Week 1: Lessons Learned, Plans Made

Welcome to M21 Professional Studies

Over the next few weeks I will post my weekly provocations that are based around a 2 day workshop with Percy Emmett, Jackie Elliman and Anna Moutrey regarding the business side of contemporary arts. Here is week 1’s Provocations.

  1. What were your top 3 take-away learnings from any of the sessions and why? (you spent more time with Percy, so it is fine for these to be just from his sessions)
  2.  Identify and outline one practical thing you can do to action at least one of these top 3 take-away learnings.


1. Understanding of a sole trader and freelancer


As an artist just about to leap into a new area of creating and coordinating my own work, I did not have an in depth understanding of the difference between particular labels that I as an artist need to place myself when starting a business. I found a sole trader most suited my expectations for the near future, as I am starting from the beginning on my own, a sole trader is the simplest and most common structure to start from. I now understand that being a freelancer which is the type of work I will undertake (being short term contracts that I personally invoice) comes under the banner of the type of work a sole trader does. For me as a dance teacher for the past few years I did not realise that having registered as self-employed I automatically am a sole trader within my own freelance business. I can now see the natural progression a small company can make after a few years of business.


Over this next year I would like to research further into the details of a sole trader and explore my options going forward. Down to specifics like insurance needs, the ins and out of personal liability, and what my rights are as a sole trader.


2. It is ok to involve others in your work.  


In our workshop with Percy we began discussing financial budgeting and funding applications. It was through this subject that he pointed out the notion to identify your strengths and if administration tasks like grant writing were not within this list then it is perfectly acceptable to find someone who can either help with that task, or who can be employed to do this for you. This is something oddly enough I had not considered before, being in charge of my own career in terms of jobs and funding I had come to expect I would complete these on my own. However it was reassuring to hear that it is ok to find someone who has a better understanding than you to get involved. This relieves a certain pressure that I will miss out on opportunities because I lack a particular skill in order to get me to that opportunity.


I would like to begin meeting new people this year from other disciplines at Coventry University. Namely within marketing, finance, producing and music. I believe with the facilities a university has to offer it is the best place to start connecting with others, as it certainly becomes harder once outside.


3. The message- a sentence to summarize what I do. 


When thinking about my artist statement, it was interesting to hear Percy outline what is needed within a presentation to work your work. Within this list he stated everyone needed a ‘message’ it was a short one sentence summary of what it is I do that can be repeated in different ways. I thought this is a great place to start now that I am beginning to communicate and sell my work to others. It effectively will allow me to identify at its core what I am wanting to place in the world in a way that is concise and understandable to all demographics.


Before writing my full artist statement I will create this ‘message’ that will be begin as my starting point. This is so that I can communicate what it is I do and clarify my own intentions as an artist and locate my position within contemporary arts.


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