How did we get here?

Published on: 
1 Mar 2021

It’s National Careers Week and we’re shining a light on creative careers. Meet our Artsmark team, find out how they got here and their advice for the next generation of creatives…

Emily Fletcher, Senior Officer for Artsmark

Emily trained as a dancer at the London Studio Centre and went on to work as a freelance dancer and choreographer. She started teaching dance in Further and Higher Education settings on the side and quickly fell in love with it. Whilst teaching, Emily completed a BA (Hons) Dance Studies at Middlesex University and then progressed into college management, spending many years as Course Leader on a post-16 vocational performing arts course. Emily started working for the Arts Council in 2014 and loves her current role on the Artsmark Team, helping to improve the quality and quantity of arts and creativity in schools.

“Life can throw you curveballs, so even if you think you know what you want and where you’re heading, be open to unexpected opportunities and go with the flow. If what you’d hoped for doesn’t pan out, something even better is probably just around the corner.”

Leonore Hibou, Artsmark Assistant 

Leonore studied Music at the University of Manchester, graduating with a Bachelor’s in 2015 and a Masters degree in 2017. Alongside her studies, she took part in wide variety of voluntary and paid opportunities, including front-of-house for the Manchester Camerata and a graduate traineeship for the Brighton Early Music Festival. The latter offered experience in many different aspects of arts administration, including fundraising, marketing and concert management. This led to a year-long internship for the Academy of Ancient Music, an early music orchestra in Cambridge, as Development Assistant. Leonore has been on the Artsmark team since December 2018. Alongside this, she still engages in arts and community-focused volunteering in her spare time.

My biggest piece of advice would be ‘carpe diem’ - which is Latin for ‘seize the day’!  It’s important to have an open mind and try out as many different things as possible. Whilst at university I was involved in many different societies and opportunities, some of which had nothing to do with music. These really helped me broaden my horizons and led me to where I am today.”

Jenny Woods, Artsmark Officer

Jenny studied English and Drama at the University of East Anglia, before training at Drama Centre London on the MA Acting course. While building her acting career, she also founded a theatre company in 2014, under whose umbrella she’s produced a number of theatre productions and new writing festivals, more recently expanding into filmmaking. Alongside her creative projects, Jenny’s also worked in the private and charitable sectors in a range of roles including in marketing and communications and project management, all of which have broadened her experience and enabled her to build a range of skills. Keen for all aspects of her professional life to sit within the arts sector, and with a desire to support and strengthen the equitable engagement of children and young people in the arts, Jenny was delighted to join the Artsmark team in January 2020.

“It’s common for creatives to balance more than one role and income stream, and there can be lots of benefits such as expanding your skillset and widening your understanding of the world around you which can be motivating and inspirational, as well as useful. Don’t be afraid of having your finger in many pies – you never know how it might help you in your career. And if nothing else, you’ll meet and learn from some great people and have a lot of fun on the way”.

Matt Smith, Artsmark Officer

After originally wanting to be a scientist or engineer while at school, Matt changed direction, studying 3D Design at college and then Ceramics at the University of Wolverhampton, achieving a BA (Hons). Following his degree, he worked at the General Teaching Council in the field of Teacher’s Qualifications. Matt joined the Arts Council in 2005 and has been here ever since, undertaking a number of different roles including Grant Administration, External Relations and Development, Operations, Finance and Business Analysis and Business Systems Development, before joining the Artsmark Team in May 2019. He loves working on Artsmark because as a dad to a six-year-old daughter who is always drawing, dancing and singing, he sees every day how important creativity is to children’s development and wellbeing.

“My original career aspirations were very different to what I’ve ended up doing, so always be ready to embrace change if you can, even if it scares you a bit (like it does for me!). Even with the best laid plans, nothing is set in stone and it’s never too late to change things up.”

Caroline Holloway, Artsmark Communications Officer

Caroline studied Theatre Studies at University of Surrey where she undertook a year-long placement alongside her studies with Artventure, an arts therapy charity supporting adults with learning disability, physical impairment and autism to express themselves through creativity. Her graduate job was as an Office Administrator for Vincent Dance Theatre, a feminist dance theatre company based in Brighton. Since then, she’s worked for a number of different organisations within the arts and charity sectors, developing a marketing and communications specialism. She recently completed an MA in Contemporary Art History at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam before moving to Manchester in early 2020 and starting her current role as Artsmark Communications Officer.

“My best piece of advice would be to enjoy your own journey! Everyone’s career path is different so embrace exploring different roles and expanding your skills, wherever that may take you - shape yourself a career that makes you happy and remember to have fun, that’s the most important thing!”

Jenny Clarke, Artsmark Communications Officer


Jenny studied Arts & Cultural Management with Drama at Chester University. She once wanted to be an actress (Kate Winslet beat her to a part in the 2001 film Iris) but at university discovered she preferred organising events and producing live performances rather than starring in them. Her first job was as Marketing Assistant for a large rural touring scheme in the Midlands before travelling to Australia where she volunteered at the Melbourne and Sydney fringe festivals. She returned to London and worked for a world music venue before finding her specialism in arts education. She’s worked on Arts Award qualifications for young people and has been working on Artsmark Award for several years, seeing it evolve to where it is today.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for taking up work placements and volunteering opportunities at school, university and beyond. It really helped me understand the business side of the arts and I got to try out loads of different roles before choosing the marketing and communications path.”

To find out more about creative careers, check out Discover! Creative Careers 2021 from Creative & Cultural Skills, an online careers programme introducing students to different careers and workplaces across the creative industries, taking place all this week. Follow @CreativeCareers5 and #DiscoverCreativeCareers




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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