Fingers in all the pies: Starter Tips for Graduates

Starter Tips for Graduates

There is something quite delicious about being an Arts Graduate: EVERYTHING LOOKS TASTY. 

Scanning your way through job sites is like looking at a menu with all your favourite dishes... but the ingredients are kept a secret.

Tip Number 1: Make sure you’ve got the right menu.

Being an artist, you’ll come to find that TIME = MONEY. Spending time on unhelpful websites will leave you unsatisfied and creatively hungry.

Here are some websites that ARE incredibly nutritious:

If you’re looking for food for thought…

& when you find yourself pottering around the Midlands and you want your slice of cake…..

Enough of the pie jokes already…

Tip Number 2: Place vast importance on creating connections. 

Connect with your past classmates, your lecturers, with arts companies you enjoy… then expand. Open your arms wide and reach out.

But how?

There are tonnes of local arts meet-up groups, co-workspaces and my personal favourite, coffee shops. Take a look around when you’re sipping on your coffee whilst browsing through the websites mentioned above. There may be someone in the room who works in your field, look out for them. Spark conversation with them. Talking with other creative people and sharing background knowledge and experience is like planting a seed that will lead to blooming flowers, especially if you take time to nurture them.

My favourite sites for meet-up leads are:!)
Facebook: Have a good hunt around in your local area. Community groups pop up all over the place. If you’re in Birmingham, I’ve heard that TheatreCuppa is a great one! Instagram events for photographers i.e anyone with a smartphone!

For Birmingham based creatives, find fellow folk at:

Ort Café in Moseley – Check their events out, too!
Birmingham Library (the loudest public library you’ll ever find, in a good way!)
6/8 Kafé – Independent coffee shop in the City Centre that even has space you can hire, for FREE!
The Custard Factory – Yumm/Alfie Birds

Tip Number 3: Don’t let your flowers wilt (or your pie go cold)

Drop your contacts a check-in email or tweet once a month to ensure they won’t forget about you. Furthermore, you’ll remain at the forefront of their mind when projects and positions crop up within their networks. A recommendation will get your foot firmly through the flowery door (and a pie in the oven). 

Tip Number 4: Be in the know

Know people. Know practice. Know movements. Know traditions. Know trends

Know organisations. And know their calendars.

It’s as easy as typing in your sought out centres into Google and checking out what they have on this month. Often, centres and galleries hold workshop days to get a feel for who’s out there. Share some of your practice and push your personality forward.  All artists love what they do, therefore common ground is a not-so-hidden treasure. Contacts, friendships, colleagues and collaboration develop from days like this. Dive in and get sticky!

Before your fingers get too sticky, get on your phone, and Tweet. 

Tip Number 5: Be present on Social Media

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Wordpress, Tumblr. YouTube. Pinterest. LinkedIn.
Some of them, all of them. Whatever works for you.

Having an online presence will expand your network across the country, and more desirably, the world. You’ll be in everyone’s pockets and everyone will take residence in yours. Write concise bios, post about your interests, share your work and comment on your industry.  Make it something you would want to see, and hashtag, wisely.
Attracting people to your online profile will attract people to your practice.

Tip Number 6: Be limitless

Now that you are juggling all your creative contacts whilst tweeting to the hills with your updated feed of what’s on, can you tell me what jobs are out there?

Actor, Dancer, Director, Musician, Visual Artist… most often this will be your practice. As you have your fingers in many pies, you may find one of the creative jobs below maybe your delicious fruit filling?

Arts Administration
Artistic Director
Communication Officer
Community Practitioner
Funding Co-ordinator
Human Resources
Participation & Learning Officer
Programme Co-ordinator
Projects Manager
Participation & Learning Officer
Stage Manager
Theatre Technician
Volunteers Co-ordinator

Remember the skills you gained in training are transferrable to many job roles in the arts.  An Actor can publically speak and a Dancer is a generator of ideas and so on… Be limitless.

Finally, to get that icing on the cake…

Tip Number 7: Pounce on opportunities that are in line with your passions, and be flexible.

Paid & unpaid. Small voluntary projects can lead to large paid projects. If you can get money coming in straight away, take pride in that. And stretch a little extra to broaden your experience and give a little bit of your time away for free: Good Karma will work its way round.

Sonia Sabri Company

Our recent intern at Sonia Sabri Company grabbed her opportunity through taking part in the Graduate Champions Scheme with DeMontford University. Hannah MacGregor came to us directly from university, offering her fresh enthusiasm and a willingness to put her mind and hands to the very many tasks of an arts organisation.

And her flexibility was brilliant.

While education often grounds you in your individual practice (the pie), experience will open your mind to the making (…baking).  Hannah came to us with the wonderful readiness to learn; a trait that is impeccably admirable in any human being.

Working in the arts industry requires a thirst to learn, 

to develop and to grow. 

That’s the beauty of it.

Go take a bite of it and make sure it’s a big one.

To read about Hannah’s personal journey with us at Sonia Sabri Company, click here.

With the correct menus at hand and the right ingredients, it’s now time to get baking your way to the career of your dreams and above all, get your fingers stuck in all the pies!

Hannah's Feedback

Our recent intern, Hannah MacGregor, wishes to share her reflection of the time she spent with us at Sonia Sabri Company. A huge thanks to Hannah. Sending her many positive thoughts for the future! 

DMU Graduate Champions Scheme Internship

As the door to my university experience closed, another door opened.  Upon completing my BA Honours degree in Performing Arts, I applied for the opportunity to do an internship via my university’s internship scheme for graduates.  I was very excited to be offered the chance to complete a six week internship with Sonia Sabri Company and I am so glad I accepted the opportunity!

From my very first day, I was warmly welcomed and accepted by all the team. 
I completed a variety of tasks within the six weeks, ranging from marketing, administration as well as arts and crafts.  I enjoyed all aspects of working for the company, but working on LOK VIRSA Beyond Borders was an experience that I will not forget.  It was refreshing to be working on a festival which brings so much colour, light, joy and happiness to the city of Birmingham!  I would also like to wish the company a huge congratulations on the success of the festival.

The amazing experiences I have embarked on would not have been as great without the wonderful people I worked with.  Sonia lives and breathes for Kathak and it was a pleasure to see an artist put their art first.  I see so many artists these days sacrifice the beauty of the art they create for their own personal gain.  Sonia, your tenacity and headstrong attitude is something I admire about you greatly and if there is one thing I have learnt from you, it is this.  Never sacrifice the niche of your art form for anybody or anything.  It is the purity of what you do that will give meaning to your creation and more importantly, joy to the people who have the pleasure of seeing it. 

Sarvar’s carefully crafted Tabla playing is simply an optic illusion to the mind as well as music to the ear, quite literally.  Having seen him teach, it is evident that he is passionate about his music and wants to share his knowledge with as many people as possible.  I love learning about new cultures and very much enjoyed the educational trip to KESH Academy to learn about the music of India. 

Mel’s organisation in the office, or organised chaos as she likes to call it, is certainly something I will take with me.  A lot of people know how to multi-task but I do not know many people who can juggle around fifteen tasks at a time and still be as cool as a cucumber.  Mel, your knowledge of managing projects and events fits in perfectly at the office and it was a pleasure learning new skills from you every day.  Thanks for my courgette! 

Annabelle is a superb addition to SSCO, her love, care and attention for what is best for the company is really evident, no matter what she is doing.  Her spiritual nature always made everyone in the office smile, even if it had been a stressful day.

You are all wonderful people, with wonderful hearts and it has truly been a privilege! I am sad that my time working with you has come to an end and I thank you for everything dearly.  Now that this door is closed, I hope the next door to open is not too far away.

All the best,