After finishing my undergraduate studies in a degree of Management, Leadership and Leisure at the University of Manchester, I went straight into the Master studies in MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice. During my three-year studies in Manchester, I realised that Manchester is such a wonderful city with great culture which presents different forms of arts and creative activities every day. Particularly, festival and event management has proved to be extremely attractive to me, as well as being a dancer for more than 20 years which makes me passionate about working in the arts sector. When I saw the name of the Manchester International Festival (MIF) appear on the placement preference list, I put it down as my first option without any hesitation. I have attended a few events organised by MIF in the past and this got me wondering how MIF can organise such a mega festival with many events performed in a variety of venues across Manchester at the same time. I was so lucky to be given this opportunity to work at MIF.
Manchester International Festival (MIF) is an artist-driven arts festival which is staged every two-year. It was established in 2007 and it aims to bring international artists together with local communities for extraordinary experiences in arts. My role at the placement was to assist the Creative Learning Team to look after the key projects and commissions at MIF17, for example, My Festival Community, Fatherland and What Is the city but the People? When I went into the MIF office on the first day, I was surprised by the office setting which shows an open and creative working environment at MIF. Sarah Hoscock, the Creative Learning Manager is my placement supervisor who has assigned and monitored my work during the placement at MIF. Due to the specific projects at MIF this year, I also have Kate Houlton, the Community Coordinator as my supervisor especially in relation to My Festival Community.
My Festival is MIF’s newly established creative community which is designed to tie people to the Festival and make a good MIF participatory experience for them. MIF would like to invite local residents who are interested in the arts to sign-up to this community. Therefore, I helped the team to research some of the less active communities in Greater Manchester and contacted them by organising some MIF introductory workshops in their centres. Also, I monitor the sign-up figures by looking at participants’ age, ethnicity, postcode, previous experience and so on. After this process was done, I prepared a summary of the latest updated master sheet and reported to the Director of the Creative Learning Team. She then evaluates all the information and report this to the MIF’s funders. However, most of the time I was playing with the numbers and data, it’s a challenge for me to not only evaluate those less participatory areas, but also provide possible solutions to them. Sarah and Kate, are both very helpful and willing to answer any questions that I asked related to managing the festival.
I would like to thank the Creative Learning Team and other colleges at MIF who have given me such an exciting and unique experience during my placement. Everyone in the MIF management team is working hard to make this year’s Festival stunning. I also want to take this opportunity to call out to anyone who is interested in joining My Festival Community, please go to: http://mif.co.uk/my-festival/sign-up/ and there are volunteer opportunity at MIF17 as well, please go to: Volunteer at MIF17: http://mif.co.uk/my-festival/volunteers/
Or for more information about the events at Manchester International Festival, please go to: http://mif.co.uk/mif17-events/