I was quite relaxed for my presentation as I knew I had quite a lot to discuss regarding my future professional development. I had a fairly broad range of topic and knew I could hopefully fill up the 10-12 minutes of presentation. The only problem is, I may have had too much to talk about because I believe I sometimes sound as though I may be rushing my speech, when I've rehearsed. Below is my presentation "notes", which is more like a speech, along with the presentation slides.
Hello everyone, my name is Emma Theedom and I’m here to talk to you about my ‘Professional Development Plan’. Alas, all education comes to a dramatic end, but that doesn’t mean it finishes there. All my life, art has been a constant flow. No matter what I studied in education or the job I had, I would find myself thinking about ‘what might be’ when it comes to my artwork. Fast forward 3 years and I am now graduating in a BA Hons Fine Art degree… hopefully. *Fingers crossed*
But before I graduate let me talk to you about my plans, which include my ‘goals’ and ‘priorities’. Firstly, and foremost, ‘Becoming an Art Educator’. When I started teaching my own drama class out of pure luck back in 2012 with Stageability, I realised how much I enjoyed it. It felt right that I was an educational figure helping students progress their confidence and knowledge in that field. And to be honest, I haven't looked back at the concept.
This is future me, succeeding at becoming a full-time teacher with a ‘go get em’’ attitude and apparently one of those stock image models. Motivational stuff. Anyway, I've always believed I have held a natural leadership amongst groups, whether it’s my friends, family or strangers. I often find I help and guide others to be their best and put their needs before mine. I decided that I would use this skill and passion and that I ‘WOULD’ become an art educator. I say ‘WOULD’ with exaggeration because the vision of me becoming a teacher has been a slow burning fire within me for years. Art is a subject that I love, and l would like to educate like-minded people in that field. As much as I adore teaching children, there is no solid art roles in lower aged schools, other than workshops which I already do at Gosfield School every Monday lunchtime. I would personally prefer to work with pupils old enough to choose art as a graded subject, as that may mean they already hold some form of interest in the arts. Applying for this BA Hons Fine Art degree was a big, serious and professional step closer to succeeding as a teacher. I highly anticipated that I would need to complete a PGCE or similar teach training course following from this degree and this plan has not changed. For someone that is usually completely disorganized, I remain proud that I have stuck to this one main goal for all these years and have not faltered in that decision. I think above all, I must make this one goal happen and hopefully everything else will fall into place naturally. If anything, becoming a teacher is in my blood, as my Grandfather was a well-respected English teacher and I grew up in an environment of great tutoring. Even if my English is a little… expressiveful and creative at times.
Fortunately, I am a person of many hobbies. If I’m not making art or bossing people around. I’m singing, dancing, acting and then some. I am very passionate about the arts and theatre. Hence another one of my goals, ‘Performance’. I have been worrying about this presentation, solely because I knew that some of the content would not be ‘art’ related. However, I’ve realised that is okay. There is no point lying, I cannot ignore the fact that this is my life and it’s what I expect to continue after this degree. What that means exactly is that I will continue to be working and performing for Abigail’s Performing Arts in Halstead, a business that I have been helping to grow since the beginning from doing choreography, directing, advertising, design and marketing, web developing, set design, prop design, costume design, all the designs and dabbling on stage, of course. Most recently starring as Dolly Parton in 9 to 5 at Braintree Arts Theatre. All these elements still add experience and inspirations to my art practise or vice versa. Truth be told, I see massive potential in this company, which is growing by the year reaching almost 80 members of all ages and abilities so far. We’ve very recently been nominated by NODA East of England for ‘Best Youth Production’ in 2017, coming second out of the region. This was a very proud moment for Abigail and myself to be recognised and nominated by this organization. As a 4-year-old company this is a massive deal and highlights the level we may be working at as a performing arts company. I learn more about this industry every week and how I can involve my artwork, as well as growing as a performer. So, for a “blue sky thinking” 20-year plan, I want to see myself employed as a Musical Director, whilst making and selling my artwork on the side and of course, teaching art. Let’s rewind 10 years prior.
Ah yes, 10 years from now I’ll be walking down that red carpet with paparazzi at my feet, assistants by my side and free Twiglets for life. What more could you want? Too ambitious? However, this isn’t far from another aspect from my ‘Performance’ goal. I have more recently been offered work in acting roles, including, a documentary based on ‘Witches in Suffolk’ by ‘Bring Out Your Dead Productions LTD’ and an independent supernatural themed play by ‘VF Theatre Co’ in the last 6 months. Which leads me to believe that there is some potential mileage in me pursuing this, but it will be something I explore once I have left university. I would need to investigate being recruited by an agency as it’s not easy in showbusiness. I do already have steps implemented to help aid the applications for this matter, which includes a booked headshot photoshoot by portrait photographer Ian Robinson and a booked session at Pioneer Recording studios in Colchester, to develop a sound reel. Watch out Hollywood.
Oh good, something art practise related. Who’d of thought? Doing art after an art degree. ‘Being proactive with Art’ is a priority and goal, only just. I’m not kidding when I say that the act of ‘making art’ is going to be quite transparent in the preceding years of finishing this degree. As realistically I will be mainly focused on studying for my soon to be part-time PGCE course, as well as working, doing hobbies and trying to have a social life. However, my intention is to still be creative, it just may not mean I’ll make art for leisure but more for ‘work’. Before I talk about the future, I’ll explain my recent professional steps towards my current art practise in our degree show. I have always been a sucker for framed pieces of artwork on a ‘white walls’. However, this year I knew my attitude needed to change. I spend weeks researching different formats of presenting my photography, having designed 5 versions of one idea and ringing various companies around Essex for help and advice. My mind is not easily persuaded when it comes to presentation, but this year I believe I have put out the necessary steps to develop my professional standards. Such as, having my portraits printed onto Fine Art Giclee paper and framing it professionally, sourcing and locating black nails to pin my new media images onto hand crafted wooden pallets and painting the ‘white walls’ passion red. I never would have seen myself doing this a year ago. Going back further, my first commission was for my Godson’s bedroom, as you can see, this is ‘Baby O’s Mural’. This was the biggest project I’ve done and throughout the process, I was nervous it wouldn’t be to their taste or be good enough. But luckily, the odds were in my favour as I didn’t spill any paint on the new carpet and the customer loved my work. Bonus. Afterwards, I received lots of compliments for my painting. People started to ask for favours and for jobs to be done. I began accepting offers but shortly realised, I did not have the time nor capacity to do them all, which lead to disappointed. I had to understand my limits and decided that this may be a venture best suited for when I leave university. This way I’ll have more available time to study and understand my market, targets, costs and materials to make a small business opportunity like this happen. As usual, I didn’t listen to myself.
I am currently, right now, working on a project alongside another Colchester School of Art student, designing and painting a flower mural on an exterior brick garden wall. I may have underestimated how long this project may take and whether I had the right knowledge to be painting brick walls correctly. But, if all goes to plan, I hope to professionally document this project and begin a portfolio solely based for my painting and decorating alongside the ‘Baby O’s Mural’. Eventually when people begin to see my work, this should turn into more commissions. I have sometimes thought ‘why don’t I just stick to making art for pleasure and if someone likes it they can have it’. Obviously, I hope to achieve this eventually, but I don’t believe that is the path laid out for me just this minute. I’ve always been told, ‘your actions result in your future’ and it appears that I am in the public’s interest at this moment in time. Of course, I won’t completely forget about making art for myself. I’ll continue to enhance my art practise, hopefully through various channels and workshops offered by organisations such as Firstsite and events held throughout Essex.
As much as my photoshop is amazing: SPOILER ALERT, money does not fall from the sky. ‘YOU’ must work for it. ‘Work’ is always a priority and is now a serious goal. The reason I am here is because I am building a career for myself doing something I love. The way I see it, you’ve got to work to live, so it may as well be doing something you are passionate about, otherwise life will be very dull. As I have chosen a career which requires a lot of training and patience to get there, money to live is going to have to come from somewhere until I get to that point. Which means I need to find work. I’ve already briefly touched on the fact that I am slowly developing more interest in commissions. If I manage my time well after leaving this degree, working on one commission at a time. I will create continuous small jobs for myself whilst making money, as well as helping to build my portfolio and keep proactive in art practice. This could be exposed to unreliability however, due to the factors, I may not receive work for an extended period. I’ll need to gain a more secure and grounded contract. Which has now happily become a reality, working for a healthcare provider.
I may look a bit lost in translation sometimes, but I have implemented actions and courses to make sure all of what I have rambled on about happens and stays happening. I am currently in the process of finishing my UCAS application to retain the almighty ‘thumbs up’ and be accepted to complete a PGCE in teacher training. This will obviously be the strongest factor in helping me achieve my professional development into becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, I skipped a few maths lessons at school, so I may need to take a numeracy test to prove I’m capable to teach. Alongside all this, I volunteer weekly at Gosfield Private school as an assistant for the GCSE classes and I also encourage a lunchtime art club for the prep school, engaging them in educational yet experimental art activities. Through this volunteer work, I learn what it takes to be a teacher, the difficulties, the rewards and the paperwork… my gosh, the paperwork.
Continuing my journey through working in theatre, myself and the Abigail’s team have designed professional Summer workshops for children to enjoy as well as learning something new over the holidays. Events like these helps recruit new members, which also helps the company flourish. I may also be making an appearance in their next pantomime Sleeping Beauty, happening in November… watch this space. One of my most recent commissions is to paint the Earls Colne Tennis Club logo on the front of their newly refurbed building. Luckily, I landed myself a causal job working for Anglian Community Enterprise providing Health Checks to people aged 45 and over, evaluating and preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Through this job I learn about topics, issues and occurrences which I probably would never have come across if it weren’t for this job role. Through this, my outlook on life has changed slightly, which is not a bad thing in the slightest. Sometimes you need a fresh look on life to realise your opinions and inspirations, which helps you move forward.
I’m now really fancy and own my own website, full of artwork and information about myself and blog posts which are very boring, but you can read them. I hope you’ve enjoyed my presentation. Any quick questions?
I wanted to add humour into my presentation, along with all the criteria needed to be graded. I believe I had achieved this but I knew there was things I was missing, such as talking in depth about Art4U. And possibly further detail in steps I would take in bettering myself as an artist and not so much the career aspect. I realised after the presentation that I spoke too fast in some aspects as people did mention, but they seemed to enjoy the presentation none-the-less. Next time I ever have to do a presentation, I will make sure to either slow down or not write so much!