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Grace’s Journey as an Artist

From trainee to fully-fledged artist, how darts developed Grace's practice

An artist kneels on the floor holding up a huge red balloon as she opens her mouth to speak. Below, a young child stretches out their arms ready to catch the balloon as others hold a parachute open for the balloon to fall onto. Grace is delivering at a Tuneful Chatter session in Doncaster.

Traineeships at darts 

Traineeships at darts provide artists with the unique opportunity of working alongside professional participatory arts facilitators with diverse arts practices. The traineeships are designed to fit around candidates’ individual practice and other responsibilities, enabling them to learn, develop and grow their practice as a valued member of the darts team, alongside existing commitments, and their own creative ambitions.

To support a traineeship at darts, make a donation today.

Grace’s Journey

Grace began her journey as a drama artist when she was in school. Growing up in a working-class family in Castleford, Grace told us that there were few opportunities to access arts and culture, let alone have a creative practice of her own. Going to university to study Theatre and Performance, Grace said that she had to overcome many barriers to earn a place on her course and that, despite being passionate about her degree and her experience, it was difficult to find her place in a cohort where she was the only person from her background.

“Most of the people on my course were very well-off, and came from really rich families. They couldn’t understand me, not even acknowledging that I was there. I had to change my accent for them to understand what I was saying…”

 

Joining darts

Grace said that coming to Doncaster really resonated with her: local areas reminded her of home, and residents’ stories aligned with her own. When she saw the opportunity for a traineeship, she felt her values really matched with darts’, and was excited by the opportunity to grow, building upon her experience through a dedicated framework of development.

“The reason that I love community arts so much is because I never had anything like that… when I go into nurseries and I see levels of deprivation, it’s strange because I think, “was I one of those kids?”

As a fierce advocate for equitable access to the arts, Grace told us that working with darts enabled her to stand for what she believed in:

Allowing them [participants] to have experiences with art, without having to pay for it, is something that will always drive my practice.

Despite being initially nervous about the traineeship, Grace soon found her feet and felt supported, welcomed and valued from the start. She told us that it took her some time to build confidence in herself as she began something new, but said that she was always made to feel comfortable and that any of her anxieties were listened to.

Any worries that I had – as a freelancer, as an artist – Janet [darts mentor] took care of.”

 

Developing Professional Practice 

Alongside developing her professional practice, Grace told us that the traineeship was pivotal in her personal growth, too. Her confidence grew significantly. Grace said that the traineeship provided her with an essential toolkit as a freelancer and creative practitioner – gaining an understanding of how to pursue a career in the creative industry after studying at university and having no role model to look up to when she was younger.

I never knew how to be professional as an artist as your creative practice is so embedded into who you are. But working with darts, it’s such a lovely company to work for, I now know how to hold myself and feel more confident in how I want to be perceived as a professional.

Through the traineeship, Grace was supported to grow and develop her approach to community engagement and participatory arts delivery. Completing the traineeship successfully, equipped with a huge range of knowledge and skills, Grace was invited to join the team as a professional facilitator, designing and delivering her own sessions. She told us that the support and training she received at darts enabled and inspired her to overcome the barriers she has faced throughout her career as a theatre practitioner, achieving her dream as an artist.

Imagination. That’s what’s at the heart of art. Children have so much unfiltered imagination and I will definitely use that and put it into other pieces, because unfiltered imagination is where all the big ideas come from.

 

To find out more about Tuneful Chatter, get in touch with Sophie via sophie@wearedarts.org.uk.

 

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