to test their capabilities and enjoyment of the arts sector, as part of Masters study, and one used the opportunity as a platform to develop their work as a participation producer, subsequently moving onto work with Frantic Assembly.
No intern, placement or following journey has been or is ever the same. I’ve been lucky to have stayed with Home Live Art since meeting Mimi all those years ago and continue to develop my work alongside the organisations’. I now support interns we work with during their placements, often discussing their next steps and sharing how I started with the team in 2011. Each time I discuss the past five years I feel a mixture of fear for how time has passed so quickly, pride for the HLA achievements I’ve helped support, and a growing professional confidence buoyed by the support given from co-directors Mimi and Jane. Who’d have thought all of this would have come from a coincidental newsletter and a casual cup of tea.