Artsmark Coordinating Assistant chats career aspirations

Published on: 
2 Mar 2021

This National Careers Week meet Emma Thorpe, who’s joined us for her placement with The University of Manchester. About to embark on her creative career, we find out more about Emma’s aspirations.

Emma, tell us about yourself and your studies

I am currently studying for an MA in Arts Management at The University of Manchester, which involves exploring the arts and cultural sector and the business processes behind the industry. This year we have taken a particular focus on the work of the cultural sector during the pandemic and how these organisations will be able to recover and adapt going forward. Before this, I was studying for a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies with Education Studies at the University of Chester.         

What will you be doing in your role as Artsmark Coordinating Assistant?

My role involves working with the Children and Young People team to help deliver new outreach and learning initiatives, and I am primarily focusing on the development of the Artsmark programme. I will be exploring the current operations of the Artsmark Award programme and helping analyse and evaluate new ways of taking the programme forward to link with the Arts Council’s new strategy, Let’s Create.   

What are you hoping to achieve through your placement with the Arts Council?

Throughout my placement I want to gain as much insight into the industry as I can. I want to improve my evaluative skills whilst also learning effective ways to discuss the process of a project. I am excited to get involved in the workings of the Arts Council and help assist with projects which are going to provide increased access for children and young people to get involved with the arts and creative activities.  

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt so far?

One of the most surprising things that I have realised is the vast number of schools who consistently strive to embed creativity into their curriculum – when I went to school there seemed to be much more of a focus on core subjects. However, through this placement I have been able to hear how so many schools are placing arts at the heart of their curriculum and giving students the opportunity to be creative and gain valuable skills which they can take forward into their careers, no matter path they choose.

How do you think this placement will fit into your career aspirations?

I have always wanted to work in some description within the arts and education sectors whether that is through teaching in schools or within the cultural sector through learning departments. This placement I believe will equip me with the skills to go into the industry in some role and continue to improve the provisions for the arts and creativity within our education and learning sector which many organisations across the country are already doing.

What inspired you to pursue a career within the creative industries?

The arts and especially drama and theatre has always been something that interests me. So, I always knew that I wanted to do something which involved the sector in some capacity. From an early age, I knew that I did not want to go into the acting side of the industry but teaching and education has always interested me. I enjoy seeing how children and young people create and the work they produce but also the joy and pride they take over their own work which has inspired me to want to bring that feeling to more members of our young society.

And finally, what's your favourite creative or cultural memory?

One of my favourite memories was organising and running a club for 200 children in Tanzania. What I remember most is at the end of the second day, all the children had made lion masks in the craft session we held. When they held them up to their faces, it was so heart-warming to see them all so proud of the work they had achieved, and it was also lovely to see the team who I had gone out with so pleased that they had been able to be a part of it.    


That sounds amazing, thank you Emma and good luck for the future!


To find out more about creative careers, check out Discover! Creative Careers 2021 from Creative & Cultural Skills. It’s an online careers programme introducing students to different careers and workplaces across the creative industries, taking place all this week



Emma Thorpe

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Cultural education gives children and young people the opportunity to develop their creativity, both individually and collectively, and that's why our goal is for every child and young person to have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts.

Darren Henley
Chief Executive
Arts Council England

It's vital that children have the opportunity to learn and enjoy arts and culture from an early age. It develops their creativity, inspires future careers and enriches their childhood.

Artsmark Award does brilliant work in schools and education to ensure young people access a broad and balanced curriculum that includes high-quality arts and culture.

Michael Ellis MP
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism
Department of Culture, Media and Sport