August 11, 2016, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
How 1623 changed everything
This week’s blog comes from former PPN placement student Sam Metz who has gone on to a successful career in which she is now in a position to be offering placements herself.
In 2012 I was awarded a graduate placement bursary to write a learning training and participation strategy for 1623, a Derby-based Shakespearian Theatre Company. 1623 believe Shakespeare and theatre should be for everyone and are passionate about inclusion, collaboration and participatory learning. So it was a really exciting environment in which to do my placement, and I was fortunate to be mentored by the theatre’s inspiring director Ben Spiller.
The placement with 1623 gave me time and space to observe a participatory approach to theatre making and learning, both the host organisation and by looking at other national organisations modelling the practice. Since then I always find myself framing my work in terms of participation, peer devising and co-construction, and it’s fair to say that my experiences of doing the research for 1623 have significantly informed and shaped my career as an artist, researcher and educator.
Post-graduation I’ve been an associate artist at Nottingham Contemporary and a freelance artist for a number of organisations including devising participatory workshops for Circuit Tate. My initial placement experience of observing learning in the arts has also seen me gain further opportunities in a number of arts education and learning environments, including my current roles generating learning programmes as a Learning Officer for Sandford Cascade and as Community Programmer at Nottingham Museums and Galleries.
“my experiences of doing the research for 1623 have significantly informed and shaped my career as an artist, researcher and educator”
While on the placement at 1623 I discovered an interest in digital arts platforms as a mode for enabling co-construction for young participants, and encouraged the creation of a digital collaborative platform for participants aged 15-25. This has opened doors for me to work on a number of e-learning projects and to various invitations to share my digital research more widely. And of course the placement also gave me opportunities to attend many events and to learn about the operational side of running a theatre organisation.
So, as you can see, I really can’t underestimate how much being awarded the placement boosted my confidence and has helped my career! I’d certainly encourage Nottingham students to undertake post graduate placements. Mine was organised so well by both the theatre company and the University, and it was great that it accommodated distance-working so that I could manage my own time and be motivated by my own learning.