I arrived to London a year and a half ago to do my master. All this period has been defined by first experiences: first time living alone, first time living in another country, first time studying full time in another language, first time in London, first time in a place with seasons. The combination of these first experiences, plus the intensity of my Studies and the weather changes, made me feel many emotions that were new for me and were also hard to name. Now I see my experience with a new perspective and I can realise how London has been one of my toughest decisions, but also one of the most rewarding decisions of my life. The reason is that I was able to grow and learn a lot about the world, and me; additionally I gain more perspective, creativity, knowledge and critical thinking.
Before taking the plain that brought me here, I knew that besides my Studies I wanted to get involved in the artistic and cultural activities the city offered At the beginning, I thought that I was going to attend to events, museums and festivals, but I never expected to be involved in the development of those spaces. Everything started with a free film workshop. Five weeks working on a short film opened the door for me to art production industry and a deeper comprehension of the local art and culture. Thanks to this experience, I got involved in a programme for young people called ‘New Creatives’ at Rich Mix, a venue from East London.
The ‘New Creatives’ programme takes place every year with a different set of young people between 16 to 25 years old. The purpose is to develop skills and gain experience in events production, plus networking, having an artistic certification and having the possibility for a placement at Rich Mix. These type of programmes are common in London, you can find them in places like Barbican or small organisations like Phakama. Every venue or organisation looks forward for promoting young skills, while supporting them in their professional career. The best part of these opportunities is that they are free and the only thing a young person needs to do is to apply. Thanks to ‘New Creatives’ I learned how to create my own events, and only this year I have organised three of them with plans of producing two more. Furthermore, I had the opportunity of meeting people who work for the artistic industry, the same industry I already knew. Additionally, I have learnt how to develop my artistic career and where are those places that will offer me future opportunities.
It is important to take into account that these programmes are open to anyone that wants to participate and get some experience. Nonetheless, there are limited slots per year, what makes it very competitive, especially in big venues. This does not mean that it is impossible, I got the opportunity of working in two different programmes this year, plus having the chance to participate from free workshops and under 25’s benefits around London. The fact that I went through one of these organisations opened the doors to me and it is something I am very grateful for. I believe that the most important thing of the whole experience was that I was opened to what life wanted to give me, from which I learned a lot. To be honest, I don’t want to turn 26 next year.
London is full of opportunities for those who want to try new things and learn. Yes, it is very competitive because people start getting prepared from very young ages, but yes it is possible. The only thing you need to do is to apply and demonstrate you deserve a place in that programme. Even though I am only writing about arts and culture, I am sure there are many similar programmes in other areas, it would be necessary a bit of research and a click on everything that looks interesting. London is a good place to develop any profession, as well as it is a place to learn how to overcome fear and follow your dreams, because the tools are just in front of you at your disposition.
Written by Laura Jaramillo