Got the job
31 January 2024
I’m proud to announce that I am in my third week as the new Artistic Director for Hear Me Out! It’s official, I have a work mobile and laptop to prove it. My journey in attaining this prestigious position hasn’t been the conventional path. I’ll be honest, there is very little about my life that is conventional, the norm (whatever that is). The qualifications that enabled me to land this fantastic role did not in include three years of study at university or a helping hand from friends and family (nepotism - it’s taken me a while but the higher up the ladder I climb, I see that it is rife).
My learning came from the hard knocks of life. A university that I feel is only now being recognised as an advantage. Intuition and staying connected to my true self has been my guide when making career decisions (and my darling husband). From early on the realisation of being black, female and dyslexic was going to be a disadvantage in the work place. Watching work colleagues receive promotions, pay rises and glowing yearly reviews while year after year you’re told "you’re not quite there yet but we appreciate your efforts". A good old fashioned SWOT with the hubby 20 years ago has served me well. I wanted to work in the arts and that was that.
The career run down goes something like this: BBC – local Arts and Culture Producer and Presenter; UK Centre for Carnival Arts – Learning and Participation Manager; Revoluton Arts – Senior Producer (note, this is the only job where I did receive a promotion. Thank you Jenny!); Youth Choir Leader (on going); Pegasus Opera Company – Project Lead (freelance); Cambridge Children’s Hospital – Community Project Lead for Carnival. That’s just a taste but all connected to my passion. The one time that I did deviate from the arts and worked at a university, I was as miserable as sin. Bogged down with admin, admin, admin. Yes, I need creativity in my work life to survive.
It is fair to say that I have worked my way up the ranks (once a traditional way of getting to the top) of Hear Me Out. Working as a freelance musician for Hear Me Out was meant to be a little job filler, working once a week delivering music workshops at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Several years on and my involvement with the charity grew from running community exchange projects to producing campaigns, from becoming a member of the charity’s co-creation working group, to leading music workshops with children in asylum hotels. Hear Me Out gave me the opportunity to grow, my voice was welcomed and heard, high praise given when due, a fair fixed pay structure for all artists, and above all, I felt appreciated.
So to conclude, follow your passion. Unconventional pathways can lead to your goals. Find that someone or tribe that believes in and champions you!