“Every day was different”


Kimberly and Rhovie’s traineeship journey began in January and started off with the most welcoming introduction to the team. It was also the beginning of Magic Me’s new project Creative Mix; an intergenerational project that uses art and other creative activities to explore community and storytelling. This blog will give an insight into the trainee’s journey throughout the programme and what they learned through questions and answers.

Why did you apply for this traineeship?

Kimberly: From young, I’ve always gone to free art workshops run by different art organisations. These workshops have been great for me, as I’ve always felt very excluded from the arts. The workshops that I went to were slowly allowing me to see another side to the arts that I’d never seen before. I became interested in learning how different organisations go about facilitating creative workshops that allow everyone to get involved regardless of experience/knowledge and I thought this traineeship would allow me to start exploring that.

Rhovie: I applied for this traineeship because I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about arts within the community whilst upskilling myself. At Magic Me I was given countless opportunities to improve my career skills such as leading and contributing in meetings, social media and working on projects. In addition to this I wanted to experience working with a variety of people that I would have never worked with before in community arts.

How were you feeling at the beginning of the traineeship?

Rhovie: At the beginning of the traineeship I felt very nervous because I had never worked with mixed ages before, especially people over 50 and I did not have a clear career path. I wasn’t confident in what role I wanted to pursue. Before joining the traineeship I was working in retail for years and I wanted to find out how I can get back in touch with my creativity and share it with others.

Kimberly: I was also feeling quite nervous because I wasn’t sure how I would handle everything. Before joining Magic Me, I was doing work experience at St. Margaret’s House, an arts community charity in Bethnal Green. So, this traineeship felt like a nice transition for me as I was looking for a new opportunity in the community arts sector.

Creative Mix is an arts project that aims to bring together young people between the ages of 11-18 and older people aged 50+ living in Tower Hamlets. For the first year we have been working with Mulberry UTC students. The project involves weekly art workshops led by Magic Me associate artists Polly and Amy, where both younger and older people participate in creating art. The project will end with a celebratory event in June to showcase all the creative artworks made by the younger and older people over the last couple of months.

What have you learned from working on Creative Mix?

Rhovie: On Creative Mix I have learned how to work with older adults and students together, it was interesting to see them do the activities together, Such as making the paper words. I had a chance to be involved in the planning and promotion of the project. I learned a lot about sourcing materials for sessions, budgets, outreaching by visiting different sheltered housing schemes to get people to join our project.

Kimberly: The people that are involved really shape a project, and the direction it goes in. When Creative Mix started back in January the main theme was connecting stories about Tower Hamlets but it turns out that many of the young people didn’t have much of a connection to Tower Hamlets. As a result of this, we had to take some time to rethink Creative Mix and if the theme we started out with was still relevant to this group and this did change the project in some ways. Also, before joining Magic Me, I’d never heard of Intergenerational arts before. You really can’t just bring younger and older people together and assume that from the get-go go they’ll just be open to everything. It really does take time to find all those small connections and for everyone to get used to each other. But those connections are still there!

What are some of your highlights from the project?

Rhovie: One of my highlights from the project was the first intergenerational session we had. It was my first time seeing both groups work together and I also got to take part as a participant. Artists Polly Beestone presented us with an A3 map of Tower Hamlets and asked us to place one end of colourful tape on a place that was special to us. By the end of it, we could see all the similar places that we shared. I also really enjoyed making the promotional flyers for the project. It made me discover that it was something I would like to continue doing.

Kimberly: During the traineeship, one of my goals was to facilitate a creative activity at one of the Creative Mix sessions. I was very nervous about setting this goal at first and didn’t think I would be able to achieve it. However, I eventually facilitated a creative activity during my traineeship and I think it went really well. Also, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone a bit more, especially the younger people.

As part of the traineeship we had freelancer Lewis Greener do monthly sessions with us that covered personal development, career and life goals, reflective techniques as well as the overall plan for the traineeship.

What are your highlights from the sessions with Lewis and how have they helped you?

Rhovie: One of my highlights from the sessions was playing the team games. It really helped break the ice between me and my colleagues. Learning reflective techniques and how to break down goals really helped me keep organised and become clear with my career plans. It also helped me prepare for the integration and weekly meetings I had with my manager as I could use the skills I learned in those meetings to set targets and talk about how my week of work has been.

Kimberly: A highlight of the sessions was all the creative activities that we would do. During one of our sessions, we did a reflection task with cyanotype paper which was very fun. I found the space to talk about my hobbies, interests, and the challenges I face in pursuing my creative interests during the sessions with Lewis very helpful. We would actually break down those obstacles and I realised that despite the challenges, I can still pursue goals related to my creativity. During one of the sessions, Lewis said it’s still important to work on things that don’t feel urgent and that really resonated with me. Although my creative interests may not feel as pressing as other things in my life, I should still try to fit them into my daily life as best as I can.

How did you find your experience overall?

Rhovie: Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Magic Me. The team is very nice and supportive. I am really into social media, so during my time I have been working on creating content, scheduling and analysing their social accounts as well as making promotional flyers for Creative Mix. The traineeship allowed me to do a lot of different roles, therefore, I have been learning a lot about what goes into planning and organising workshops. I am definitely more confident and career driven than I was at the beginning of the traineeship. What I also enjoyed the most was that every day was different. We had a lot of work but also had cultural days where we would go to exhibitions, workshops and visit other organisations that specialise in intergenerational work and arts for older adults.

Kimberly: Overall, it’s been a good experience for me. A lot of learning for me personally but also just about doing intergenerational art projects which previous to this, I’d never heard about before. I’ve also really appreciated having the opportunity to connect with other organisations outside of Magic Me such as Spare Tyre and The Albany and learn about Magic Me as a whole. I’ve never worked in an environment like this, let alone done this type of work before so it’s a new experience for me.

Do you have any plans for after the traineeship?

Rhovie: After the traineeship, I hope to continue my mentorship with the mentor I made and further develop my skills in social media. I would like to carry on working in the creative community and use what I have learned.

Kimberly: At the moment I am still exploring all my options, my journey to Magic Me has been quite random as I never imagined myself having a role working in the community arts sector as I didn’t even know that it existed.