Work experience blog: Day 1

From the many applications across the city, following shortlist and interview, three young people were successfully selected to take part in our work experience insight with Sunderland Culture in April.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing a series of blogs that document their unique experience.

The first blog is from Styx, a photography student from Sunderland who talks about their first day with us….

Name: Styx
Studying: Photography at Newcastle College
Year: 12
Lives: Sunderland

On day 1 of our work experience, we entered the National Glass Centre building to a warm atmosphere and to warm and friendly staff. We began with an introduction to our work experience week and we discussed our artistic/education backgrounds together.

Today we were to take a cultural walking tour of Sunderland – this sparked conversation regarding the struggles that young creative people face today, balancing passion for the arts and finding free time from responsibilities. We walked and talked.

Lead by Laura Brewis from Sunderland Culture, we ventured first into Sunniside and embarked on a journey to visit the little artistic gems nestled amongst a sadly derelict side of town- such gems, it seems, that are hidden away due in part to the unfortunate costs of setting up business directly in the city center.

Firstly, we walked into the city center and made a stop at Hills Art Centre to discuss our personal feelings about creative industries. We touched on modern day issues, such as issues for young people who want to commit to new creative courses and opportunities but who need to also study and work. Unfortunately, I feel life sometimes passes and the things you’d like to try get faded amongst the sudden pressures in the shift between adolescence and early adulthood.

We spoke about growth, how sometimes it’s left to the creatives to become their own biggest supporter when pursuing their craft and how this takes perseverance and determination.

The second venue we visited was a beautifully charming musicians studio, tucked away in an old historical building, which became a hub for valuable creative projects for young people- specifically ‘The Young Musicians Project’. We discussed not only our own musical ventures, but how valuable safe spaces are for those in such an industry- spaces where personality and flair become a sanctuary. Personally, I found it tough that spaces like this aren’t broadly recognised. We talked about how the sector could overcome this issue and we discussed methods of advertising to bring all the small artistic businesses together.

We then visited PopRecs and realized that the following quote chimed with us all in the group “everything beautiful is hidden by small doors.’ We moved from a small front-facing cafe into a stunning rustic space centered for musical talents. The open roof provided a subtle natural light that created a highlight upon stage, a perfect venue to enjoy music without the anxiety of larger spaces. I could imagine the intimate venue would allow an audience to experience a really personal and impactful moment in the space. The staff were dedicated to the craft, simply enjoying the impact these spaces make on our community- bringing all people together for a common purpose.

“Everything beautiful is hidden behind small doors”

Our final stop on the walking tour was the infamous ‘Fire Station’ venue, an architectural masterpiece situated within the city center. The lighting and wood textures give a down-to-earth, natural vibe appealing to any customer who would undoubtedly leave with a sense of awe. We met with incredibly talented staff from Sunderland Culture and discussed their progression within the arts whilst being granted backstage access to see the equipment and the ‘behind-the-scenes’ that makes all the magic happen.

Today was just day one of the Sunderland Culture work experience, with three more days to go and my mind is racing.

After reflecting upon today, I’ve really begun to appreciate the creative process and pathways that the staff of these places go through- that creating spaces  that grow from heart is the real way to achieve a genuine and welcoming space for the community.

We don’t need to have all the answers as young people – skills are picked up along the way, and we never stop growing when we’re doing what we love.

If you’re interested in applying, our next work experience runs from July 18th-21st 2023. Deadline for applications is 2nd June 2023.

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