Arts, Music and Culture Formal

Lucy Irving reflects on the Arts, Culture and Music Formal, which was held on the 2nd of February.  The formal provided an invaluable experience for students and alumni to form connections and gain insider information about these industries.

The evening began with a panel discussion in the Learning and Resource Centre, hosted by Jonjo Palmer and me, where guests had the chance to learn about the wide-ranging careers of the panellists. Attendees were lucky enough to hear from three John’s alumni: John Wilkinson (fellow of the Independent Broadcasting Authority), Charlotte Thompson (PhD student in the English Department) and Michael Crilly (Venue Manager at the Mark Hillery Arts Centre and Music Studios), as well as Alix Collingwood-Swinburne(curator for Contemporary Art at Durham University).

The discussion offered insights into each of their careers, including the challenges they have faced and their plans for the future. The panellists shared some advice, suggesting that taking an unconventional route or trying something new was nothing to be afraid of.  They also urged students to ensure that employers understand all experiences you gain at university from various roles, whether that is being on the Exec of the rowing team or being a member of the SJCR.

Everyone then moved into Crossroads for a drinks reception, which offered guests and students the opportunity to chat before the dinner began. During dinner, alumni and students were sat according to their interests to provide the best opportunities to connect with one another. I personally enjoyed talking to past music students and discussing the differences in the course and department over the years, whilst also discovering current students’ prospective career paths. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed musical entertainment provided by John’s Music Society Big Band, which really emphasised the theme of the evening!

I personally found it useful to hear how varied all the guests’ routes towards their current careers were. As a music student, my degree will lead me down a less conventional path, with no clear end goal – not in the same way as a law student is destined to become a lawyer, for example.  Therefore, hearing the experiences of the panel was really reassuring. There were some inspiring words given to students at the end of the formal, giving everyone something to reflect upon. Some of those words are featured below.

Charlotte ThompsonAim big and back yourself!

John WilkinsonHave an exit strategy!

Michael CrillyDo what you love and keep getting involved with extra curriculars!

Ako Ismail – Express yourself.

Shahor Omar – Keep working hard and never give up.

Claire Webster SaaremetsAlways question.

Fiona Courtman Take opportunities which come your way that may not be what you want to get into, as you never know where things might lead to!

Richard RobertsWhether you’re artistic or not, take time to look at art. Every day I look at a piece of art as it’s a great way to unwind.

Alix Colllingwood-Swinburne Don’t be afraid to take risks and think outside the box.

Katie RossShy bairns get nowt (or shy children get nothing, for those who aren’t Northern)! If you don’t put yourself out there, then you won’t get anywhere!

Louise ReidIf you’re not sure whether to take that risk… just TAKE it!

Jasmine Oakes – Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s