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Thursday, 4 August 2022

Liliya Signing Off

As Future Makers S7 (2021-22) draws to a close with the end of term, so does Liliya’s time with us. Back in October we were very happy to welcome her into the newly created role of Trainee Community Producer, which was made possible by the government’s Kickstart Scheme. When this finished after six months we offered her a freelance part-time contract, so she could see through the projects she was involved in.
It’s been great having her as part of our Third Angel family and we will be sad to see her go. We’ll miss her fabulously bright trousers, explosive and catching laugh, enthusiasm, and especially her weekly video diaries (all of which have now been compiled into two longer videos - see bottom of this post!)
We’ll still be at the end of the phone, emailing news of jobs and following her future travels.
So over to Liliya as she reflects on her time with us and lets you know what’s coming next.

Rachael Walton, Co-Artistic Director & CEO


A professional headshot of Liliya


Oh me, oh my!

As much as everyone in the office has been talking about and planning a leaving social in July over the last few months, it still feels surreal to be writing my leaving post for Third Angel. Looking back at my introductory blog post it feels like I’m reading into somebody else’s mind entirely. Now, nine months on, I feel more like myself than I have in quite some time: more open, more grounded and more confident in myself. I can undoubtedly say that being a part of the Third Angel team has played a turning point in how I witness my own capacity and capability, and the value I have as a human being, let alone in a professional or creative setting.

Liliya performing on stage, looking off to the distance


There have been many moments during my time as a Trainee Community Producer which have been full of illumination, joy, and heart-warmth both inside and out of the office:

- I can’t miss out the final performance of the Future Makers participants (just how much energy they all brought to that show!) and all the feedback from friends and family expressing their gratitude for the opportunity we worked to facilitate for the young people was especially tear-jerking. 

- I’ve found our collaborations with Side by Side especially moving, and profound, and mind-opening in how I make space for, lead and create with others. I’m hoping to continue my relationship with Johanna and the group after my time with Third Angel ends!

A feedback form written in blue ink: I really love our Third Angel drama club. So encouraging. We share feelings, emotions, performance together. We have fun together. We are shining our life. Keep happy. Smiling face. Kisses. Autumn 2021. 


- I will be endlessly grateful for all the encouragement and mindful reminders/perspective shifts I was given (I’m sure Rachael alone can attest to a ridiculous number of times she’s had to stop me from being too self-critical of my Video Diaries). 

An accidental selfie of Liliya in the office, frowning 

As I wrote in my intro blog post, I came into this position holding very high standards over myself, which I’ve had to address and begin to soften during my time with Third Angel. Then there was the disruption that Covid brought in the winter, where I had a steep learning curve of how to work from home which proved to be more challenging and stress-inducing than I had thought. Most recently, after extending my position by three months I’ve had to quickly adjust and learn what it means to be a freelancer: from managing my workload and working to flexible hours, to how to invoice! So it’s definitely not been a smooth ride, but I’m happy I learned so much about myself through the work I’ve done along the way. 

Flash cards of words in different languages laid out on the floor


Even with these difficulties and through some personally emotional points in my placement, the team was overwhelmingly understanding, supportive and flexible. All the shared snacks (i.e. delicious and suspiciously addictive vegan cupcakes), teas-and perhaps a few too many coffees-brewed, and wisdoms shared in car rides or spoken over laptops throughout the past few months have filled me with so much warmth. The relationships I have made with each member of staff over my time have been very precious to me, and I know I’ll look back on my time with Third Angel with love and gratitude.

Of course, I’ll miss everyone in the team and [insert any other leaving cliché saying here]. Luckily, I don’t get to say farewell permanently yet, as I’ve become an observer of the board for a year to help me get to grips with how a board of a company functions before I move to Australia next year! I’m excited to hear how the company grows, and how their ideas become incredible projects and to still see familiar faces from a more distanced role over the next glimpse of time.

It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you very soon, 

Liliya

Liliya sat on a very small chair, surrounded by confetti

Lililya’s Diary Compilation Part 1



Lililya’s Diary Compilation Part 2


Thursday, 28 July 2022

A Bittersweet Farewell

We’re finally saying goodbye to our ‘intern who stayed’, Sam Turner, who’s been with the company almost as long as I have! We’ve been so grateful for Sam’s Little Miss Sunshine presence in our office and on our screens through what has been a VERY unusual 3 years, and we’re really excited for her new adventures as she moves on from the team. So over to Sam, for her final post. 

Laura Holmes, Exec Director

Throwback to March 2019 - I had just started Third Angel’s Administration and Production Assistant Internship. I was pretty much fresh out of The University of Sheffield, stage managing productions and spending most of my time at Theatre Deli across the road from Third Angel HQ.


A mug with Little Miss Sunshine, by Roger Hargreaves

My favourite mug in the Third Angel office


The internship appealed to me to develop my skills across many areas integral to working in the arts:

Co-ordinating creative projects
Budgeting
Fundraising
Marketing
Collaborating with artists
Working with venues
Networking
Touring
Problem-solving
Working closely with a small team


Posters for the play The Department of Distractions, four office workers with serious expressions

The Department of Distractions tour - ARC (in Stockton) in early 2020


My highlight was managing the Future Makers ’20 programme (free creative workshops for young people in Sheffield), when I had the opportunity to apply most of the above and more. The team gave me ownership of the project, trusted and advised me when needed and it was a great success until the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 (I couldn’t write a blog post about the last few years without mentioning it…)


A young man in silhouette

Future Makers ‘20 programme - Cinematography Workshop (Theatre Deli in Sheffield - photo taken by Smart Banda)


The arts sector, like many others, has faced immense challenges over the last few years. The team stayed strong through:

Cancelled projects
National lockdowns
Working from home
Hours on Zoom
Outdoor meetings
Periods of uncertainty
Sudden change
Lots of rethinking
Furlough
And repeat…

The pandemic presented a new opportunity to work on a (thoroughly risk-assessed) film shoot to create The Distraction Agents (an interactive puzzle game for audiences to enjoy from home) and I developed professionally and personally during each lockdown through coaching, reading, walking, listening and thinking (and baking).

My role with the team has evolved to now (July 2022) as my time with Third Angel draws to an end as their Production & Marketing Administrator.


A camera setup in an empty warehouse

A very chilly The Distraction Agents Film Shoot (Kollider in Sheffield) - December 2020


The company is back in full swing! Alex has just taken The Desire Paths down to Plymouth, our Future Makers S7 programme is running in Nether Edge (my neighbourhood) and the company is growing and thriving as I hand over my responsibilities and top tips to Jon - the new Projects & Communications Co-ordinator.

I’ve developed confidence
Learnt about myself
Exceeded my own expectations of myself
Made lifelong friends
Excelled in surprising areas
Discovered the things I enjoy (and the things I don’t)
Had many laughs and some tears along the way
Created space to reflect and grow

Above all else, over the last few years I’ve learnt to be resilient and consider my values. Nothing feels more important to me than looking after myself, feeling good, feeling strong and doing the things I enjoy. With this in mind, last year I made the exciting (and slightly scary) decision to pursue another of my passions in becoming a Personal Trainer - to help others to do the same.

Fear not, Sheffield’s vibrant arts scene hasn’t seen the last of me yet… you’ll see me covered in glitter with Andro & Eve at the iconic The Leadmill at the end of July and working behind the scenes to set up Theatre Deli’s new Sheffield space before I travel across the world to Bali (Indonesia) with my partner for a few months in September.


A table covered in teal green cups and saucers

Partus cups - work experience with Third Angel in 2016 (Sheffield Theatres Studio)


My time in Sheffield is coming to a bittersweet end to move (back) down South later in the year to be closer to family and friends. I’m feeling ready to move on and very excited to see what my future holds in the arts world and beyond.

I’ve developed skills for life in my roles with Third Angel to apply to whatever I decide to do next. I’ll always treasure my time with the team.


A small potted plant on a windowsill, with the inscription "Thank you for helping me grow"

Thank you for helping me grow

Xx

For those who don’t yet know me, my name is Rob (you can read more about who I am and what I do here). In essence, I am a ‘resident scholar’ with Third Angel, but more like a house-mouse than a permanent lodger… I dip in and out of Third Angel’s archive, shadow the team at events and meetings, as well as having had the privilege of ‘sitting in’ on rehearsals and mentoring sessions.

My research explores if, when and how longevity in contemporary arts practice is achievable, and the challenges, risks and values attached to this. In mid-late 2021, in a world of vaccine passes and mask-wearing, I had the amazing opportunity to represent both Third Angel and my University overseas. My scholarship is funded by the White Rose College (WRoCAH) who made this possible: I spent 3 months working with the National Cultural Fund of Bulgaria in their base in the capital city, Sofia. While there I wrote a series of diary/blog posts that, I think, are useful to share here as a document of a moment-in-time, of an (international) arts ecology recovering from a unique and shared crisis. I would like to share them with you here, followed by a short reflection: 

Despatch #1 (sometime in early September ’21)

In an office above the Socialist Art Museum, Bulgaria’s ‘National Cultural Fund’ is never too far from reminders of its history. A country that is still working to decentralise its cultural sector as a post-communist Republic, Bulgaria is redefining itself both as part of a Western European capitalist tradition, and simultaneously working to protect and promote its cultural heritage as uniquely ‘Balkan’ (still very much reconnecting with its pre-Ottoman heritage, for those that know your history). Now in receipt of vast amounts of European Covid-relief funding, Bulgaria’s Cultural Fund is navigating its own domestic function as an ‘arm’s length’ support structure (operating as a democratic buffer between the state and its cultural sector), and is looking dubiously ahead to a time when these levels of funding will, inevitably, become unsustainable…

My three-month project involves researching and writing a comparative study of the Bulgarian arts funding situation, with ‘best-practice’ recommendations from British, Central and Northern European contexts. I have been living and working here in the capital, Sofia, for a few weeks now and highly recommend it as a place to visit!

Photo Rob Fellman

Despatch #2 (sometime in early October ‘21)

A few weeks on from the last despatch and I find myself further embroiled in the complexities of an Arts Sector that varies greatly from what I know of my own… It turns out (perhaps unsurprisingly) that making a comparative study between national approaches to cultural policy (across Europe) is VERY complex: it is near-impossible to make any useful comparison without first considering the history of each nation and/or region… I have been thrust into a world of research that I couldn’t have even imagined before starting this project, and I am really enjoying the process of seeing where it will take me next!

I have also just begun a series of interviews with local artists and grassroots theatre-makers, and every conversation opens up a whole array of new questions (and not to mention meeting some fantastic people and making new personal connections). 

Despatch #3 (sometime in early November ‘21)

My time with Bulgaria’s ‘National Cultural Fund’ is soon coming to an end. As I am pulling together the final details for my report I wonder what impact it might make? Just yesterday I was looking through an Arts Council England document from 2018 in which arts organisations voted ‘natural disaster’ as only 12% ‘risky’ on a ‘level-of-risk-to-the-sector’ scale, compared to ‘financial risk’ at 90%… No-one could have seen what was coming, even back then when words like ‘resilience’ and ‘sustainability’ were already the hot topics across the UK arts sector. As financial stability becomes intrinsically linked to our ability to survive natural crises like Covid-19 perhaps now is the perfect time for cultural sectors around Europe to rethink their current practices, to seize the moment of change and harness it for the better…

From speaking with a cross-section of art-makers in Bulgaria, there is a sense of positivity, despite the horrors that the pandemic has brought with it. As I finalise my report to the NCF, I struggle to say everything that (I believe) needs to be said. I am wrestling with the scope that I have set for myself and, despite my line-manager’s encouragements, I’m struggling to narrow my focus. What I realise, and commit to on paper here as advice, is that one report can’t change everything. This is easy to say, but harder to acknowledge in practice! What my report can do, however, is to capture the energies and emotions of the sector, to present data in a way that tells a story…

Ivan Vazov National Theatre, Sofia

In Summary

I think what this process (and reading the posts back now in June of ‘22) brings to light is the shared experience that a global crisis can instil. Even as I write this and our friends in Ukraine are at the forefront of another crisis that has united much of Europe and its allies (100 days in at the time of writing). Certainly, it changes the weight of words like ‘sustainability’, or ‘resilience’. Thinking now about the positive energies I witnessed (and felt) among the grassroots contemporary theatre-makers in Bulgaria last year has made me a little sad back on ‘home turf’ – only a week or so ago minister Rees-Mogg proposed cuts that would all-but-remove any ‘arm’s length’ structure of arts support in the UK. Where Bulgaria’s NCF are looking to learn from the systems around Europe, the UK is furthering a trajectory that will see instead a dismantling of ideals we have, perhaps, taken for granted. As Covid and Ukraine have shown, it is through networks of support that longevity may be possible; important to consider now as a whole arts ecology, how an already-precarious sector can continue to thrive despite collective and increasingly globalised crises.

As we move towards the warmer months, I plan to spend some time once again in Third Angel’s archive, as I attempt to draw more links between their past and present, their ability to ‘weather the storm’ of different crises, and for inspiration that might help us understand this term, longevity, a little better. I plan to keep you updated on this blog with some of my findings! If you are interested in keeping a closer eye on what I am up to, you can find me on Twitter @Rob_Fellman so please do feel free to connect with me on there.

As Third Angel’s work changes over time, so does the team needed to deliver it. At the beginning of this year, in the midst of imagining all the things we want to do next, we realised we were going to need to create a different role within the team to make it all happen. And so the Projects & Communications Co-ordinator was born! It’s going to be a busy time. 

We’re delighted to introduce you to the person who’s going to bring it to life. Jonathan Fry has joined us at Third Angel HQ, where he’ll be working to support planning and delivery of all of our creative and participation work. So without further ado, over to Jon to say hello.

A young man in his 20's sits on stage holding a toy keyboard.

Photo by Ivan Paniotov

Like a lot of people in the arts I’ve walked a pretty weird, meandering path to get to this job! I’ve designed and published games, contributed to a UN report, given music lessons, and washed a lot of dishes…

In 2018 I finished work on a Masters in “Applied Human Rights” at the University of York, with a focus on the ins-and-outs of charity work and a dissertation looking at zero-hour contracts. I knew I wanted to do work that was thought-provoking, participatory and empowering. The hard bit was finding where to start!

A man in his 20's sits in a cafe, smiling to camera

After graduating I moved to Berlin with, in hindsight, stunningly little in the way of a plan. After a few big reality-checks on the usefulness of a Masters Degree for finding work, I eventually settled into a rhythm as a freelance music teacher. Alongside paid lessons I volunteered with some local creative initiatives, which led to a paid position as Project Manager at the Berlin Open Music School, a community project that runs free, volunteer-powered music lessons. It was a real pleasure to work with a load of lovely people to dismantle barriers to music education, and there’s a kind of hypnotic brilliance to the sounds of a dozen beginner guitarists all hitting the same chord over and over.

I decided to move back to the UK earlier this year to move in with my long-distance partner after many months of travel-restricted separation. This “Projects & Comms” role at Third Angel struck me as an opportunity to do the kind of work I had enjoyed before but on a slightly bigger scale. In all honesty I was pleasantly surprised to get an offer, I had been dealing with the stress of interviews by prioritising enjoying myself as much as seeming professional. It’s great to be working somewhere that values personality and playfulness as well as a CV!

A man in his 20's wearing colourful costume, sitting a camping chair

Photo by John Franglen

“We’re super proud to introduce some of the new trustees who have joined our team over recent months, bringing a wealth of skills and experience, including HR, social entrepreneurship, artistic leadership, and diversity and inclusion work. 
Naomi, Edenamiuki and Sophie will also be joined by Tommi Bryson from our next meeting in September (more details then!). We’re also really pleased to have Liliya Filippova as our Trainee Trustee, following on from her Kickstart placement earlier this year - she’ll be shadowing the Board and learning all about the work of charity trustees over the next year.” 

- Laura Holmes (Executive Director)

Edenamiuki Aiguobasinmwin 


A smartly-dressed man stands outside a building, smiling to camera


Edenamiuki Aiguobasinmwin (also known as Namiuki) is an artist and Executive Director of multiple leading initiatives focused on design and implementation of sustainable approaches to supporting artists, entrepreneurs and leaders through The Break Dance Manchester, Young Creative Leaders and Elevate Young Minds.

Edenamiuki is Nigerian born, he grew up within the UK’s Hip Hop Dance scene as a performer and presenter and is a creative practitioner with a Master’s degree in Choreography from Leeds Beckett University. Edenamiuki is also a Lead Dance researcher at Manchester Hip Hop Archive, making him the first Hip Hop dance archiver in Greater Manchester and beyond.

“Over the last 5 years I have had the opportunity to be commissioned to develop and perform works such as ‘Reformation’ and ‘Exploring the Man’, which were performed at a variety of local and international platforms such as The Civic Theatre in Dublin, York Theatre Royal, Ludus Dance, Stadler’s Well in London and Temple in Lisbon in Portugal.”

Edenamiuki has received recognition from the United Nations (winning multiple awards at Plural+ 2018), the Commonwealth, Future Team Russia, the Sri Lankan, Cameroon Government and more. Edenamiuki is also part of the first cohort of the Arts Council England’s Area Council Development Programme.


Sophie Hunter

A woman stands smiling against a leafy backdrop

“I’m really delighted to have a place on Third Angel’s board, to be able to support them in any way I can to keep being the brilliant, eclectic, thoughtful company that they are. I am particularly inspired by their commitment to creativity in everything and to the next generation of artists and creatives.”

Sophie is a freelance creative producer, facilitator and evaluator, working to encourage change through reflective practice and the development of learning communities, often but not exclusively working within the field of arts education.  She brings together her experience in holding space for people’s learning with her ability to co-create large-scale strategic projects. She grows people, places and projects.

Sophie came to the city in 1997 to work for the Crucible Youth Theatre. She stayed at Sheffield Theatres until 2004, worked for Creative Partnerships for 8 years, and then co-founded Growtheatre in 2012. Most recently she has spent 6 years at the helm of Create Sheffield, the Cultural Education Partnership for the city, developing learning networks, and supporting artists and educators to improve arts access for children and young people.


Naomi Cosgrove

A woman smiling against a white background 

“From a young age I have loved theatre and I grew up as a member of the Crucible Youth Theatre which I remember as some of the happiest days of my childhood. I believe taking theatre out to the audience is so important in connecting with those who might not realise how much being creative can change their lives and Third Angel does that beautifully.

As a HR professional I feel grateful to help support Third Angel in its mission to diversify as an organisation and to be a guiding voice in recruitment and organisational development.”

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