Summer Specials! Professional Development for Artists and Creative Practitioners

Over the past twelve years, CIDA has always been regularly approached by independent artists, designers and other practitioners for help in setting up or running their practice or business, or for advice on next steps in the process of earning from their creativity.  In the past, we have always managed to secure public sector funding to enable us to provide this service – this is how we started eleven years ago!  But in this age of austerity and public sector budget cuts, providing this kind of support is more and more difficult to get funded.  So we in CIDA felt it was time we did something about it ourselves and we hope that practitioners across the region will join us. 

This summer, I am going to run a few sessions on the kind of topics that always seem to be in demand. They’ll only cost £5 per head per session, and you get a couple of hours of my time to talk to you about some of the key issues that may be bothering you.  Of course, if only one or two of you turn up, then you’ll effectively get 1-2-1 mentoring – if more turn up, (and I’d really like them to!), then we have the rich possibility of the exchange of knowledge and experiences among us all that is usually the thing that people love. It can be pretty isolating, working in this sector, and this will, I hope, create the opportunity for us all to share some learning with each other and get to know some new people at the same time.

So do come along – I’d love to see you there.  If you are just embarking on a creative career, this should prove invaluable as we help you avoid the pitfalls we’ve all fallen into!  If you are established, do please come:  your experience and knowledge would be so useful for others to learn from, and you just never know what learning you’ll take away for yourself!

We’re calling the four week programme The Work of Art, and the topics will cover:

Monday, 18 July – The Work of Art:  Artist as Entrepreneur

Where do you want to be both artistically and professionally?  This session concentrates on examining your career and thinking through why you’re doing it and what you’d like to achieve. We’ll look at the key attributes of successful creative entrepreneurs and give you a useful toolkit to help you assess your own strengths by comparison.

Monday, 25 July – Earning Your Money

This session’s topic is generating income. Many artists have a problem deciding what to charge for their work or their time. Too often, a number is plucked out of the air because it feels about right, but how do you know if you are actually subsidising your customer? In this workshop we discuss what to consider as you ‘do the maths’.   Then we’ll discuss the value of multiple income streams and building your portfolio career. We’ll cover research and application preparation techniques for grants, fellowships and residency programmes available to individual artists; we’ll also talk about finding and maintaining partners in the community as a strategy for expanding your audience and appealing to potential funders.

Monday, 8 August – Professional Presentation

What should be in your portfolio and who do you want to see it? This session focuses on promotional materials: your business card, artist statement, artistic résumé, and your portfolio.  We will talk about targeting your CVs, choosing work samples or selecting images, and composing the letter that accompanies it. We’d like you to bring along promotional materials for review.

Monday, 15 August – Surviving and Thriving in Yorkshire

This session focuses on why it’s good to be an artist in Yorkshire – what the region has to offer to both new and established artists and what and who you need to know to help your own practice flourish here.

Book now at to attend any or all sessions – limited places available at only £5 per session. Alternatively, you could just ring Dawn on 01484 483143.

Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director, Arts Council England, is encouraging and has very kindly commented “CIDA delivers an invaluable service for artists and practitioners in Yorkshire. The Work of Art programme offers much-needed business skills in a supportive environment. CIDA’s experience and understanding of the creative process promise to make The Work of Art programme a positive course.”

We wanted to do the sessions for free – we have an acute sense that working with artists at different stages of their careers is, in fact, our own continuing professional development so the investment is really worthwhile! – but the realities of doing this have led us to ask for £5 per head – it’s a more or less a token payment and will probably cover the glass of wine or juice – The blessed and beloved Yorkshire Dance have very generously offered to partner us in this venture and are providing the venue free of charge, which is great and I’m very grateful.  For those of you who don’t know where it is, it’s in Leeds and is part of the cluster that includes West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds School of Music and the BBC, beside The Wardrobe.  If you can find your way to any of those (about 10-15 mins walk from the station), anyone there will be able to direct you to Yorkshire Dance.

As Wieke (Eringa, CEO and Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance) says:  “We’re excited to be able to host much needed professional development opportunities with CIDA furthering our longstanding partnership with them.  Artists need tools, confidence and a chance to refresh their approach in order to survive in this rapidly changing climate. It’s great we can work with partners to offer such a flexible, relevant and affordable access to expertise!”

 I look forward to seeing you soon –

Anamaria Wills, CIDA International –