manchester jazz festival (mjf) is an annual 10-day festival in the heart of Manchester which will be celebrating its 20th festival this year! mjf is keen to promote the talent of young artists, especially in the North-West. It is run by a surprisingly small team of professionals who are committed and work hard to make the festival happen. I started my placement at manchester jazz festival in November 2014 and will be working there until the end of the festival in August 2015. My role at the festival is that of Festival Assistant where I work on a number of tasks with different members on the team and which are entrusted to me by the festival manager. Although my role was that of festival assistant, I did so much more than assisting! I worked on different areas of the festival including the mjf friend scheme, environmental sustainability and other administrative tasks. Moreover, I am currently project managing the Irwin Michell mjf originals commission and working on volunteer coordination.
The commission is a special performance which is part of the festival held in August. My role as project coordinator allows me to communicate with a number of talented artists and musicians as well as with other organisations. I am also regularly involved in meetings with the artists themselves where I am able to learn about and experience the artistic process with them in different ways.
Being present at staff meetings every month is really beneficial to me because each time I learn more and more about what it takes to organise a festival such as the manchester jazz festival. I was also able to attend a conference about environmental sustainability in Manchester as part of mjf and learnt a lot from that too. Moreover, I visited performance venues with the festival producer, visited potential discount partners for the mjf friend scheme and conducted meeting with the artists involved in the mjf originals commission. My role takes me to different places and helps me contact and meet so many different people. I am learning so much from this experience both on a personal and professional level. There are always some challenges along the way, but these challenges have helped me become more confident in what I do and what I could be capable of doing in the future.
I am also grateful that I had another friend and colleague from the MA course on the placement as we were able to discuss things together, go to events together and even work together occasionally. The mjf team are very welcoming and are always happy to help. I will never forgot receiving a wonderful bouquet of flowers and a card from them on my 21st birthday, only a couple of weeks into my placement, it was such a lovely gesture, I knew I was going to be happy there!