Supporting mid-career artists / talent development

Claire Saddleton, 21 September 2012

This session was called because there appears to be a lack of professional development opportunities for mid-career artists or for those who are starting out slightly later in life.

Points of discussion included:

- It was felt that the majority of development opportunities are aimed at emerging artists of a specific age (18-25)

- that the definition of emerging should not be glued to an idea of being that age

- some artists take career breaks and then struggle to gain entry route opportunities

- artists with a body of work behind them are no longer seen as exciting

- there are too few showcasing or competition opportunioties that allow you to submit work anonymously

- there is a lack of geographical spread of opportunities such as master classes - the majority taking place in London at times that make travel costs expensive

- where do artists go to refresh their practice?

Possible solutions:

- challenge the organisations offering targeted opportunities - question the focus on ‘emerging’ meaning ‘young’

- look at online networks and opportnuities - a skype forum? Though it was noted that this would lose the valuable coffee-break face to face contact

- the example of ‘Beyond Play’ at Salisbury Playhouse was offered as both an opportunity for local artists and a model of possible working. Artists meeting on the first Friday of the month to support each other and share work/ideas/learning/gripes/joys

- set up something that offers a skill swapping network

- seek out opportunities to set up your own specialist masterclasses - identify the gap, the demand, the possible partnerships, the speccialists and apply for funding

- venues look at open days for local artists to see what's needed

- look at family friendly workshops, where people with kids are welcomed


mid-career development, master-classes, talent development