Mat Sims

Young Media Consultant Scheme

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The Young Media Consultant Scheme is a programme run by PANDA in partnership with Proper Job Theatre Company and funded by Manchester Cutural Partnerships and Arts Council England.
The programme aims to give unemployed young people with a drive to work in the creative arts, valuable experience with arts organisations, developing media skills and delivering a final online project.

During the Autumn 2013 scheme the media consultant teams delivered each host employer with an online promotional dvd to promote an aspect of their work. Further details of the employers and the final videos can be found below.

The lab project

As part of the Young Media Consultant project, Proper Job Theatre asked consultants Victoria Lowe and Sarah Jones to document the work done by the company at the LAB Project. LAB is a unique scheme that aims to increase participants’ confidence to progress to employment, training or further education. The video produced by the YMCs follows the activities undertaken by LAB in preparing the participants to deliver a drama workshop at the end of two weeks’ training. With interviews by facilitators and previous participants, the film illustrates what participants can gain from joining the project and look at the success stories it has led to.

To view this video, click here.

Two Boards and a Passon

As part of the Young Media Consultant scheme, 2 Boards & A Passion asked consultants Isaac Cunningham and Rosie Hall to create a promotional video documenting the various work the company undertakes and introducing their new project, Click!. The film shows the workshops and clubs the company run with local museums and schools, including interactive work bringing historical characters to life. The video also introduces Click!, the company’s new interactive anti-cyberbullying production aimed at primary schools.

To view the video, click here.

Desparate measures at Three Minute Theatre

As part of the Young Media Consultant project, Three Minute Theatre asked consultants Daniel Adams and Rosie Fielding to document the work done by the newly established Manchester Shakespeare Company at Three Minute Theatre. Desperate Measures was the inaugural performance from the Manchester Shakespeare Company, which rehearses and performs in Three Minute Theatre. The play was a modern re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure set in a dystopian future under the threat of totalitarianism. Three Minute Theatre aims to promote new writing and performance to a wide audience. The theatre works on a unique, entirely recycled basis: props, seating even glasses and gifts are salvaged and hand crafted to cater to the venue.

To view this video, click here.

In Doggerland rehearsal diary

s part of the Young Media Consultant project, Box Of Tricks Theatre Company asked consultants John Vaughan and Clare O’Neill to document the work done in the conception, rehearsal and execution of their new production In Doggerland. Written by Tom Morton-Smith, the production opened at the prestigious Lowry venue in Salford. The video comprises rehearsal footage as well as interviews with the creative team to create an impression of the production’s work in progress building toward the staging.

To view this video, click here.

PANDA Christmas Gala

As part of the Young Media Consultant project, PANDA asked consultants Ryan Curtis and Emma Warburton to document the work done by PANDA for their gala Christmas dinner. As part of their end of year celebrations, PANDA hosted a Christmas meal in the Palace Hotel in Manchester. Members of the network were invited to attend as well as some who were invited to perform in
various forms from music to circus acrobatics. The event was emceed by Sophie Willan who is interviewed here forming a visual invitation to participate in this fantastic event.

To view this video, click here.

Library Entrepreneurs Programme

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PANDA and CCSkills piloted an innovative scheme via the Creative Employment Programme.

Please note: this programme is now closed to further applications as the Creative Employment strand of funding ended. Please get in touch to be placed on our mailing list for future schemes.

5 x 18-24year olds seeking to establish themselves as freelance or self-employed within the creative industries, education & training, youth, health or community sectors were supported through the early stages of startup with the following package:

  • 6 months minimum wage 30 hrs a week
  • 1:1 business mentoring & coaching
  • access to our Creative Breaks training programme, learning film, research & journalism, community engagement, marketing and campaigning, communication skills.
  • access to PANDA’s training, networking and professional development opportunities alongside professional industry members
  • base & support within a host library offering desk, wifi, access to equipment, access to a customer base to test pilot the business model

5 Greater Manchester young people who were registered unemployed progressed through the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, supported by Libraries in Bolton, Tameside, Stockport, Manchester and Oldham. Over 6 months, they researched and developed ideas for their creative enterprises:

Sonia Ayaz, placed with Manchester library, was able to make use of their business section, including google workshops and intellectual property advice, as well as the stunning media centre which offers free access to mac computers loaded with the latest design software. With PANDA’s creative business support and mentoring by Union Street Media Arts Natasha Boojihawon, Sonia designed and created a prototype vegan handbag, testing out her desire to launch an ethical accessory business.

Mark Roberts was hosted by Oldham Library – specifically Live@TheLibrary. He wanted to explore a social enterprise which incorporated the use of writing competitions, publishing, workshops, clubs, online platforms and events to encourage more people to write and to see their work published. Mark was also a key member of the Creative Breaks team that produced an award winning short film celebrating Manchester’s London Road Fire Station.

Kadija Ollow, placed in Tameside with Portland Basin Museum, conducted outreach activities to identify and engage with female BME creatives, through a series of workshops, interviews and creative briefs. Her interests  are around using her skills to raise awareness of hidden issues, creating platforms to showcase and promote the voice of those whose stories and representation are largely invisible. She hopes to build a career in this area and used the entrepreneurship to test community based work, build contacts and networks and curate an exhibition of womens work which showed at the Portland Basin Museum for a month to tie in with International Women’s Day.

Eleanor Morgan spent time in the Archives of her host, Stockport Library, researching and trialling ways to make local, social and political history more accessible and engaging for younger generations. Exploring methods of digitalisation of the archives and raising awareness of the immense resource available in libraries also linked in with the development of editing skills as a key member of the Creative Breaks team producing the award-winning London Road Fire Station film. Following completeion of her entrepreneurship, Eleanor was taken on as an employee within Greater Manchester library services.

Sarah McCue and Bolton Libraries were a match made in heaven as she brought her interest in child development and arts and crafts experience to bear in designing and testing a series of family friendly workshops which could serve to encourage more families to spend time in the smaller libraries around the Bolton catchment area. Throughout this time, Sarah also developped her design businesss into a profit making online Estsy store, selling badges, pins and cards to an international market. Since her entrepreneurship ended, Sarah has been working PT as a paid employee within various Greater Manchester library services.

The Writing Can

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The Writing Can is an informal but facilitated place where writers are encouraged to come and simply write. It’s a great opportunity to teach yourself discipline and keep on schedule for writing deadlines, or keep track of your own writing projects.

These weekly meetings will put an emphasis on getting words down, exploring creativity, challenging your writing skills, and having a break from that empty room and isolated writing desk. The Writing Can is a space with the time to write away from distractions and amongst peers who understand the life of a writer.

Spotlight On

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Spotlight On events are practical panel-led information and networking events focussing on a topic relevant to the performing arts, run in association with our partner organisations.

Each high quality stand-alone session is delivered by a panel of experienced guest speakers who offer a concise, practical and informative introduction to the topic. There is plenty of opportunity for discussion and debate plus further signposting to allow participants to pursue the issues raised in the way which suits them best.

Rural Touring Mentoring Scheme

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The Rural Touring Mentoring Scheme is one of our longest-running and most successful development schemes, having mentored 32 companies, and supported many more to tour their work to a rural audience, since it was launched in 2005.

This highly successful scheme, enables members to pitch, gain feedback and access to a panel of rural venue programmers, promoters and producers. Mentored companies/artists are provided with an understanding of the issues and contexts in which rural touring operates; including advice on marketing, pricing, administration, contracting, press and publicity, licensing, designing
for small community spaces, technical considerations, artistic content and liaising with promoters. Artists are helped to make the most of the opportunity through additional support prior and following the pitching by PANDA with the help of peers experienced in rural touring. Those selected for the ‘pitching’ day watch each others pitches enabling them to learn about each others work
and different approaches in communicating that. The atmosphere is always highly supportive and often friendships and collaborations are born!

Delivered in partnership with the Northern Consortium of Rural Touring Networks it also enables programmers and promoters to be introduced to more local talent and to develop a relationship over time, building trust and understanding between artist and promoter. The PANDA scheme also creates a space for programmers and promoters to share knowledge, experience and tips face-to-face in a relaxed environment. To date, the scheme involves: Spot On Lancashire; Arts Out West Cumbria; Highlights Cumbria; Rural Arts North Yorkshire; Cheshire Rural Touring; Arts Alive
Shropshire, ARTery East Riding of Yorkshire and Live Lincs.

Rural Touring Mentoring Scheme 2014

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The PANDA Rural Touring event was held on the 24th and 25th March and was hosted by the Witham in Barnard Castle. This year saw the attendance of even more rural touring promoters and programmers than previously. As well as close PANDA partners Cheshire Rural Touring Arts manager Claire Smith and Spot On Lancashire’s Sue Robinson we also had in attendance
Caroline Aston from Arts Out West, programmers from the Witham as well as ArtERY and Highlights.

The scheme aims to raise awareness amongst the community of PANDA companies of the existence of rural touring and the creative opportunities that exist for artists to make work for rural touring and create relationships between promoters and this local cohort of companies.

The scheme received 32 applications and 8 were selected to pitch to the panel. This year a dance company from London was selected as well as companies from across the North West. The companies were all extremely excited to have the opportunity to pitch and have been very complimentary about the experience of pitching and valued the feedback from the panel as well as the future contacts to aid in the development of their piece for rural touring.

Future Jobs Fund

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PANDA is the North West partner in the national bid by New Deal of the Mind to deliver the Future Jobs Fund.

Over the past 12 months PANDA has brokered 100 new jobs for unemployed young people within our members’ organisations, and provided support to ensure both the employee and employer gets the maximum benefit out of the opportunity.

This project has now ended with some brilliant outcomes for both employers and employees.

Find out how one of our FJF partnerships went on by watching the vimeo link above. In this video, Steph Graham (FJF employee at Castlefield Gallery) and Dan Jones (FJF employee at The Edge) reflect on their experiences over the past 6 months. We also hear from Janine Waters, FJF employer and Artistic Director of The Edge, arts centre in Chorlton, Manchester.

Foot In The Door 2014

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Foot In The Door 2014 is a professional development programme for young people delivered by 24:7 Theatre Arts Network, the Performing Arts Network and Development Agency & Proper Job Theatre Company.

Foot In The Door 2014 is a new collaboration between PANDA, 24:7 Theatre Arts Network and Proper Job Theatre Company. As part of our final young media consultant scheme we have teamed up with 24:7 and Proper Job to deliver our project which helps young people develop skills in arts marketing and social media and to get hands-on experience working freelance for an artist or arts organisation. We have combined this project with 24:7’s Foot In The Door scheme which they have also been running successfully for a number of years, where they offer fantastic placement opportunities to young people, who help with the festival writers and organisers and in return gain a lot of valuable experience, skills, and new contacts and connections. Since the benefits of both schemes are so valuable we have combined our programmes and created a fantastic placement programme for young people which our current participants are currently under-taking.

Creative Conversations

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Creative Conversations are intimate forums for debate, discussion and informal networking for more established performing arts practitioners.

Creative Conversations are delivered in partnership with organisations across the North West, with the location alternating monthly between Manchester and venues in Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside and Cumbria.

During 2008 PANDA piloted a programme of monthly brunch events for a selected audience of established performing arts practitioners from the region. The content and structure of the events was driven by the participants themselves in order to meet their needs. This successful pilot programme was been developed into the Creative Conversations series, which rolled out as a new PANDA service in 2009.

“Loved the informality and smallish groups, allowed for dialogue and lots of opportunities for questions.” Pilot programme participant

Creative Conversations events are exclusive limited-capacity forums for debate and discussion amongst peers and invited VIP guests. Each session includes a presentation from a high-level industry figure which ignites a creative conversation around a specific topic. Refreshments are provided and there is plenty of opportunity for informal networking.

In addition to the Creative Conversations events PANDA also run Spotlight On events which give an introduction to a current topic relevant to the performing arts. PANDA members can also access further training and professional development opportunities as part of our package of development services.

Creative Breaks

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Creative Breaks is the name for PANDA’s creative work programme. In 2016/17 Creative Breaks is focussed on Greater Manchester where we are delivering in partnership with Union Street Media Arts and are funded by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.

The programme seeks to develop key skills and qualities appropriate to working in the arts; marketing, event promotion, digital media, campaigning and project management but transferable to self-employment and many other career paths.

In 2016/17 our programme is strongly centred around the areas of arts, community and social change.

Our project is particularly suited to those interested in one/more of the following:

  • Team leading & project management
  • Marketing & campaigning
  • Research & journalism
  • Community engagement
  • Social Issues/Activism
  • Cultural & Creative industries
  • Self-employment

Participants receive intensive training during the project in community engagement, project management, short film production and editing, campaign strategy and branding as well as social media and website/blog creation. They are also be given the opportunity to achieve Arts Award as part of the project.