Where are they now? Former Create interns share their stories

Over the years, scores of passionate volunteers and staff members have worked tirelessly to help us bring about our dream of achieving a fairer, more caring, more inclusive society. We recently sat down with four former interns to find out how their experiences with Create played a role in helping them to get to where they are today. Korantema Anyimadu ~ Create Project Assistant 2013 Now: Events Co-Ordinator, The Early Intervention Foundation

“On the last day of a six week sculpture project with adult carers, one of the participants came over, said thanks and gave me a big hug. Apart from the warm, fuzzy feeling a good hug gives you, it was the first time I really appreciated how special the workshops were that I was involved with. That project was my first at Create and one of the many great experiences during my time as an intern. It’s pretty rare to be able to say you’ve written a song with a group of over 80s and a week later made a board game about a dinosaur’s underwear but thanks to the variety of projects Create has to offer, there was never a dull moment. My word count isn’t big enough to list all the useful skills I developed, which I now use daily as a charity Events Co-ordinator. It’s not just the ability to make a cracking colour-coordinated project plan but I’m also more confident engaging with a diverse range of people and much more open to new experiences and situations. I was lucky enough to be at Create during its 10 year anniversary. For a small team, Create has a big impact (it’s no mean feat running an organisation in less than 500 square feet!). I can’t recommend interning highly enough – it’s an incredible way of contributing to something worthwhile whilst learning and discovering your own strengths. Who knows, you may even get a free hug too.”   Kate Hodson ~ Create Project Assistant 2008 Now: Learning and Participation Manager (Opera), Royal Opera House Kate Headshot small“It’s hard to believe my internship at Create was almost seven years ago. I moved to London and started my six month role in January 2008 where I worked primarily on coordinating two flagship projects: creative:space and ArtsAdventures. Moving into Arts Project Management was a deliberate move for me. As a child, singing was something that resonated with me deeply and through my involvement in choirs and other arts activities I found a place for self-expression, friendship and belonging. When I was studying, I spent a lot of time in schools and community settings teaching music and saw first-hand its potential for skills development, social change, personal wellbeing and its ability to bring communities together. My time at Create gave me a wealth of experience working across art forms, which added to my knowledge and experience in music. I learnt key skills in project planning and event management from my Create colleagues and peers who helped and mentored me throughout the six months. The days and weeks at Create were incredibly varied: one day I would be painting a mural in a school in South London, the next I would be coordinating a team of musicians to travel to a hospice in East Anglia to play for patients and families. I loved the variety, which in turn helped me to hone and develop skills such as multitasking, communication, cross art form working, problem solving and advance planning, all of which have proved invaluable in my role today at the Royal Opera House. Here I oversee the opera programme within the Learning and Participation team, managing and producing events and programmes for young people, families, community groups, schools and teachers to engage in singing, drama, writing and design.”   Jonathan Qureshi ~ Create Project Assistant 2008/09 Now: Senior Project Officer (rough sleeping commissioning), Greater London Authority Jonathan Quershi“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Create as it gave me a foot in the door as an intern to develop my knowledge, not just in the creative industries and the third sector but into the workplace in general. I think it was an important stop-gap after university that offered many transferable skills. For example, I now work in rough sleeping commissioning in the public sector. This involves ongoing project management and good communication and organisational skills – all of which my time at Create helped me to improve. I actually ended up using other skills in my first role after Create, such as designing leaflets, which I did for projects at Create, and ended up developing housing brochures for a local authority as part of my role. I even took a leaflet I had designed to an interview to show an example of what I could do. It is definitely these transferable skills that Create can help you to develop.”   Remi Johnson ~ Create Communications Assistant 2014 Now: Press and Digital Content Officer at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art remijohnson“It feels like so much happened within the year that I was with Create. I saw and learnt so much! I think that’s one of the benefits of working in a small but tight-knit team – within my first month I had visited numerous Create programmes, including music projects for disabled children and poetry workshops for people who had been affected by homelessness, been on marketing and communications training, gone through the entire back catalogue of Create’s media coverage, and that’s before I had learnt everybody’s name! I think the title ‘intern’ often conjures up images of making tea and filing but from the get go I was always treated as a valued member of the team. Because my position was runin partnership with The Rank Foundation, I had very specific targets for the year (to develop and implement a PR Strategy; and to increase the reach of social media) but was also allowed to develop the role as I saw fit. For example, I proactively looked for ways to increase Create’s media coverage and also cultivated good relationships with community partners for publicity purposes. Earlier this year, I started a new role within the arts and culture sector and feel my time at Create has grounded me with key skills to be able to feel confident in this new position – including being able to make a good cup of tea!”